‘Guduchi’ is a Sanskrit term which means, ‘that which protects the body from diseases’. Another name for this herb is ‘Amrita’, which refers to ‘the heavenly elixir’ according to Hindu mythology. According to the tale, Guduchi saved celestial beings from old age and kept them eternally young.
The story is actually quite suggestive of its benefits. Here’s what you’ll learn in this article.
The Myth Of Ravana + The Origins Of Guduchi
Guduchi’s Place In Ayurveda
The Ayurvedic Properties Of Guduchi
How Guduchi Helps Undigested Toxins And Environmental Toxins
Guduchi Powder + How To Use Guduchi
Guduchi Home Remedies
Guduchi Side Effects
Herbs And Adjuvants Or Anupaans
Guduchi Safety And Precautions
Guduchi Drug Interactions
Guduchi Scientific Research
The Sanskrit name for guduchi “Amritavalli”, literally means “creeper with amrit” or creeper with the nectar. Creeper is a reference to its climbing nature. The classification of guduchi as ‘amrit’ or nectar alone indicates the elevated status of this herb in Ayurveda.1
Guduchi is commonly called Tinospora. The Latin name or botanical name given to this herb is Tinospora cordifolia (Wild). In India, it is called Giloy, Guruca and Guduchi.2
Guduchi is full of life energy or life force, referred to in Ayurveda as prana. Thus it is rightly named in the Ayurvedic treatise ‘Bhava Prakash’ by Bhava Mishra, as chinnaruha and chinnoudbhava or that which is able to grow on its own even if cut. It is full of life energy and is capable of growing without grosser means of sustenance.
There is an interesting myth narrated in the aforementioned ‘Bhava Prakash’ regarding the origin of Guduchi. It goes like this.
Ravana, the king of Lanka (thought to be present day Sri Lanka) abducted Sita, the wife of Lord Rama. Mighty Rama assisted by an army of monkeys fought Ravana and killed him in the battlefield.
Indra the king of the heaven greatly pleased at the defeat of Ravana, praised Rama and brought back to life all the monkeys in the army of Rama, who had been killed, by sprinkling nectar on them.
The drops of nectar also fell on the ground running down the bodies of monkeys. Wherever this nectar fell there grew a plant of Guduchi.2
Ayurveda believes that human beings are a non-separate manifestation of the universe. So, that what exists in the universe or “the macrocosm”, also exists in the human being or “the microcosm”. The human is also made up of the five elements that the universe and all the matter in the universe is made up of. Thus living in harmony with the external universe and balancing the flow of the five elements in the human physiology maintains health and wellbeing. Whatever we take in affects this cosmic dynamism, this microcosm.
Vasant Lad and Dr. David Frawley quoted the role of plants in Ayurvedic medicine.
Plants bring us love, the nourishing power of the sun, which is the same energy of all the stars, of all light.
These cosmic energies emanated by plants thus nourish, sustain and make grow our own astral body. In this way the existence of plants is a great offering, a sacrifice. They offer us not only their own nutritive value but the very light and love from the stars, from the cosmos whose messengers they are. They bring us the universal light so that we can enter the universal life. They exist for psychological as well as physical nourishment”.3
Guduchi is one such herb used in the Ayurvedic system of health. It is full of life energy and has a myriad of uses. It can help with prolonging life and was thus recognized by the ancient rishis of the Vedic era, long before the age of modern technology. That is why Ayurvedic seer Charaka classified it under the group of herbs that are vaya (meaning age) sthapana (restoring) by action. He also kept it under the group of four herbs that have been called medhya rasayana, which means, that which rejuvenates the intellect and the memory.
READ MORE: Ashwagandha Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects + More, 21 Ways To Take Ashwagandha (Ashwagandha Remedies + Recipes), Ashwagandha Insomnia Remedy From Ancient Indian Wellness
Guduchi is a large, climbing shrub. Traditionally, if Guduchi climbs up a Neem tree, another bitter tree, it is considered to be more potent and highly sought after as it takes on the properties of the Neem tree as well. One of the defining characteristics of the plant is its green heart shaped leaves.
Guduchi is highly valued in Ayurveda for its detoxifying, rejuvenating, immune-supporting, and anti-ama properties. Ama, you may remember, is the indigenous toxin produced out of faulty digestion. It is now being studied by researchers for cold and flu prevention, immune support, skin disorders, arthritis, liver disorders, gout and other rheumatic disorders.
