Although giloy, the common name for Tinospora cordifolia, has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine, it is relatively new in the Western world. In ayurvedic medicine, giloy is believed to affect the body's reproductive system, blood and fat. Although it has been used to treat a variety of conditions, from gout to jaundice to tuberculosis, only a few of these uses are currently supported by scientific evidence.
The giloy plant is a deciduous climbing plant that is native to Southeast Asia and tropical regions of India. The stems are most commonly used for medicinal purposes, although the roots and starch extract can also be used, and it is available in powder or capsule form. Giloy is commonly referred to as guduchi, heart-leaved moonseed, amrit and ambrosia. In ayurveda, giloy is used to treat acute infections and as a digestive aid, aphrodisiac and diuretic.
A study published in "Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine" demonstrated that giloy may help prevent negative side effects of radiation treatment. The experiment, which was conducted on adult male mice, focused on the damaging testicular effects of radiation treatment in males. Male mice who underwent treatment with giloy and were exposed to radiation suffered from fewer testicular lesions and other negative side effects than those who were not treated with giloy. These studies suggest that giloy may be effective in preventing infertility and related problems in men who undergo radiation treatment.
Giloy may also be beneficial for people with HIV and other autoimmune disorders. Giloy's traditional use as an immune stimulant led researchers to study its effects on patients with HIV. In a study published in the "Indian Journal of Pharmacology," 60 percent of HIV patients who received giloy treatment reported a decrease in disease-related symptoms, as opposed to only 20 percent who received placebo treatment. This study suggests that giloy may improve the immune systems of patients with HIV and other immune disorders, while also alleviating common side effects of these conditions.
Giloy is not approved by the Federal Drug Administration, and like other herbal treatments as well as medications, it may produce side effects such as constipation. Additionally, you should consult your doctor before using giloy if you have any health conditions or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The Chopra Center recommends taking giloy for one week to prevent cold or flu infection. Once again, always discuss dosages with a doctor or medical professional if you have any health concerns.