Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) is a plant that has been historically used in Ayurvedic medicine for its adaptogenic and immune-supportive properties. A deciduous shrub from the Indian subcontinent, guduchi is Sanskrit for one that “protects the entire body.” Guduchi contains more than 200 constituents, with many supportive aspects on human health, including the support of healthy allergenic and inflammatory responses.
Clinical researchers have begun to explore the potentially supportive role of guduchi on the allergic response. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial assessed individuals with allergic rhinitis for the effects of supplementation with guduchi. Allergic rhinitis is one of the most common atopic pathologies and suggests a hypersensitive response, often due to exposure to allergens such as pollens, dust, dander, and certain foods. The treatment arm received 300 mg of guduchi extract three times daily for 8 weeks. At the end of the study, 83% of the participants in the treatment arm experienced total relief from sneezing. As a comparison, 79% of the placebo group experienced no relief from sneezing. The treatment arm showed complete resolution of nasal discharge in 69% of participants as compared to 3% in the placebo group. Similar results were reported for clearing of nasal obstruction and nasal pruritus. In addition, a significant increase in total leukocyte count was observed in the treatment arm but not in the placebo group. Guduchi was reported to be well-tolerated in this study.
Another study assessed the potential modulation of the inflammatory response related to asthma in the presence of guduchi in murine models. The oxidative stress in asthma-induced mice was shown to decrease in multiple markers in the presence of guduchi. Supplementation with guduchi was shown to increase superoxide dismutase, glutathione, and catalase, and it was also shown to decrease levels of malondialdehyde, an end product of lipid peroxidation. Guduchi was shown to modulate levels of nuclear factor kappa B and to downregulate inducible nitric oxide, cyclooxyrgenase 2, intercellular adhesion molecule 1, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and interleukin-4. Guduchi may have also attenuated the increase in eosinophils normally observed in asthma-induced murine populations. It was also shown that supplementation with guduchi did not exhibit adverse effects on liver and kidney function marker enzymes. Laboratory studies suggest that some constituents of guduchi, such as beta, alpha, and alpha-D-glucans, may influence the immune response through their effects on natural killer cells, T cells, and B cells.
Guduchi is a botanical that may support health in multiple ways. Further clinical research of guduchi with larger sample sizes and a wider variety of pathologies still need to be conducted. However, there is promise that guduchi may support a healthy allergic response to oxidative stress and inflammation.
By Colleen Ambrose, ND, MAT