Ayurvedic medicine has been considered as the prime healing method since the ancient era. It has its origins in the sacred ground of India and is blessed with lesser side effects as compared to allopathy. Giloy, also known as Tinospora Cordifolia, is one such herb that is popular among naturopaths for its numerous benefits. It is also known as ‘Indian Tinospora’ as it is mostly found naturally in India and Sri Lanka. It is now gaining popularity in Ayurvedic science for its role in treating and preventing common infections. Let us have a look at the benefits and side effects of Giloy, the Indian Tinospora herb.
Role of Giloy in Medicine:
- It has an antipyretic and anti-inflammatory action which makes it useful in various allergies (hay fever) where the patient suffers from repeated sneezing, nasal itching and discharge, stuffy nose, etc. It is somewhat proven to decrease the sneezing episodes and provide symptomatic results after about two months of treatment.
- It is also used in treating chronic fever and diseases.
- It has an antioxidant action.
- It has an immunomodulatory action which helps to boost the immune system.
- It is also known to have some benefit in killing cancer cells and hence used in cancer conditions like lymphoma.
- Also used in hepatitis and certain liver conditions.
- Used in cases of- stomach upset, gout, diabetes, high cholesterol, peptic ulcer disease (PUD) and many more.
Recommended Read: Use of Giloy in treating Dengue and Chikungunya
Side Effects of Giloy
After many trials, Giloy is however labelled to be ‘Possibly Safe’. No doubt it can and is being used for the afore-mentioned cases but like any other drug, its side effects too cannot be ignored. Let us have a quick look at some of the reported side effects of Giloy:
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding: Much care is taken with the drugs and treatment taken during this crucial phase. It’s not that Tinospora is known to cause any serious side effects in pregnancy or breastfeeding but that little is known about its effect. It still has to be researched about its long-term effects and hence it is always better to avoid it and stay on the safe side.
- Affect Blood Sugar Levels: It has been found in few cases that Giloy lowers the blood sugar levels. In that case, your diabetic medications will need to be adjusted accordingly to prevent the side effects of hypoglycemia in a diabetic patient.
- Constipation: In some cases, it was observed that Giloy causes constipation and stomach irritation. This side effect is the most noted one and should be looked after once treatment with it in any form is started. Giloy is available as both tablets and as juice. Both forms have constipation as a common side effect.
- Drug Interactions: Giloy being used with other drugs has its own effects. It is known to interact more with antidiabetic and immunosuppressant medications than any other drugs. When used in a diabetic patient, it might cause their blood glucose levels to drop too low.
Using it with immunosuppressants that are known to lower immunity, Giloy might decrease the effectiveness of these drugs due to its immunomodulator property. Hence, care should be taken to take a patient’s accurate previous history to avoid any such drug interactions.
- Surgery: Giloy should be stopped around 2 weeks before your scheduled surgery date because it is known to cause sugar level alterations in the blood. It could interfere with the sugar level control during and after surgery.
- Autoimmune Diseases: As already mentioned above, Giloy boosts the immune system. In cases of autoimmune diseases, it may over-stimulate the immune system. Hence, it is best to not use Giloy if you suffer from any of the autoimmune conditions like lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE), rheumatoid arthritis among others.
‘Giloy’ is referred to as ‘Amrita’ in Sanskrit meaning ‘the root of immortality’ perhaps owing to its medicinal properties. It is available as capsules of strength 500mg made from the herbal extract of the plant, Tinospora Corfifolia. Its treatment duration ranges from 4-6 months for apt results.
Ayurvedic medicines are known for greater health benefits with lesser side effects. It might not the case with all the medicines. Hence, it is always advisable to be fully aware of the benefits and side effects of any drug, Giloy in this case, before starting its consumption. After all, awareness today is the key to a better health tomorrow.
Do share your experience with this herb and if you have faced any issues or side effects of Giloy in the comment section. 🙂