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Guduchi has a protective nature, and will encourage regeneration throughout the body


Tinospora cordifolia Menispermaceae

Guduchi is described as ‘the one who protects the body’. ‘Amrita’ means ‘divine nectar’ referring to the life restoring drops that Lord Indra sprinkled from heaven to bring life back to the devotees of Lord Rama after they were slain in battle. Its therapeutic strength lies in its rejuvenating and strengthening properties while also detoxifying and cleansing the whole system, specifically via the liver.

Sustainability Status

Sustainability status

Not currently on risk lists but complete data may be missing on the status of the species. Read more about our sustainability guide.

Key benefits
  • Detoxifying and cleansing
  • Strengthens the liver
  • Regulates blood sugar level
  • How does it feel?

    The guduchi plant is native to India and can be found growing throughout the country. It is a large vine-like plant that produces a loose grey bark along the stem when it is mature. The leaves are a characteristic heart shape, its flowers are very small and spike-like with a green-yellow colouring. Guduchi fruits are a deep, glossy red and spherical in shape.

  • What can I use it for?

    Guduchi has demonstrated the ability to activate macrophage and antibody production, stimulate tumour necrosis factor and also increase phagocytosis within the immune system. Guduchi acts as an immune system modulator and is indicated in conditions of an autoimmune origin.

    Guduchi directly affects the liver and hepatocytes. It encourages hepatocyte regeneration, thereby improving liver function where there has been damage due to abuse or chronic illness.

    Guduchi encourages regulation of the blood sugar, directly lowering blood glucose making it specific for hypoglycaemia.

  • Into the heart of guduchi

    Guduchi plants have the ability to regenerate from any part of the stem that is re-planted. It is this perpetuating nature of guduchi that is so central to its rejuvenating qualities. It has very interesting energetics. It is bitter, astringent, pungent, yet heating and also sweet post digestively. In Ayurveda, its bitter and astringent quality clears pitta and kapha, its heating energy burns toxins whilst its enduring sweet effect regulates vata  and gives it an aphrodisiac quality that nourishes reproductive fluids.

    Guduchi has a protective nature, and will encourage regeneration throughout the body, with a particular focus upon the liver and the immune system. It achieves rejuvenation by first encouraging effective cleansing and detoxification. It removes toxic congestion and inflammation that may be worsening chronic inflammatory or degenerative conditions. It has the ability to remove toxicity without destabilising or weakening the rest of the body. By improving liver detoxification processes, guduchi also acts as an alterative, improving overall blood quality. Through encouraging a healthier blood supply, guduchi positively impacts upon skin quality, blood based disorders or deficiencies and chronic inflammatory conditions of the musculoskeletal system.

    Guduchi is indicated in liver damage, viral hepatitis and poisoning from alcohol, chemicals or recreational and medicinal drugs. It is useful in repairing fibrosis and regenerating liver tissue. It is also a useful addition whenever the liver needs protecting from hepatotoxic medications.

    Indicated in gout, arthritis, and other inflammatory joint conditions. It acts by clearing accumulated toxins and uric acid via the urinary system.

    Guduchi is an excellent choice for all auto-immune diseases influencing inflammation. It is indicated in degenerative diseases such as cancer, AIDS and arthritis through its ability to boost immune system functioning.

    Indicated in supperative and inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, Systemic Lupus Erythmatosus and ‘burning’ sensations on the skin. Skin problems that have arised from excessive alcohol, recreational drug and pharmaceutical drug use may also indicate the use of Guduchi.

    Guduchi will heal a bowel affected with constipation, intestinal bleeding, haemorrhoids or dysentery. It is useful at redressing intestinal floral imbalance with candida-like symptoms such as bloating, flatulence and malabsorption, through its cleansing and detoxifying nature.

    Guduchi regulates blood sugar levels benefiting diabetes and hypoglycaemia. Guduchi is also very calming to the nervous system soothing nervous irritation, influenced by congestion.

