Guduchi is one of the most sought-after herbs in traditional medicine. It is a potent Rasayana herb that has been used in Ayurveda for centuries. This is native to the Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. It grows as a vine; an extensively spreading climbing shrub with big heart-shaped leaves in a tropical and sub-tropical climate.
Botanical and common names:
The botanical name of Guduchi is Tinospora cordifolia, and it belongs to the Menispermaceae family, which is a family of flowering plants. In English, it is known as Heart-shaped Moonseed or Indian Tinospora. In Sanskrit, it is commonly known as Guduchi, Giloy, and Amruta which literally means God’s Nectar referring to its Rasayana properties.
Physical Structure and useful botanical parts:
It is a climbing vine that is frequently seen climbing up the Mango or Neem trees. The older stems grow up to 2 cm in diameter with a corky bark. The aerial roots grow from the nodes of the branches. Guduchi bark or stem is maximum utilized for making Ayurvedic medicines, but roots and leaves are also used at times. The flowers are single-seeded, small, and have a shade of yellow colour. Guduchi leaves are used to make a fresh decoction for acute fever.
Ayurvedic properties and therapeutic benefits:
It has a dominant Kashaya and Tikta Rasa which is Astringent and Bitter taste useful to balance Kapha Dosha. This also has Laghu Guna that is, being light in nature so that it easily gets absorbed into the microchannels of the body known as Srotasa. It has a Madhura rasa, which is a sweet taste post-digestion that is useful to enhance strength and function as a Rasayana for the body. The pharmacodynamics of Karma, which is the final effect of this herb after complete digestion is Agnivardhana (improve digestion strength), Jwaraghna (antipyretic action), and Balya (improve physical strength). It is Tridosha balancing herb that keeps the Vata, Pitta, and Kapha Doshas in sync. The active ingredient in Guduchi is known as Terpenoids which are the largest active constituents in plants responsible for colour, taste, and fragrance.
Health Benefits of Guduchi:
It is known to have tremendous health benefits for all age groups. It is used in various Ayurvedic and herbal health tonics for children, medicines for adults, and is useful for the geriatric population too. Some prominent health benefits of this potent Rasayana herb are:
- Detoxification – It is essentially used to clear out Ama (toxins or undigested material) from the body. It helps to clear blocked channels known as Srotasa for complete body detox.
- Hepatoprotective action – It helps to improve liver functions and secretions. In hepatic conditions such as Jaundice Hepatitis, and Non- alcoholic fatty liver disease, Guduchi is considered as the drug of choice.
- Improves absorption – Being Sangrahi in nature, which is useful in improving absorption, this helps in malabsorption syndrome, IBS diarrhoea etc.
- Boosts digestion – This improves digestion by rekindling the low Agni, which is digestive fire. A healthy status of Agni helps to relieve indigestion.
- Reduces burning sensation – This helps in reducing the burning sensation and excessive thirst due to its Madhura Rasa, which is a sweet taste after digestion.
- Useful in skin diseases – Skin conditions where itching, secretions are common such as psoriasis and eczema, Guduchi helps to reduce the symptoms by initiating purification of blood.
- Helps in reversing metabolic disorders – Guduchi helps to improve metabolism especially useful in Diabetes, Obesity, and liver disorders by metabolizing excess Kapha Dosha.
- Anthelmintic action – It is proven to be useful for relieving intestinal worms, especially in children.
- Anti-inflammatory action – It is known to reduce inflammation in the body, which is useful in reversing conditions such as Arthritis, Gout, and chronic joint pain.
- Respiratory health and antipyretic action – Guduchi is the drug of choice for high fever and is used in various herbal formulations related to common cold, fever and cough.
- Rasayana and Vajikarana properties – Guduchi is a known Rasayana that improves health and overall vitality. It is also Vrushya in nature that means a proven aphrodisiac that helps in improving sexual health.
- Improves cognition and memory – Guduchi is considered a Medhya Rasayana which helps to improve the functioning of the nervous system.
- Antioxidant property – Clinical studies show that Guduchi is seen to reduce the free radicals in the body, thereby confirming the antioxidant action. It also helps in wound healing.
- Immunomodulatory action – Guduchi is a potent Rasayana herb that strengthens the functioning of the immune system.
- Helps improve circulation – Guduchi provides optimum cardiovascular support by managing cholesterol levels as well as improving the circulatory system.
Clinical Studies on Guduchi and outcomes:
Various clinical studies have been conducted globally by eminent researchers and scientists to study this potent Rasayana herb and its health benefits. Guduchi is proven to be effective for multiple conditions as a therapeutic measure as well as a preventive supplement. It has natural powerful antioxidants, is highly anti-inflammatory and improves overall well-being and vitality. Consumption of Guduchi is safe and recommended for all age groups without any adverse effects on the body.
An excerpt from the following research paper mentions,
“T. cordifolia has been used in Ayurvedic preparations for the treatment of various ailments throughout the centuries. It’s used as a Rasayana to boost the immune system and strengthen the body’s defences against illnesses. The entire plant is used medicinally; however, the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India has allowed the use of the stem in medicine. This is due to the stems having a higher alkaloid content than the leaves.”
Traditional remedies, applications and uses of Guduchi:
- Guduchi powder is mixed with Trikatu powder (Black pepper, long pepper and ginger powder). And this mixture is administered with honey to relieve seasonal allergies.
- Fresh decoction of Guduchi leaves is helpful to reduce acute fever and weakness.
- Panchakarma therapies also involve the use of Guduchi extensively due to its detoxification properties which aid Panchakarma techniques for better outcomes.
- Guduchi extract or Satva is also available in the form of tablets which is easy to consume with warm water. It is also used as herbal health and dietary supplement for all ages.