Guduchi is an herb that’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
It’s also often referred to as guduchi herb, giloy, amrit, or its scientific name, Tinospora cordifolia. Although guduchi has been used to treat a variety of health conditions over the years, recent scientific evidence has mainly found that it’s beneficial for supporting the immune system.
In this article, you’ll learn what guduchi is, the main guduchi health benefits and side effects, and how to take guduchi to get the best possible results.
Guduchi plant (also known as giloy, Tinospora cordifolia, and amrit) is a large, climbing shrub that grows in India.
It’s stems, roots, and leaves have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. In fact, it’s considered by many to be a kind of panacea, which is why it was named after a mythological herb that could elicit eternal youth and immortality.
According to an Indian legend, when the gods swirled the ocean, their actions brewed a nectar that would grant immortality to those who drank it. The nectar was named amrit, which is a Sanskrit word for “imperishable.”
Traditionally, guduchi is used to treat a variety of ailments, including fever, dysentery, diarrhea, jaundice, skin infections, diabetes, and even cancer. In fact, it’s still used by a number of tribes and villages in Dhurala, Arjunpura, and Patiala, for cough, leukorrhea, and ear pain.
Guduchi contains many phytochemicals, including molecules known as alkaloids, polysaccharides, glycosides, and terpenoids that affect the immune system. Specifically, guduchi seems to boost the immune system by improving the ability of white blood cells to eliminate bacteria and other foreign invaders.
Research shows that guduchi can . . .
- Improve symptoms of allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies), including nasal congestion and sneezing
- Increase the killing capacity of macrophages, which are cells that help destroy harmful bacteria and viruses
- Reduce symptoms of HIV
- Improve wound healing (partially due to increased phagocytosis)
- Reduce symptoms of scabies, a skin infestation caused by mites
- Enhance learning and memory
- Reduce stress
- Reduce inflammation
- Protect the liver
This all sounds great, but much of the research is preliminary and just starting to validate some of guduchi’s historical uses.
However, guduchi’s immune boosting properties and ability to ward off allergies are well-supported.
Guduchi increases the activity of macrophages (a specific kind of white blood cell) while improving their function (killing germs), inhibits the growth of bacteria, and reduces the release of histamine by stabilizing mast cells (pro-inflammatory cells in the immune system). When mast cells “activate,” which often happens in response to allergens, they initiate a cascade of immune responses, including the release of histamine, cytokines, and lipid mediators that promote inflammation and mucus secretion.
In other words, guduchi helps reduce the negative effects of allergens by helping the immune system cool its jets.
All that is why research shows that supplementation with guduchi (usually referred to as Tinospora cordifolia in scientific papers) reduces sneezing and nasal congestion and discharge.
Anecdotally, some people report headaches, constipation, or nasal pain from taking guduchi. However, no scientific research has found these side effects or any other adverse side effects associated with guduchi, and it’s generally regarded as safe.
It’s worth consulting with your doctor before supplementing with guduchi if you take any immunosuppressive drugs. The reason for this is that guduchi supports the immune system, which could partially counteract the effects of the immunosuppressants.
There are several different ways to take guduchi.
In traditional medicine, it’s often combined with ghee (clarified butter) or other healing herbs.
Nowadays, though, most people take guduchi extract. This is more convenient than most other methods and it ensures you get a consistent dose every time. There are both alcohol and water guduchi extracts, which are generally standardized to include a certain percentage of active ingredients.
For example, one water extract called Tinofend can be standardized to 5% bitter principles (terpenoids and glycosides) or 20% polysaccharides. The clinically effective dose of Tinofend (the amount used in studies that have proven to be effective) is 300 mg, taken three times per day, for a daily dosage of 900 mg.
While guduchi doesn’t have to be taken with food, many traditional preparations combine it with ghee (clarified butter). It’s possible the bioactive components of guduchi are fat-soluble, so taking it with food may improve its absorption, but this isn’t proven.
Each serving contains 900 mg of guduchi (you’ll see it listed as Tinospora cordifolia on the label), but it also includes Panax quinquefolius, Pelargonium sidoides, aged garlic extract, and other ingredients proven to improve the immune system’s ability to find and eliminate pathogens, impair the function of harmful bacteria and viruses, and enhance mood and well-being when sick.
Guduchi is used to enhance immune system function. Specifically, it’s good at reducing the symptoms of allergic rhinitis like sneezing and nasal congestion, which is why it’s used to treat seasonal allergies.
You should take guduchi whenever you’re experiencing (or expect to experience) symptoms of allergies or nasal congestion. Ideally, you’d take 900 mg of a standardized plant extract split into three separate doses of 300 mg (preferably with food) each day. For example, you could take 300 mg of guduchi at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
A simple way to incorporate guduchi into your supplementation regimen is to take ⅓ of a serving of Immune (2 capsules) with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Yes, you can take guduchi every day. It’s not associated with any negative side effects.
You can get a daily dose from Immune, which will help support your immune system so that you not only get sick less often, but also feel better when you do come down with something.
+ Scientific References
- Chandrasekaran, C. V., Mathuram, L. N., Daivasigamani, P., & Bhatnagar, U. (2009). Tinospora cordifolia, a safety evaluation. Toxicology in Vitro, 23(7), 1220–1226. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tiv.2009.07.030
- Badar, V. A., Thawani, V. R., Wakode, P. T., Shrivastava, M. P., Gharpure, K. J., Hingorani, L. L., & Khiyani, R. M. (2005). Efficacy of Tinospora cordifolia in allergic rhinitis. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 96(3), 445–449. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2004.09.034
- Zalawadia, R., Gandhi, C., Patel, V., & Balaraman, R. (2009). Pharmaceutical Biology The protective effect of Tinospora cordifolia on various mast cell mediated allergic reactions The protective effect of Tinospora cordifolia on various mast cell mediated allergic reactions. Pharmaceutical Biology, 47(11), 1096–1106. https://doi.org/10.3109/13880200903008690
- Sunanda, Desai, N., & Ainapure, S. (2021). Antiallergic properties of Tinospora cordifolia in animal models. Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 18(4), 250. https://www.ijp-online.com/article.asp?issn=0253-7613;year=1986;volume=18;issue=4;spage=250;epage=252;aulast=Sunanda;type=0
- N Rege, R D Bapat, R Koti, N K Desai, & S Dahanukar. (n.d.). Immunotherapy with Tinospora cordifolia: a new lead in the management of obstructive jaundice - PubMed. Retrieved April 7, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8330924/
- J. John, Wesley A.J.M., Christina N., Chidambaranathan, & Livingston Raja. (n.d.). Effect of alcoholic extract of tinospora cordifolia on acute and subacute inflammation | Request PDF. Retrieved April 7, 2021, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283410918_Effect_of_alcoholic_extract_of_tinospora_cordifolia_on_acute_and_subacute_inflammation
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