Guduchi, Cakralaksana or ‘Amrita’ as it is popularly known in Sanskrit, is one of the most important herbs of Ayurveda. In Devnagri or Hindi language, it is called Giloy. It signifies the heavenly nectar which possesses the quality of restoring life; something that is imperishable. The botanical name for Guduchi is Tinospora Cordifolia – Caulis (Menispermaceae family).
Legend has it that when the ancient gods churned the ocean during the war of Mahabharata, an ambrosial nectar or ‘Amrit’ was created. This nectar had the power to grant immortality to anyone who drank it. Guduchi benefits include rejuvenation and detoxification primarily. We will further discuss its other benefits in detail. Let’s see the physical properties of this herb…
Rasa (taste): The taste leans towards bitter (tikta), astringent (kashaya) or pungent
Virya (potency): It provides heat energy or the heating effect (ushna)
Vipaka (post-digestive effect): Sweet or madhura
Guna (quality): Light (laghu) and easy to digest
Dosa (effect): Balances tridoshas of vata, kapha, and pitta
Dhatu (tissue): Plasma, blood, muscle, fat, nerve, reproductive
Srotas (channel): Digestive or circulatory
According to Ayurveda, the universe and its constituents are made up of the five elements of nature; earth, water, fire, air, and space (ether). Whatever is present in this universe also exists within us. These five elements are also present in our body in varying amounts. When prana or the breathing energy mixes with these five elements, we get doshas.It helps in removing the tri-doshas in the body, namely, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. It is important to first know what these doshas are before we see how this Indian herb helps in removing them from our body.
- Vata dosha – When prana mixes with the elements air and space it creates vata dosha which governs all movements of the body.
- Pitta dosha– It is made up of the elements of fire and water. This dosha affects digestion, nutrition, metabolism and body temperature.
- Kapha dosha– It is made up of the elements of earth and water. This dosha affects bones, muscles, teeth, and other dense parts of our body.
Basic Guduchi Information
Following are the constituents of the ayurvedic herb Guduchi:
Tinosporone, tinosporic acid, cordifolisides A to E, syringen, berberine, giloin, gilenin, crude giloininand, arabinogalactan polysaccharide, picrotene, bergenin, gilosterol, tinosporol, tinosporidine, sitosterol, cordifol, heptacosanol, octacosonal, tinosporide, columbin, chasmanthin, palmarin, palmatosides C and F, amritosides, cordioside, tinosponone, berberine, ecdysterone, makisterone A, sitosterol, magnoflorine, tembetarine, syringine, glucan polysaccharide, syringine apiosylglycoside, isocolumbin, palmatine, tetrahydropalmaitine, jatrorrhizine.
Guduchi comes in three primary varieties:
- Tinospora crispa
- Tinospora malabarica
- Tinospora sinensis
Combinations and Their Medicinal Properties
Just like several other ayurvedic herbs, Guduchi has been around for centuries but its importance has come to light only recently. It is said to possess medicinal properties that help in increasing the body’s resistance to stress, anxiety, and illness. It acts as an antioxidant, hypoglycemic, diuretic, and antipyretic. Guduchi also has antitumor, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties.
In short, Guduchi benefits are a treasure trove in itself. It is also combined with other herbs to prepare cures for several diseases. Some of these combinations and their usage are:
- With manjishtha, bhumiamalaki, and pippali – For curing hepatitis and liver degeneration.
- With amalaki, licorice – Used in hyperacidity and imbalanced agni (pitta types)
- With guggulu, myrrh, ginger, turmeric, and ashwagandha – For curing arthritic amavata conditions.
- With kutki and chiretta – For immunodeficiency.
- With gurmar, tumeric, amalaki, shilajit – Used as a cure for diabetes
- With coriander, neem, sandalwood – Used in sannipata fevers( for all three doshas)
- With neem, gotu kola, manjishtha, bakuchi – Used for curing inflammatory skin conditions
- With ginger and aloe vera – As a cure for gout and arthritis
- With gokshura, shatavari, kapikacchu, and safed musali – As a cure for male reproductive problems.