    Guduchi’s ability to clear toxicity, and therefore excess heat, indicates it in sexual dysfunctions caused by hyper-heat conditions and is often used in formulas for male sexual dysfunction.

  • Traditional actions

  • Traditional energetic actions

    Herbal energetics are the descriptions Herbalists have given to plants, mushrooms, lichens, foods, and some minerals based on the direct experience of how they taste, feel, and work in the body. All traditional health systems use these principles to explain how the environment we live in and absorb, impacts our health. Find out more about traditional energetic actions in our article “An introduction to herbal energetics“.

  • Did you know?

    Guduchi is a virile creeper that grows throughout the forests of India and Sri Lanka. Guduchi plants found growing up Neem trees are said to be the best as the synergy between these two bitter plants enhances Guduchi’s efficacy.

Additional information

  • Interactions

    No drug herb interactions are known.

  • Dosage

    1–15g/day in a decoction or 3–15ml/day of a 1:3 in 25% tincture

Guduchi illustration
An ‘aromatic’ remedy, high in volatile essential oils, was most often associated with calming and sometimes ‘warming’ the digestion. Most kitchen spices and herbs have this quality: they were used both as flavouring and to ease the digestion of sometimes challenging pre-industrial foods. Many aromatics are classed as ‘carminatives’ and are used to reduce colic, bloating and agitated digestion. They also often feature in respiratory remedies for colds, chest and other airway infections. They are also classic calming inhalants and massage oils, and are the basis of aromatherapy for their mental benefits.
Astringent taste
The puckering taste you get with many plants (the most familiar is black tea after being stewed too long, or some red wines) is produced by complex polyphenols such as tannins. Tannins are used in concentrated form (eg from oak bark) to make leather from animal skins. The process of ‘tanning’ involves the coagulation of relatively fluid proteins in living tissues into tight clotted fibres (similar to the process of boiling an egg). Tannins in effect turn exposed surfaces on the body into leather. In the case of the lining of mouth and upper digestive tract this is only temporary as new mucosa are replenished, but in the meantime can calm inflamed or irritated surfaces. In the case of open wounds tannins can be a life-saver – when strong (as in the bark of broadleaved trees) they can seal a damaged surface. One group of tannins, the reddish-brown ‘condensed tannins’ are procyanidins, which can reduce inflammation and oxidative damage.
Bitters are a very complex group of phytochemicals that stimulate the bitter receptors in the mouth. They were some of the most valuable remedies in ancient medicine. They were experienced as stimulating appetite and switching on a wide range of key digestive functions, including increasing bile clearance from the liver (as bile is a key factor in bowel health this can be translated into improving bowel functions and the microbiome). Many of these reputations are being supported by new research on the role of bitter receptors in the mouth and elsewhere round the body. Bitters were also seen as ‘cooling’ reducing the intensity of some fevers and inflammatory diseases.
Blue-purple colouring
Any fruits with a blue-purple colouring contain high levels of the polyphenols known as anthocyanins. These work 1) on the walls of small blood vessels, helping to maintain capillary structure to reduce a key stage in inflammation, and improving the microcirculation to the tissues; 2) to improve retinal function and vision; 3) to support connective tissue repair around the body.
Traditional ‘cold’ or cooling’ remedies often contain bitter phytonutrients such a iridoids (gentian), sesiquterpenes (chamomile), anthraquinones (rhubarb root), mucilages (marshmallow), some alkaloids and flavonoids. They tend to influence the digestive system, liver and kidneys. Cooling herbs do just that; they diffuse, drain and clear heat from areas of inflammation, redness and irritation. Sweet, bitter and astringent herbs tend to be cooling.
Traditional ‘hot’ or ‘heating’ remedies, often containing spice ingredients like capsaicin, the gingerols (ginger), piperine (black or long pepper), curcumin (turmeric) or the sulfurous isothiocyanates from mustard, horseradich or wasabi, generate warmth when taken. In modern times this might translate as thermogenic and circulatory stimulant effects. There is evidence of improved tissue blood flow with such remedies: this would lead to a reduction in build-up of metabolites and tissue damage. Heating remedies were used to counter the impact of cold, reducing any symptoms made worse in the cold. .