Let’s look at some of the research later in this article. It must be reiterated that this is preliminary research and thus does not validate or establish the use of this herb in diseases of any kind, at this time.
This herb has the following properties as described in The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India.4
Rasa (taste): Bitter, Astringent
Guna (property): Light, Unctuous
Virya (potency): Hot
Vipaka (post digestive effect): Sweet
Karma (action): Balya (strengthening), Deepana (kindles digestive fire), Rasayana (rejuvenator), Sangrahi (binder of stools), Rakta shodhak (blood purifier), Jvaraghna (febrifuge).
Dosha karma (action on dosha): Pacifier of all three Dosha.
Ayurveda classifies herbs according to taste or rasa, potency or virya, and post-digestive effect or vipaka. With Guduchi, it has bitter and astringent taste (Rasa), heating energy (Virya) and a sweet post-digestive effect (Vipaka).
The API (Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India) mentions its kapha and pitta pacifying properties by virtue of its bitter and astringent taste. By virtue of its sweet, post digestive effect, it pacifies vata and pitta dosha and provides a nourishing effect to the body. Thus Guduchi has a balancing effect on all the three dosha.
According to ‘Bhava Prakash’, by Bhava Mishra, Guduchi is light in property and heating in potency which allows it to penetrate the dhatus (tissues) while its astringent taste aids in its absorption in the body.
Although Guduchi has a heating energy it does not aggravate pitta. This unique effect of Guduchi is an example of its Prabhava or specific action, irrespective of its properties (Pharmaco matrix).
According to the authentic Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, Guduchi is said to possess heavy and unctuous qualities, which makes Guduchi vata and pitta pacifying. It is considered to be a Tridoshic rasayan (rejuvenator herb) by virtue of its various properties. It detoxifies the deepest tissue by penetrating deep into the tissue level by virtue of its hot potency and is rejuvenating and nourishing by virtue of its sweet post digestive effect and unctuous qualities.
Guduchi, possessing two contrasting properties makes it a unique herb in Ayurveda. Vaidya Mishra’s family tradition describes Guduchi as the herb that is able to bind and safely remove Ama or ama visha (endogenous toxins) formed due to imbalanced pitta dosha and environmental toxins. It does this without aggravating pitta dosha while also healing the damage caused by the local toxins.5
READ MORE: Triphala Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, Triphala Churna, Triphala Guggul, Triphala For Weight Loss
Just to refresh your Ayurvedic knowledge, when the pitta dosha runs out of balance, your digestion may suffer and your body can even become susceptible to different types of toxins, including ama, amavisha and garvisha (environmental toxins).
Ama, or undigested toxins, develops due to a weak or irregular digestive fire or agni. Over time, accumulated ama can clog the microcirculatory passages or shrotas and consequently, can block the flow of nutrients and disrupt the elimination of waste material. If ama is not cleansed from the body on a timely and effective manner, it can travel to different parts of the body and keep on accumulating.
Amavisha results when ama accumulates for a significant amount of time in a particular body part and reacts with the malas or body wastes, the dhatus or body tissues and the sub-dhatus or accessory body tissues in the body like skin or breast milk. As explained in Ayurveda, amavisha can cause health complications by blocking the important srotas or body channels.
Garvisha refers to environmental toxins and unlike ama and amavisha, it enters the body from the external environment. This can be a result of being exposed to air or water pollution or even consuming harmful preservatives. Needless to say, it’s important to eliminate these types of toxins from the body at the earliest.
A balanced pitta dosha can go a long way in preventing the accumulation of ama. With its proven pitta-balancing property, Guduchi can be an herb of choice in the event of aggravated pitta and accumulation of ama (toxins) in the body channels. This explains its Jwaraghna (febrifuge), Rakta shodhak (blood purifier) effect!
Guduchi is also able to build up ojas, the essence of all the seven dhatus which also correlates with immunity, explaining its actions as an immune-supportive. Guduchi is described as being pathyam, meaning that it keeps one on the path of health by agreeing with one’s physiology. As such it is documented to have good effects during convalescence.5
The Indian Materia Medica describes Guduchi to be laghu (light) in digestion, deepanam (kindles digestive fire), chaksushyam (good for the eyes), dhatu krita (builds seven bodily tissues), medhyam (rejuvenating for the mind), vyavasthapan (restores age and maintains youthfulness and longevity).6
Among the various benefits attributed to the herb in the classical texts, Guduchi primarily delivers the following.
