Tinospora cordifolia, which is also known as giloya, heart-shaped moonseed, and gaduchi, is a plant from the moonseed family that is native to India and Bangladesh. This plant is not that well known here in the United Kingdom, and in this guide, we’ll try and pick apart the reasons why.
Is Tinospora cordifolia a criminally underrated herb that possesses a wealth of health benefits, or does it pale in comparison to more popular herbs like saw palmetto and spices like fenugreek and cardamom?
Health Benefits of Tinospora Cordifolia
Tinospora cordifolia has been used for hundreds of years as a traditional medicine, much like ashwagandha and holy basil, both of which we have covered before and both of which have a wealth of evidence to support their health benefits.
Tinospora cordifolia doesn’t have the same evidence behind it, but there have been a few interesting studies completed that shed light on some of the claims made about this plant, claims that we have discussed in more detail below.
It Can Probably Help with Cancer
A lot of grand claims have been made about the supposed benefits of Tinospora cordifolia, but the only one that actually has competent research behind it is the claim that it can be used in the treatment and prevention of cancers.
A 2019 study found that it could “potentially” help in the treatment of neural cancers, and similar studies have recorded potential benefits in the treatment of breast and colon cancer, to name just a few. However, as with all anti-cancer benefits, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean giloya can prevent or cure the disease. (1) (2) (3)
Consuming giloya every day might help reduce the risk, and there’s a chance that consuming it along with other medicines and herbs can help treat some of the symptoms and even reduce the size of tumours. However, the same could be said for many herbs and plants due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Many substances that can reduce inflammation will exhibit positive symptoms when tested in a controlled environment. But it’s a whole other story to go from that to something that can present with the same benefits in the human body following moderate doses.
It is an Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory
The aforementioned benefit goes hand-in-hand with this one, as it’s likely the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that give this plant its anti-cancer properties. But that’s not the only way these compounds can help
Antioxidants work wonders in the body, eliminating free radicals that may otherwise cause harm. These compounds are far from rare, though, and can be found in pretty much all plants, with the highest concentrations in things like green tea, white tea, fermented tea, and many everyday herbs and spices like rosemary and tarragon.
It May Help Lower Blood Sugar
Giloya is contraindicated in diabetes medication, as it may help lower blood pressure, which means consumption needs to be monitored closely in diabetic patients. However, it’s worth noting that giloya has not been studied long-term in patients with pre-existing medical conditions, diabetes included, so there’s no knowing just how safe or effective it is.
It May Help Support Your Immune System
Giloya is also contraindicated for immunosuppressant drugs, and caution is advised in individuals with autoimmune diseases, as it may help support the immune system, making it more active. May is the key word here, as there isn’t a great deal of evidence out there, but the research that does exist is promising.
This traditional medicine has also been used in the treatment of hay fever, and this is one of the most common uses for it today.
It Probably Won’t Help with Cognitive Decline
In the past, we have discussed the potential neurological benefits of herbs like gingko biloba and ginseng, as well as our flagship product Sideritis Scardica, which has appeared in revolutionary studies on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Some of the same benefits have been linked to giloya, but unlike the aforementioned substances, there is no evidence to back these up. Marginal improvements in quality of sleep and memory loss have been noted when those issues are linked to dietary or environmental factors, but this is likely the result of its anti-inflammatory properties, which means the same benefits, if not better, would be provided by other common herbs and plants.
Other Benefits of Tinospora Cordifolia
A simple google search for the health benefits of giloya or gaduchi will elicit a wealth of responses discussing apparent “proven” benefits relating to everything from anti-cancer effects to libido and testosterone boosting.
For the most part, these effects don’t have any actual scientific research behind them. That’s not to say that giloya doesn’t offer these benefits, but that there is nothing to prove it does.
Tinospora cordifolia has been used for centuries in traditional medicinal practices, and advocates swear by its ability to cure a host of diseases.
The same has been said for many other medicines that turned out to be just as amazing as traditional practitioners believed. For instance, the ancient Greeks were big fans of sideritis and praised the healing abilities of honey, and we now know that both of these substances are just as miraculous as the ancients believed.
Several modern medicines were also used by ancient civilisations in China, South America, North America, and pretty much everywhere else. However, at the same time, the Chinese believed that rhino horn possessed incredible properties, Europeans used mercury to treat skin and digestive diseases, and countless civilisations swore by practices like bloodletting.
The ancients got it wrong many more times than they got it right, and on some occasions, the substances they used were more likely to kill you than save you. So, don’t assume that a plant is magical just because it was claimed to be so by a long-gone civilisation.
Bottom Line: Interesting, but not Exciting
While giloya is interesting and worthy of more research, there are many more notable substances out there deserving of your time. The likes of milk thistle and cistus incanus have years of strong research behind them and are safe even with daily consumption.
Every benefit claimed to be offered by giloya can be found with other herbs, ones that have more research behind them and are more abundantly available. In other words, your money may be better spent elsewhere.