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Medicinal use of Guduchi or Giloy



India is bestowed with enormous biodiversity of medicinal plants. Among them Tinospora cordifolia has a wide array of bioactive principles as well as it has been proven medicinally important plant, have not received considerable scientific attention.

Medicinal plants have been used as natural medicines. This practice has been in existence since prehistoric times. There are different ways in which plants have been found useful in medicines such as crude extract of plants has been used directly because of the presence of natural chemical constituents such as berberine, morphine, psilocin, vincristine etc. and natural compounds for the synthesis of drugs such as tubocurarine, colchicine, nicotine, quinine etc. for therapeutic purpose by folk people. Many modern medicines such as digitalis, vinblastine, aspirin, quinine and paracetamol had their origin from the natural compounds of medicinal plants viz., foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), madagascar periwinkle (Vinca rosea), willow bark (Salix spp.), quinine bark (Cinchona officinalis), respectively.

A large number of plants are being used in medicine for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes. The therapeutic properties of medicinal plants are attributed owing to the presence of active substances such as alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, vitamins, tannins, and coumarins.

These natural compounds physiologically affect the body of human beings, interact with the pathogens and interrupt their growth at different stages of development and make the body disease free. It is known as heart leaved Moonseed plant in English, Guduchi in Sanskrit and Giloy in Hindi.

Anti-Diabetic Activities

The stem of this plant is generally used to cure diabetes by regulating level of blood glucose. It has been reported to act as anti-diabetic drug through explanatory oxidative stress, promoting insulin secretion by inhibiting gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis. The anti-diabetic properties exhibited by this plant species are attributed due to the presence of alkaloids (Magnoflorine, Palmetine, Jatrorrhizine), tannins, cardiac glycosides, flavonoids, saponins, steroids etc. .

The crude extract of stem in ethyl acetate, dichloromethane, chloroform and hexane inhibits the enzymes like salivary, amylase and glucosidase resulting increase in post-prandial glucose level and shows potential activities against Diabetes mellitus disease.

The root extract of this plant has also been reported to have anti-diabetic properties which decrease the level of glycosylated haemoglobin, hydroperoxidase and vitamin E.

Immunomodulatory Activities

cordifolia is well known for its immunomodulatory response. This property has been well documented by scientists. A large variety of compounds which are responsible for immunomodulatory and cytotoxic effects are 11- hydroxymuskatone, N-methyle-2-pyrrolidone, Nformylannonain, cordifolioside A, magnoflorine, tinocordioside and syringin.

These natural compounds have been reported to improve the phagocytic activity of macrophages, enhancement in nitric acid production by stimulation of splenocyte,  and production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in human neutrophil cells.

Anti-toxic Activities

Aqueous extract of this plant has already been reported to show scavenge activity due to the presence of antioxidant against free radicals generated during aflatoxicosis. Further

alkaloids such as choline, tinosporine, isocolumbin, palmetine, tetrahydropalmatine and magnoflorine from T. cordifolia showed protection against aflatoxin induced nephrotoxicity. Furthermore T. cordifolia shows protective effect by lowering the concentration of thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) and enhancing the glutathione (GSH), ascorbic acid, protein and the activities of antioxidant enzymes viz., superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase, glutathione S-transferase (GST) and glutathione reductase (GR) in kidney.

However, leaf and stem extract of T. cordifolia has been reported to show hepatoprotective effect in male albino mice against lead nitrate induced toxicity. Similarly, oral dose of plant extract prohibited the lead nitrate induced liver damage.

Anti-HIV Activities

Root extract of this plant has been shown a decrease in the regular resistance against HIV. This anti HIV effect was exposed by reduction in eosinophil count, stimulation of B lymphocytes, macrophages, level of hemoglobin and polymorphonuclear leucocytes .

Anti-Cancer Activities:

cordifolia shows anti-cancer activity, this activity is mostly shown in animal models. Root extract of T. cordifolia has been shown radio protective role due to extensively increase in body weight, tissue weight, tubular diameter. Dichloromethane extracts of TC shows cytotoxic effects owing to lipid peroxidation and release of LDH and decline in GST . In pre-irradiating mice, root extract has widely affected radiation, induced rise in lipid peroxidation and resulted in the decline of GSH in testes. Most of the synthetic chemotherapeutic agents laid toxic side effects on the living organisms. The effect of Giloy has been reported better than doxorubicin treatment.

Anti-Microbial Activities

Methanolic extract of T. cordifolia has been reported against microbial infection. Antibacterial activity of T. cordifolia extract has been bio assayed against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumonia, Proteus vulgaris, Salmonella typhi, Shigella flexneri, Salmonella paratyphi, Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter aeruginosa, Enterobacter aerogene. Further, T. cordifolia extract has been reported against bacterial growth and improved phagocytic and intracellular bacterial capacities of neutrophils in mice.

Anti-Oxidant Activities

Methanolic extract of stem of T. cordifolia has been reported to anti-oxidant activity, by increasing the erythrocytes membrane lipid peroxide and catalase activity. It also decreases the activity of SOD, GPx in alloxan induced diabetic rats . Extract of T. cordifolia has been reported its free radical scavenging properties. Leaf extract of T. cordifolia reported to have an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor, characterized as saponarin was found to be also significant antioxidant and hydroxyl radical scavenging activity . Due to the presence of alkaloids it shows protection against aflatoxin-induced nephrotoxicity. T. cordifolia aqueous extract has a radio protective activity, enhancing the survival of mice against a sub-lethal dose of gamma radiation.


Keeping in view the above mentioned medicinal properties, this plant has been listed an important plant amongst the 32 prioritized plants by NMPB, New Delhi, Government of India.

– Source

Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies

Year: 2014, Volume: 2, Issue: 2