Giloy health benefits: Learn about the evidence on the health benefits of giloy, how to consume giloy in various forms and how giloy may be used as a home remedy for various conditions.
What is Giloy?
Giloy is an extensively researched herb, with many promising benefits. The giloy plant is a large climbing vine with elongated twining branches that spread extensively. It is commonly found in tropical countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, China, Thailand and India. The scientific Latin name of giloy is Tinospora cordifolia but it is commonly known as Guduchi, Gurcha or Amrita in regional languages and “Heart-leaved moonseed” in English.
Giloy has been researched on its many proclaimed benefits related to anti-ageing for skin issues (Castillo et al, 2013), as being an immunomodulator and its anti-oxidant nature that provides it wide ranging application from relieving symptoms of HIV, Cancer, Liver dysfunction (Chi et al, 2016) as well as reliving allergies (Badar et al, 2005).
Giloy has a long history of being used in the traditional systems of Indian Ayurvedic medicine and was used by Ayurveda practitioners to treat various disorders and diseases.
In Hindu mythology, Giloy refers to the heavenly elixir “amrita satva” that has saved celestial beings from old age and kept them eternally young. It is also referred to as Prana in Ayurveda which means filled with vigour and is capable of growing on its own even when the plant is cut.
An exclusive feature of the plant is its ariel roots. It requires support to grow which can be provided by raising wooden stakes or trellis. The stem is fleshy and has rosette-like pores. The leaves of the plant are heart-shaped which gives the plant its English name. The flowers are small greenish-yellow in color while the plant bears red-coloured round fruits. The plant can also be grown as an indoor or garden plant
A large number of useful chemical compounds are found in Giloy. They belong to different classes, such as alkaloids, diterpenoid lactones, glycosides, steroids, sesquiterpenoid, phenolics, aliphatic compounds and polysaccharides which makes the plant a superlative remedy for all kinds of health disorders and also helps to boost immunity.
Various Ways to Take Different Forms of Giloy
In terms of formulations, the plant acts as an allrounder. Although the stem is the most commonly used part, the roots, leaves and flowers are also equally effective and they can also be used for a variety of preparations.
Giloy preparations come in a wide variety ranging from decoctions/tonics or kadhas, juices, churans or powders and vati or tablets. It is also available as pastes for topic application for skin disorders. The easiest way to consume giloy is raw by sucking on the stem or chewing the leaves of the plant.
You can prepare giloy juice using the branches of the plant. Here’s the step by step recipe:
- Cut a few branches of the giloy plant and wash them thoroughly.
- Now, you have to scrape the branch’s outer skin (using a knife). You will get the inner fresh green part.
- Chop this into small pieces and blend it in a blender.
- You need to add a cup of water till the liquid turns green completely.
- Now, strain this blend in a glass.
Your giloy juice is ready to be consumed.
Giloy powder is usually commercially prepared. The giloy stem is used for this preparation. The stem is washed thoroughly and the outer papery husk is removed. It is then chopped into small pieces about 2-3 inches in length.
Later, the stems are mashed with a measured quantity of water and allowed to settle overnight for 10-12 hours. In the morning, this mixture is vigorously macerated. This releases the mushy starch from the plant into the liquid. The mixture is then filtered through a minute porous mesh and kept undisturbed for 4-5 hours. The filtrate gets separated from the residue. This residue is carefully removed and air-dried under the fan to get the giloy powder. This is then stored in airtight containers for future use.
Powerful Health Benefits of Giloy
Giloy has several health benefits due to its highly advantageous medical as well as pharmaceutical properties.
Giloy exhibits anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties which help in reducing body aches and pains.
Good For Anxiety
Giloy is an adaptogenic herb. It helps in decreasing anxiety and mental stress which is very common in current lifestyle conditions. Giloy helps in calming down a person and also enhances cognitive functions along with boosting memory.
Good For Skin
Giloy helps in curing various skin conditions and problems as it helps in removing toxins from the body. It has anti-ageing properties which rejuvenate and revitalizes the skin. Giloy also helps reduce dark spots and pimples common among adolescents. It enhances the production of collagen and fastens wound healing processes.
Giloy is also helpful in treating conditions of the scalp like dandruff and scalp itch. It promotes hair growth while reducing hair fall and is an excellent hair protectant and strengthener.
