Tinospora cordifolia, which is also known as guduchi or giloy, is an herbaceous vine that is a member of the Menispermaceae family. The plant is a deciduous, glabrous, large, and extensively spreading shrub that has elongated twining branches.
The shrub grows aerial roots, usually on mango and neem trees, which could reach to lengths of thirty meters. The shrub has heart shaped leaves and its yellow flowers are long-stalked and axillary racemes. The shrub bears flowers in June, while it bears fruit in November.
Vernacular names used include: gllow (Punjabi), tippa-teega (Telugu), shindilakodi (Tamil), amruthu or chittamruthu (Malayalam), amrutha balli (Kannada), bandaul pich (Khmer), rasakinda (Sinhala), boraphet (Thai), galoci (Pali), giloy or guruc or gurcha (Hindi), galac or garo (Gujarati), guluchi (Odia), and gurjo (Nepali), among other names.
History and Cultivation of Giloy
Giloy is indigenous to the tropical areas of Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and India. It grows in dry and deciduous forests. According to myth, when the ancient gods created the oceans, a nectar was created that would give immortality to whomever drank it. Such nectar was called ‘amrit,’ which means imperishable.
In the 1918 U.S. Dispensatory, the plant is documented as having been used in India for medicinal purposes since ancient times. The herb’s watery extract is called Indian quinine. Research has indicated that the plant can treat dengue fever and malaria. The root is also a potent antioxidant and is used in the prevention and treatment of cancer. It also regulates cholesterol levels and has anti-aging properties.
The guduchi parts normally used in medicine are the roots and stems. To a lesser extent, the leaves and fruit are used. The parts are processed until they become a powdery, starchy, and bitter extract. The plant consists of chemicals that include fatty acids, alkaloids, volatile oils, and glucosides, all of which make the plant beneficial to one’s health.
Benefits of Giloy
Giloy’s health promoting powers were respected by ancient Ayurveda authors so much so that they called it ‘Divine Nectar’ or ‘Amrita.’ Aside from giloy’s ancient Ayurvedic benefits, some of the contemporary health benefits and the medical conditions it can help with include:
- Boosts immunity
- Treats chronic fever
- Boosts digestion
- Eye disorders
- Reduces the signs of aging
- Gouty arthritis, among other medical conditions
Boosts immunity One of giloy’s most important health benefits is that it boosts immunity and acts as a rejuvenating agent. The herb has antioxidant properties that fight diseases. Aside from improving health, giloy also eliminates toxins from the liver and kidneys in order to get rid of free radicals. The herb even destroys disease-causing bacteria and also combats urinary tract infections and liver diseases.
Boosts digestion The herb is useful for treating ailments linked to the digestive system. To do it, take about half a gram of the powdered herb with amla regularly. With buttermilk, the herb’s juice can also be taken to maximize results. Patients with piles can benefit from such a remedy. Giloy, in short, prevents indigestion and relaxes the mind.
Diabetes Guduchi acts as a hypoglycemic (sugar reducing) agent, which is useful for diabetics. Giloy can also help lower lipids and blood pressure levels, making it easy to treat type 2 diabetes. To reduce high blood sugar, diabetics can take giloy juice.
Asthma The respiratory condition can be dangerous, as it causes shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing, among other symptoms. Giloy can help to manage asthma symptoms.
Eye disorders To help treat eye disorders, giloy boosts visual clarity and helps one to see more clearly without eyeglasses. In certain parts of India, giloy is applied to the eyes. The herb can be boiled in water and the solution applied over the eyelid.
In Ayurveda, giloy’s taste is astringent and bitter, and it balances all the tridoshas: kapha, vata, and pitta. It also has a heating energy and a heavy and unctuous quality. Taken with ghee, giloy reduces vata. With honey, it reduces kapha. With sugar, it reduces pitta.
In Ayurveda, giloy is used to treat malaria, fever, convalescence from febrile diseases, hepatitis, hyperacidity, diabetes, jaundice, tuberculosis, heart disease, gout, arthritis, hemorrhoids, and skin diseases, among other medical conditions.
Nearly all modern treatises and ancient Ayurvedic texts have revered guduchi for its health benefits. In contemporary medical research, there is a wealth of scientific study and evaluation on the herb’s diverse pharmacological effects.
Giloy seems to be undergoing a modern renaissance, as Western medicine starts to acknowledge the herb’s vast potential in both clinical and preventive medicine. Giloy is truly the medicinal nectar that is badly needed for today’s world.