Mucilages are complex carbohydrate based plant constituents with a slimy or ‘unctuous’ feel especially when chewed or macerated in water. Their effect is due simply to their physical coating exposed surfaces. From prehistory they were most often used as wound remedies for their soothing and healing effects on damaged tissues. Nowadays they are used more for these effects on the digestive lining, from the throat to the stomach, where they can relieve irritation and inflammation such as pharyngitis and gastritis. Some of the prominent mucilaginous remedies like slippery elm, aloe vera and the seaweeds can be used as physical buffers to reduce the harm and pain caused by reflux of excess stomach acid. Mucilages are also widely used to reduce dry coughing. Here the effect seems to be by reflex through embryonic nerve connections: reduced signals from the upper digestive wall appear to translate as reduced activity of airway muscles and increased activity of airway mucus cells. Some seed mucilages, such as in psyllium seed, flaxseed (linseed) or guar bean survive digestion to provide bulking laxative effects in the bowel. These can also reduce rate of absorption of sugar and cholesterol. .
New-mown hay aroma
The familiar country odour of haymaking, of drying grass and other plants, is largely produced by coumarins (originally isolated from tonka beans – in French coumarou) and widely used in perfumery. They are chemically categorised as benzopyrone lactones and are important phytochemicals, with strong antioxidant activity in the laboratory and likely effects in modulating inflammation. They were most often associated with the calming effect linked to their use in stuffing mattresses and pillows and plants, high In coumarins were commonly used for these properties.
Resins are most familiar as tacky discharges from pine trees (and as the substance in amber, and rosin for violin bows). They were most valued however as the basis of ancient commodities like frankincense and myrrh (two of the three gifts of the Three Wise Men to the baby Jesus) and getting access to their source was one benefit to Solomon for marrying the Queen of Sheba (now Ethiopia). Resins were the original antiseptic remedies, ground and applied as powders or pastes to wounds or inflamed tissues, and were also used for mummification. With alcohol distillation it was found that they could be dissolved in 90% alcohol and in this form they remain a most powerful mouthwash and gargle, for infected sore throats and gum disease. They never attracted much early research interest because they permanently coat expensive glassware! For use in the mouth, gums and throat hey are best combined with concentrated licorice extracts to keep the resins in suspension and add extra soothing properties. It appears that they work both as local antiseptics and by stimulating white blood cell activity under the mucosal surface. They feel extremely effective!
The salty flavour is immediately distinctive. A grain dropped onto the tongue is instantly moistening and a sprinkle on food enkindles digestion. This easily recognisable flavour has its receptors right at the front of the tongue. The salty flavor creates moisture and heat, a sinking and heavy effect which is very grounding for the nervous system and encourages stability. People who are solid and reliable become known as ‘the salt of the earth'.
The sharp taste of some fruits, and almost all unripe fruits, as well as vinegar and fermented foods, is produced by weak acids (the taste is generated by H+ ions from acids stimulating the sour taste buds). Sour taste buds are hard-wired to generate immediate reflex responses elsewhere in the body. Anyone who likes the refreshing taste of lemon or other citrus in the morning will know that one reflex effect is increased saliva production. Other effects are subjective rather than confirmed by research but there is a consistent view that they include increased digestive activity and contraction of the gallbladder.
In the days when most people never tasted sugar, ‘sweetness’ was associated with the taste of basic foods: that of cooked vegetables, cereals and meat. In other words sweet was the quality of nourishment, and ‘tonic’ remedies. Describing a remedy as sweet generally led to that remedy being used in convalescence or recovery from illness. Interestingly, the plant constituents most often found in classic tonics like licorice, ginseng are plant steroids including saponins, which also have a sweet taste.

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