Giloy benefits for diabetes
Giloy works as a hypoglycemic agent in the body and hence helps in reducing high blood glucose levels. It also increases the production of insulin from the pancreas’ beta cells and reduces the breakdown of starch to glucose in the body. These roles ultimately make giloy very useful for diabetic patients. It is also helpful in various diabetic complications like ulcers, wound healing and kidney problems.
Beneficial for Gout and Arthritis
Due to the anti-inflammatory property of giloy, it is very advantageous in gout and arthritic conditions. It helps in suppressing arthritic inflammation by decreasing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines which promote inflammation.
Benefits in Chronic Fever, Hay Fever and Dengue Fever:
Due to its antipyretic activity, Giloy helps in managing various types of fever. It also helps increase the platelet counts which may drop below normal during dengue fever. It increases the activities of macrophages and leukocytes (white blood cells) which help fight foreign bodies and micro-organisms leading to speedy recovery during fever, sepsis or similar conditions (Bapat et al, 1995). Giloy also helps in reducing symptoms like sneezing, nasal itching, nasal discharge and nasal obstructions in allergic rhinitis or hay fever. (Badar et al, 2005)
Maintains gut health and aids in digestion
Giloy may provide minor relief from bloating, flatulence and abdominal distension due to its anti-flatulent property. Giloy is also seen to be beneficial in gastritis.
Benefits for asthmatic patients
Giloy can help in reducing symptoms of asthma like chest tightness, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, etc and help bring relief to these patients.
Home Remedies of Giloy
Since the Giloy plant is easily accessible and has so many benefits, several home remedies claiming relief from general symptoms have also proliferated. These are not based on evidence but anecdotal instances. You may try the below preparations to see if they provide any visible difference to your condition:
For hair fall and skin problems
Make a fine paste of giloy leaves. You can also add honey or rose water to it. Apply it on the scalp, leave it for at least 2-3 hours and wash it with any herbal shampoo for hair conditions.
The same paste can be applied to a wound or affected area on the skin. Leave this for 2-3 hours and wash it with plain water.
For eye problems
Boil some giloy leaves in water. Let this water cool for some time and apply the same on eyelids. Wait for 10-15 minutes and wash your eyes with lukewarm water.
For blemishes and hyperpigmentation
Mix one fourth to half a teaspoon of giloy powder with milk and apply on the affected skin. Use this mixture 2-3 times a week.
For wrinkles and dryness of skin
Mix one to two teaspoons of giloy juice with honey and apply it on the skin evenly. Use this mixture 2-3 times a week.
Side Effects of Giloy
- Although giloy does not have any direct side effects or contraindications, certain precautions should still be taken into consideration while using it.
- In diabetic conditions, if the patients are already on anti-diabetic medications, the use of giloy may further lower the blood sugar.
- Physician consultation is a must if one is allergic to giloy or any of its constituents.
Short term use of giloy under supervised conditions is always advisable.
The giloy plant can be called an ayurvedic wonder. With its plethora of health benefits, this herb has the potential to improve the general quality of life of people. Various homemade recipes with giloy make it easy and convenient to use this wonder herb. Certain precautions should be kept in mind while using giloy while overuse should be avoided.
Author: Dr. Pooja Nilgar (Content writer & Editor)
Castillo, A. L., Osi, M. O., Ramos, J. D., De Francia, J. L., Dujunco, M. U., & Quilala, P. F. (2013). Efficacy and safety of Tinospora cordifolia lotion in Sarcoptes scabiei var hominis-infected pediatric patients: A single blind, randomized controlled trial. Journal of pharmacology & pharmacotherapeutics, 4(1), 39–46. https://doi.org/10.4103/0976-500X.107668
Chi, S., She, G., Han, D., Wang, W., Liu, Z., & Liu, B. (2016). Genus Tinospora: Ethnopharmacology, Phytochemistry, and Pharmacology. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2016, 9232593. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/9232593
Badar VA, Thawani VR, Wakode PT, Shrivastava MP, Gharpure KJ, Hingorani LL, Khiyani RM. Efficacy of Tinospora cordifolia in allergic rhinitis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan 15;96(3):445-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2004.09.034. Epub 2004 Nov 23. PMID: 15619563.
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