The roots, stems, leaves and bark are used in various forms in Ayurvedic formulations. Giloy satva or Guduchi Satya, a bitter extract of Guduchi, is found to be very effective. The stem is the main medicinal part. The leaves are useful in liver diseases.
Guduchi is usually used in powder form, and the standard dosage for immune enhancement is one teaspoon, twice daily. At the onset of a cold or flu, taking Guduchi for a week may help to fight off the infection.
The most common example of herbal satva(starchy aqueous extract) prescribed in Ayurveda is Guduchi satva. Ayurvedic classics emphasized use of Guduchi Satva in different stages of Prameha.*7
There are no side effects reported using Guduchi following the recommended dosage. Excess dosage of Guduchi powder may cause a feeling of excess heat in the body. Excess dosage of Guduchi Satva does not give this type of feeling.
When it comes to herbal home remedies for fever and anorexia, Guduchi is one of various options with excellent results. Here’s a simple Guduchi or Giloy recipe called for in fever and anorexia.
First prepare Guduchi Kashayam. For that you will need the following ingredients.
2 1/2 Tbsp of Guduchi powder
1 1/2 cups water
2-3 pieces of Long pepper
1-2 teaspoons of honey
Boil the Guduchi powder in the water over a mild fire or medium heat. Keep the pot uncovered and stir continuously until the water reduces to 1/2 cup. This is the Guduchi Kashayam or decoction. To this prepared decoction, add 2-3 pieces of long pepper and stir well.
How To Take This Remedy
Take 4-6 teaspoons of this kashaya along with one teaspoon of honey, once or twice a day before food. The dose can be increased depending on the strength of the client and the disease.
This preparation can be taken for 3-4 weeks. Check with your health care provider for contraindications and proper use. Consult with your Ayurvedic health care provider for best results.
READ MORE: 21 Ways To Take Ashwagandha (Ashwagandha Remedies + Recipes)
It can cause a slight burning sensation of the abdomen, but it is safe to be used in children and lactating mothers.8 It is best to avoid Guduchi during pregnancy and seek the advice of an Ayurvedic practitioner.
There are different combination of Guduchi for different dosha imbalances.
It may have struck you, how a single herb has so many different benefits. Let’s find out.
Guduchi or any other herb has a range of chemical constituents which are effective against different conditions. Ayurveda says, when an herb is consumed along with a particular co-substance or adjuvant (anupaan), it makes it easier for the body tissues to utilize that particular constituent.
How An Adjuvant Works
In Ayurvedic medicine there is always a specific adjuvant mentioned for carrying an herb or even food. Let’s know, how this adjuvant works or how it is helpful.
*Adjuvants are carriers. They help in the easy breaking down of food particles or herb particles.
*Adjuvants help in easy digestion and assimilation of food and / or herbs.
*They enhance the bioavailability of nutrients present in the food or herb.
*They help avoid or attenuate any adverse effects.
Determining The Dose
If powder is advised, the usual dose is 1-3 grams in divided doses per day.
If decoction is advised, the usual dose is 30-50 ml once or twice per day.
The dose of adjuvant is usually 1-3 grams.
Storing The Herb
Powder can be stored for 2-6 months.
If a fresh decoction is prepared at home, it should be consumed within 12 hours.
Guduchi is safe to use for kids above 5 years of age for a period of 1-2 weeks under the supervision of your healthcare provider. It is safe to use during lactation. Avoid during pregnancy.
People on an anti-diabetic treatment plan should use Guduchi with precaution and consult your healthcare provider. Guduchi Satva (bitter extract of Guduchi) like most bitter herbs, has a mild hypoglycemic activity while it does not have a significant anti-hyperglycemic activity against glucose overload.9
It is important to inform your doctor about your current list of medications, over the counter products like vitamins and herbal supplements, allergies, pre-existing conditions, and current health conditions (e.g. pregnancy, upcoming surgery, etc.) before you start Guduchi or any other herb. Some health conditions may make you more susceptible to its side-effects.
Take as directed by your doctor or follow the direction printed on the product insert. Dosage is based on your condition. Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens. Important counseling points are listed below.
READ MORE: How I Healed My Diabetes With Ayurveda, The HbA1C Test, Uncontrolled Diabetes + Mortality, Herbs For Diabetes
If you use other drugs or over the counter products at the same time, the effects of Guduchi may change. Inform your doctor about all the drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements you are using, so that your doctor can help you prevent or manage drug interactions. Guduchi may interact with immunosuppressant group of drugs and hypoglycemic drugs, so use it with caution.
