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Ancient Wisdom Part 34: Boosting immunity to lowering cholesterol, many benefits of Guduchi or Giloy

By, New Delhi
Dec 20, 2023 01:26 PM IST

Guduchi or Giloy is revered for its anti-ageing and immune-boosting properties. All you want to know about the herb that has been in use since time immemorial.

Guduchi or Giloy , also referred to as the 'queen of herbs' is renowned for its amazing medicinal properties in Ayurveda and finds mention in various texts by ancient physicians Charaka and Susruta. The word Guduchi comes from Sanskrit word that means 'imperishable'. It is known by different names in different parts of the country. The herb is known as Amrit in Sankskrit, Tippa teega in Telugu, Shindilakodi in Tamil, Amruthaballi in Kannada, Giloy in Hindi, Garo in Gujarati, Gulvel in Marathi, Chittamrutu in Malayalam.The legend has that when Lord Rama prayed to Lord Indra to revive his monkey army after he slayed the demon king, his prayers were answered when Indra sprinkled the dead army with celestial nectar. While it revived them, the nectar also gave rise to Guduchi. (Also read | Ancient Wisdom Part 32: Moringa can help you live longer, control diabetes; know all benefits and how to consume)

Each part of Guduchi or Giloy from its stem, root, leaves, fruits, bark have different medicinal properties.
Each part of Guduchi or Giloy from its stem, root, leaves, fruits, bark have different medicinal properties.

Charaka referred to Guduchi as a Medhya Rasayana due to its memory enhancing properties. The herb is as effective in treating fever, liver and spleen disorders, bleeding disease, as for anti-ageing, digestive and even preventing cancer. Each part of Guduchi or Giloy from its stem, root, leaves, fruits, bark have different medicinal properties. While root of Giloy can help prevent diabetes, reduce cholesterol, helps in HIV, stem is used in medication for UTI, fever, asthma. Giloy leaves are used in treating diabetes, anaemia, asthma, cardiac disorder, bacterial infection among others. The benefits don't end here. Combination of dried or powdered fruit of Guduchi with honey is used as tonic for the treatment of rheumatism and jaundice, while its bark has anti-pyretic, anti-allergic, anti-spasmodic, anti-leprotic properties.

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Giloy has been consumed widely since ancient times and it was trusted to boost immunity, anti-ageing properties and treating a range of diseases from fever to digestive issues. It was consumed in the form of decoctions, powders and medicated ghee formulations.

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"Guduchi, also known as Tinospora cordifolia, is a powerhouse of health benefits deeply rooted in traditional Ayurvedic practices. Revered for its therapeutic properties, Guduchi has been a staple in Ayurveda for centuries. In ancient times, Guduchi was consumed in various forms to harness its healing potential. Ayurvedic texts extolled its virtues, emphasizing its ability to balance the three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. It was commonly used to boost immunity, promote longevity, and address a spectrum of ailments. Traditional consumption methods included decoctions, powders, and medicated ghee formulations. The ancient practitioners recognized Guduchi as an adaptogen, helping the body adapt to stressors and maintain optimal health," says Ayush Aggarwal, Founder, Rasayanam.

Guduchi’s detoxifying prowess extends its benevolence to vital organs, particularly the liver, kidney and gut, facilitating the expulsion of toxins and fostering optimal organ function
Guduchi’s detoxifying prowess extends its benevolence to vital organs, particularly the liver, kidney and gut, facilitating the expulsion of toxins and fostering optimal organ function

Health benefits of Guduchi or Giloy

"In the realm of Ayurvedic wisdom, Giloy stands as a revered powerhouse with its Raktashodhaka properties, effectively removing impurities and empowering the body to combat diverse skin ailments. The bitter taste, referred to as Tikta in Ayurveda, serves as a testament to its purifying prowess, detoxifying and cleansing the blood, strengthening liver health and contributing to flawless skin. As a rich source of antioxidants, it becomes a stalwart defender against free radicals, delaying cell damage and contributing to enhanced longevity. Its rejuvenating qualities, deeply rooted in Ayurveda, make it a cornerstone of holistic anti-ageing practices. Guduchi’s detoxifying prowess extends its benevolence to vital organs, particularly the liver, kidney and gut, facilitating the expulsion of toxins and fostering optimal organ function," says Swagatika Das, Co-Founder, Nat Habit [TBC].

Ayush Aggarwal shares health benefits of Guduchi from detoxification to immune-boosting properties.

Immune boosting: Giloy is renowned for its immunomodulatory properties, enhancing the body's defence mechanisms against infections and diseases.

Detoxification: This herb supports the liver's detoxification processes, aiding in the elimination of toxins from the body.

Anti-inflammatory: Guduchi exhibits potent anti-inflammatory effects, making it valuable in managing inflammatory conditions.

Antioxidant Rich: With a high antioxidant content, Giloy helps combat oxidative stress, contributing to overall well-being.

How to consume Guduchi or Giloy

"Reflecting on ancient traditions, Guduchi was ingested and applied in various forms to unlock its full potential. Decoctions, powders, and herbal formulations were crafted to harness its medicinal essence. As a versatile herb, it seamlessly integrated into daily rituals, becoming a staple in the pursuit of vitality and balance," says Das.

Aggarwal shares ways one can consume Guduchi to avail its many benefits:

Decoctions: Prepare Guduchi decoctions by boiling the stems in water. This method extracts the active compounds for a potent elixir.

Powders: Guduchi powder can be mixed with honey or warm water for a simple yet effective way to incorporate it into your daily routine.

Capsules or tablets: Convenient for modern lifestyles, Guduchi is available in capsule or tablet form, ensuring a consistent and measured intake.

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Who shouldn't have Guduchi

"It is crucial to recognise that not everyone is a candidate for Giloy consumption. Individuals with autoimmune disorders or those undergoing immunosuppressive treatments should exercise caution, as Guduchi may stimulate the immune system. Pregnant or lactating women should consult with healthcare practitioners before incorporating Guduchi into their routines to ensure its compatibility with their unique circumstances," says Das.

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While Giloy is generally safe, certain individuals should exercise caution, says Aggarwal.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women: Limited research is available on Guduchi's safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

Diabetic patients: Guduchi may lower blood sugar levels, necessitating careful monitoring for individuals with diabetes.

Autoimmune disorders: Those with autoimmune conditions should consult a healthcare provider, as Guduchi may stimulate the immune system.

Giloy is the also considered an effective remedy for children suffering from upper respiratory tract infection. The herb is also used in Panchakarma procedures and can be used for both external and internal therapeutic purposes.

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