The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the majority of population across the globe with positive cases and fatalities increasing on a daily basis. In India, the caseload is significantly high as compared to other countries. Since the start of the pandemic, enormous efforts are being carried out by the scientific researchers to develop a vaccine. As vaccine is still a long way off, the Government of India along with the ministry of Ayush has stressed on the importance of building and strengthening the immune system of masses. A traditional Indian system of health like, Ayurveda emphasizes the ways in which you can strengthen your body’s immune response. Ayurveda classics advise consumption of various herbs with rasayana properties, a specific group of immunomodulatory herbs that helps the body natural ability to overcome infections. Also, our gut health is of prime importance, since our gut and its microbiome are the main regulators of immunity, hosting about 70 per cent of our body’s immune cells. Ayurveda, in its infinite wisdom, recognised that a well-balanced gut, with the right ratio of so called ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria, is the key to a strong immune system.
The latest research findings highly upholds the importance of healthy gut micro biome as a source of balanced immunity and good health. Some plant-based prebiotics are hugely preferred as they contain a group of polysaccharides including arabinose and arabinogalactans from the stem of the Giloy/ Guduchi plant that acts as food/nutrient for good bacteria in the gut, thereby promoting a healthy microbiome in the gut, and which repopulate and restore healthy gut ecosystem. Giloy has been hailed for its medicinal properties and a host of health benefits. The scientific name of this age-old miraculous herb is Tinospora Cordifolia and it is also known as ‘Amrita’ in Sanskrit, which literally translates to ‘nectar of life’.
Ten well-documented benefits of wonderful plant Guduchi/Giloy are enumerated below:
1.Immunomodulator: Tinospora cordifolia or Giloy boosts the phagocytic activity of macrophages, which are the first line of defence in our body and plays a crucial role in innate (non-specific) and adaptive (specific) immunity. Also, it remarkably augments the production of cytokines, up-regulation of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and enhances antigen specific recall response.
2. Antioxidant: The presence of flavonoids and polyphenols in Tinospora cordifolia attributes to its free radical scavenging activity. Giloy serves as a source of nutraceuticals that alleviate the oxidative stress and helps in prevention and reduction of the chronic degenerative diseases with consequent health benefits.
3. Anti-arthritic: Tinospora cordifolia or Giloy helps to reduce joint pain and inflammation associated with arthritis by decreasing the synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines like IL-1β, IL-17 and tumor necrosis factor-α.
4. Anti-osteoporotic: Tinospora cordifolia or Giloy stimulates the growth of osteoblasts, increases the differentiation of cells into osteoblastic lineage and also improves the mineralization of bone matrix.
5. Hepatoprotective: Tinospora cordifolia or Giloy is an efficient hepatoprotective agent because of its ability to scavenge free ROS, which promotes hepatic regeneration. Giloy also increases the glutathione (GSH) level and support liver to detoxify toxic waste from body.
6. Cardioprotective: Tinospora cordifolia or Giloy modulates lipid metabolism via inhibiting glucuronide and cholesterol and also protects hearts against infarction with its antioxidant properties.
7. Neuroprotective: Tinospora cordifolia or Giloy possesses significant neuroprotective activity; it modulates the antioxidant enzyme system of brain tissue and preserve the dopaminergic neurons. Giloy also enhances cognition (learning and memory) by increasing the synthesis of acetylcholine neurotransmitter.
8. Anti-diabetic: Tinospora cordifolia or Giloy works like hypoglycemic agent; it stimulates the production of insulin secretion from the pancreas and helps to lower blood sugar levels. Giloy also improves the long term cellular insulin sensitivity that helps manage diabetes well.
9. Prevent respiratory illness: Tinospora cordifolia or Giloy has been preferred traditionally to treat ailments such as bronchitis and chronic cough. Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties it pacifies the mucous membrane of the respiratory system thereby making it very effective in respiratory issues like asthma, cough, cold and tonsils.
10. Anti-ageing: Tinospora cordifolia or Giloy is an effective anti-ageing herb. Rich in flavonoids it fight against cell damage and initiate new cell growth. It also nourishes the skin and enhances collagen production to reduce the visible signs of ageing.
The world will never be the same and we have to adopt the fact that we have to learn to live with the virus, and as a preventive aspect we have to keep our immune strong to protect ourself and fight Covid-19. Giloy is a ray of hope for all of us that can help us to keep our immune system strong.
About the author:
Chintan Gandhi is CEO and Director at Millennium Herbal Care.