If you find difficulty in digestion, or experience any heat or burning sensation of the abdomen, discontinue use of Guduchi and seek the advice of your healthcare provider. Hypersensitivity like this to Guduchi is the only known contraindication.
Modern research findings are now able to validate the insights of the ancient saints and seers on the effectiveness of herbs in various conditions. These are preliminary research that have opened the doors to further research.
All diseases with manifestation of polyuria are described under prameha in ayurveda, and ultimately develops into madhumeha, which is a subtype of prameha and correlated with Type 2 Diabetes.
Anti-diabetic potential of two highly potent dosage forms of Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia Willd.) viz. satva (sedimented starchy aqueous extract) and ghana (solidified aqueous extract) are highly appreciated and applied by Ayurvedic fraternity. Recent experimental studies validate and establish these Ayurvedic claims, however to date, no report is available on their clinical evaluation. The present study is aimed to evaluate the therapeutic potential of guduchi satva (GS) and guduchi ghana (GG) in madhumeha (Type 2 Diabetes).
A randomized clinical trial was conducted on 100 known patients of madhumeha of both genders. The patients were randomly allocated into two groups, viz. GS (group A) and GG (group B). Both drugs were administered orally, 500 mg twice daily, with lukewarm water, a half hour before meals for four weeks. The efficacy of therapy was assessed based on relief in cardinal signs and symptoms and blood sugar, lipid profile and other routine biochemical, hematological and urine examinations. The data was analyzed statistically by applying paired and unpaired ‘t’ tests. Both the dosage forms exerted statistically proven significance in reduction of blood sugars along with relief in signs and symptoms of madhumeha.
The present study validates the Ayurvedic therapeutic claims of efficacy of both dosage forms of guduchi i.e. GS and GG, where GG is found to be comparatively more efficacious (in view of glycemic control and relief in signs and symptoms) and establishes their use as a safe anti-diabetic agent. No adverse drug reactions were observed during the course of studies.10
Ayurveda describes Guduchi as helpful in hepatitis and jaundice due to its detoxifying properties. In a clinical trial, liver toxicity was induced in rats, followed by the administration of an alcoholic extract of Guduchi. The extract protected the livers of rats, showing its hepatoprotective properties.11
Immunomodulatory / Anti-Allergic
In another study, Guduchi was found to be useful in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, an allergic condition characterized by sneezing, mucus discharge from the nose, sinus congestion, and related symptoms. The study showed that Guduchi gave significant relief to the allergic symptoms.12
In yet another study, the rejuvenative potential of Guduchi was tested, along with the ability of Guduchi (and Ashwagandha) to reduce oxidative stress in human volunteers. The result of the study showed that both herbs are potent antioxidants that may also prevent premature aging.13
READ MORE: Ashwagandha Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects + More
A study was conducted to evaluate the effect of Guduchi on physical performance. The physical performance evaluated was maximum distance and speed, oxygen consumption (VO2 max), and hand grip strength. Cardiovascular response was assessed by multiple heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) measurements during each test. T. cordifolia or Guduchi improved physical performance and suppressed over activation of the sympathetic nervous system showing its adaptogenic property.14
Radio Protective Effects
Guduchi has shown its potent radio protective effects in animal experiments. In an animal study it was found that radiation induced testicular injury was significantly ameliorated in the experimental group who consumed Guduchi, leading to significant increase in the body as well as the tissue weight in comparison with the control group (which was deprived of herb).15
A comprehensive and summary study was conducted to examine and validate the various pharmacological effects of Guduchi described in the Ayurvedic texts. The conclusion of the study states that the “pharmacological actions attributed to Tinospora cordifolia in Ayurvedic texts have been validated by a remarkable body of modern evidence suggesting that this herb has immense potential in modern pharmacotherapeutics.”16
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the joints leading to tissue damage. Despite the availability of potent drugs including the biologics, many patients fail to respond to them, whereas others suffer adverse effects following long-term use of these drugs. Accordingly, the use of natural herbal products by RA patients has been increasing over the years. However, limited information about the mechanism of action of these natural products is a major shortcoming that prevents the widespread acceptance of herbal therapy by professionals and patients alike.