Some of the Diseases that are Cured by Guduchi
- Urinary tract infection
- Cardiac problems
Other Health Benefits of Guduchi
- Acts as a hepatoprotective agent- This herb is useful in preventing liver damage, as a cure for viral hepatitis, and for the regeneration of liver tissue.
- Vata disorders- This ayurvedic herb is used for the removal of Vata disorders like Gout (vata rakta), arthritis (ama vata) and other inflammatory joint conditions. The giloy juice is very useful for relieving joint pains experienced after a bout of dengue.
- Detoxification- It clears pitta toxins and uric acid from the urinary system. It is also a detoxification agent for the body.
- Acts as an immunity booster- By strengthening the immunity of the body, Guduchi acts as a natural shield against diseases like AIDS and Cancer. It is also an immune-modulator used in curing autoimmune deficiency disorders like multiple sclerosis(MS), Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is said to even reduce, if not reverse, the side effects of chemo-radiotherapy. This plant contains phytoandrogen, which provides protection against DNA damage done by the environment. It supports and gives strength to the immune system by maintaining sufficient levels of WBC or white blood cells such as macrophages in the body.
- For reproductive disorders- It balances the pitta and clears the excess heat in the body which causes sexual dysfunction. Though this natural plant has a hot potency, it removes the heat from the boy through its sweet after taste. It is also a popular aphrodisiac.
- Regulates metabolism- It helps in regulating the metabolism and keeps the blood sugar levels under check. It removes the vata dosha in the nervous system through its soothing properties.
- Digestion- Regular usage of Guduchi removes indigestion, which is also a vata dosha. It prevents gastritis, constipation, intestinal bleeding, piles and dysentery problems from occurring. The absorptive properties of Guduchi help in removing bloating, malabsorption, diarrhea and flatulence (vata dosha).
- Skin problems- It removes the pitta dosha too in the human body. In a paste form, it is one of the best medicines for inflammatory skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis. Its soothing nature is what helps in removing the pitta doshas from the body.
- Bleeding disorders- The astringent properties of Guduchi remove bleeding disorders (rakta pitta).
- Fever- Almost ninety percent of ayurvedic medicines for fever have this natural herb in them.
- For surgical wounds- The aerial roots of Guduchi are quite thin. Yet, they possess strength enough to be used in tying up surgical wounds. Along with keeping the wound intact, Guduchi roots provide a healing effect to the wound as well.
- Anti- ageing– It also forms a part of several ayurvedic anti ageing medicines.
Precautions to Consider
Guduchi should be avoided by pregnant women as it may affect the mother and the foetus. It is used in post natal care and it can also be given to children in prescribed amounts. There are also some side effects of this plant. It can also aggravate constipation if one is already prone to it. Diabetics who are already on sugar control medicines should avoid this ancient herb as it may further lower their sugar levels.
Useful Parts of Guduchi
It is a native Indian herb and is easily found in India, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka. The parts of Guduchi that are used for medicinal and ayurvedic purposes are its aerial roots, stems, and leaves.
The prescribed dosage for Guduchi is 1–15 gm in its powdered form or 3–15 ml as water decoction per day depending upon the condition. It can be taken on a regular basis for chronic health issues like cancer. Taking Guduchi for a week, every day helps in warding off that common cold or the flu. It is also used as a paste and applied directly on the skin as a cure for chronic skin irritations, such as eczema and psoriasis. The dry Guduchi powder is known as kashya. For consuming it in this form, 1 tbsp needs to be boiled in a cup of water. Once it reduces to half in quantity, it should be filtered and consumed once a day.
For children, Guduchi dosage is 500 mg a day if used in powder form and 250 mg per day of Guduchi extract.
- Guduchyadi Kashaya- It is the dry stem powder
Guduchi as we have now explored forms an integral part of the ayurvedic medicines. It provides an exhaustive list of diseases that can be cured by its usage.