Featured photo: Tinospora cordifolia plant with fruits Photo: Sudhir Ahluwalia

Tinospora cordifolia (common Ayurvedic name: Guduchi) is a climbing deciduous shrub found growing in tropical South Asia and China. As is the case with most plants, it is not exclusive to one country as many people may imagine.

It is well-regarded in Ayurveda for its adaptogenic, youth-enhancing, and longevity-providing properties. It is therefore also named Amrita, which in Sanskrit would roughly translate into youth and longevity. It is popular with Ayurveda physicians, who recommend it often. Many formulations containing Tinospora cordifolia are available in the Indian market. Sale of these medicines, as mentioned earlier, is not permitted in the United States.

The plant, in conjunction with other herbs, is extensively used in Ayurveda to treat a range of ailments. Its immunomodulatory and cytotoxic properties that are relevant to cancer treatment have been extensively documented. But as in other herbs, formal clinical trials that would unequivocally validate the anticancer potential of the herb are lacking. The effect of the plant extracts was observed to be comparable or better than doxorubicin, which is a chemotherapy medicine.

I would classify this plant as a foundational herbal medicinal plant. A drug could in the future be developed from this plant.

To know more about this and other plants and herbs you can check in the selection of books here.

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