In this study, it was demonstrated that the anti-arthritic activity of Tinospora cordifolia extract (TCE) using the rat adjuvant-induced arthritis model of human RA elaborated the immune mechanisms underlying this effect. Tinospora cordifolia extract treatment suppressed arthritic inflammation and bone and cartilage damage. The anti-inflammatory effect of TCE was mediated via reduction of the pro-inflammatory cytokines such as: IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-17; the frequency of IL-17-producing T cells; and the production of chemokines such as RANTES. Furthermore, TCE treatment limited bone damage by shifting the balance of mediators of bone remodeling (e.g., receptor activator of nuclear factor-kB ligand [RANKL] and MMP-9) in favor of anti-osteoclastic activity. Results suggest that TCE and its bioactive components should be evaluated for their utility as therapeutic adjuncts to conventional drugs against RA.17
READ MORE: 9 Foods For Rheumatoid Arthritis, According To Ayurveda, Golden Milk For Arthritis Recipe (Turmeric Milk For Arthritis), Flaxseed Benefits + Flaxseed Pancakes Recipe For Arthritis (Alsi Ka Cheela)
Guduchi has immense potential in both preventive and clinical aspects of health which has now been validated and accepted by modern medical and scientific research. In almost all the classical texts of Ayurveda as well as modern treatises, the benefits of this sacred herb has been documented.
The health benefits of Guduchi are numerous. It is well known for its use as an anti-inflammatory and immunomodulator. It has been widely used in cases of fever. It has been used as a rasayana since time immemorial.
*Prameha, according to Ayurveda, is a group of disorders manifested by polyuria. Madhumeha is a subtype of prameha and is correlated to Type 2 Diabetes.
1 S. V. Ayurveda: From Sutra to Science, Vaidya Mishra, “Guduchi–Learn About The Most Divine Herb In Ayurveda”, https://vaidyamishra.com/shop/media/dravya-guna-vigyan-ayurvedic-pharmacopoeia/guduchi-learn-about-the-most-divine-herb-in-ayurveda.html.
2 Srikantha M.K.R. (2016). Bhavprakash of Bhavamisra, English translation, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi, pp228.
3 Frawley, D., Lad, V. (2001). The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine (Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press, 2001), pp. 4-5, 242-243.
4 Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Vol 1, Serial no 28, pp 41.
5 SVAyurveda: From Sutra to Science, Vaidya Mishra, “Guduchi – Learn About The Most Divine Herb In Ayurveda”, https://vaidyamishra.com/shop/media/dravya-guna-viyan-ayurvedic-pharmacopoeia/guduchi-learn-about-the-most-divine-herb-in-ayurveda.html.
6 Nadkarni, K.M. (1908). Indian Materia Medica (Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1908), pp. 356-357.
7 Shastri, B. (2002). Editor. 7th ed. Varanasi: Choukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan. Yoga Ratnakar, with Vidyotini Hindi Commentary by Lakshmipati Shastri; p.118.
8 Mallick, S. and Prakash, B. S. (2012), Influence of feeding Tinospora cordifolia peripartum on lactation parameters in crossbred cows. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 96:
9 Sharma,R, Kumar, V. Ashok,B.K., Galib, R., Prajapati, P.K., Ravishankar, B. (2013).Hypoglycemic and anti-hyperglycemic activity of Guduchi Satva in experimental animals Ayu. 34(4): 417–420.
10 Sharma, R. (2017). Efficacy of two Ayurvedic dosage forms of guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia Willd. miers) on type 2 diabetes 2nd International Congress on Restorative & Alternative Medicine November 06-07, 2017 at Vienna, Austria.
11 Bishayi B., Roychowdhury S., Ghosh S., Sengupta M. (2002). Hepatoprotective and immunomodulatory properties of Tinospora cordifolia in CCl4 intoxicated mature albino rats, The Journal of Toxicological Sciences, 139-146.
12 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: 445-449.
13 Kuchewar V.V., Borkar M.A., Nisargadhama. (2014), Evaluation of antioxidant potential of Rasayana drugs in healthy human volunteers,” AYU An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda, 35: 46-49.
15 Sharma P, Parmar J, Sharma P, Verma P, Goyal PK. (2011) Radiation-Induced Testicular Injury and Its Amelioration by Tinospora cordifolia (An Indian Medicinal Plant) Extract. Evid Based Complement Alternat Me.
16 Upadhyay, Avnish K., Kumar, Kaushal, Mishra, Hari S. (2010). Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Hook. f. and Thoms. (Guduchi) – validation of the Ayurvedic pharmacology through experimental and clinical studies, International Journal of Ayurveda Research, 1: 112-121.
17 Sannegowda, K M, et al. “Tinospora Cordifolia Inhibits Autoimmune Arthritis by Regulating Key Immune Mediators of Inflammation and Bone Damage.” International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26467057.
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