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Tinospora cordifolia is a vine that is native to the tropical forests of India. It is classified in the plant family Menispermaceae and is commonly referred to as guduchi. The plant contains several chemical compounds that have medicinal value including tinosporone and tinosporic acid. Tinospora cordifolia is commonly used to treat liver damage in certain systems of herbal medicine such as Ayurveda in India and Jamu in Indonesia. Typically, the roots, stems, and leaves of the plant are prepared as a liquid extract or pill.
Unlike drugs, herbal medicines are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Short term use of Tinospora cordifolia is considered relatively safe, while the effects of long term use of the herbal medicine have not been established. The recommended doses of Tinospora cordifolia vary depending on the manufacturer. Based on the research, 300 mg of Tinospora cordifolia aqueous stem extract, taken three times daily for eight weeks has been shown to treat the symptoms of hay fever.
There is concern regarding herbal medicines because of their unexpected interactions with prescription medications or alcohol. In the case of T. cordifolia, the primary concern is with diabetic medications. T. cordifolia is known to affect the level of sugar in the blood. Typically, the blood sugar level is lowered after consuming the plant supplement. When taken in combination with diabetic medications, the blood sugar level may decrease to unhealthy levels.
T. cordifolia also interacts with medications that suppress the actions of the immune system. Since the chemicals in T. cordifolia work to increase the immune system response, it may reduce the activity of immunosuppressants such as azathioprine and basiliximab. The best way to avoid complications is to inform the doctor when T. cordifolia supplements are used to treat ailments.
The medicinal plant may cause more harm than good in individuals with certain medical conditions. This includes autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis. T. cordifolia may increase the immune response in these diseases, which can lead to more severe symptoms. Also, individual who have diabetes or a scheduled surgery may have adverse reactions to Tinospora cordifolia. In addition, pregnant and nursing mothers should not take the herbal medicine since its effects on the unborn child are unknown.
Most of the beneficial properties of T. cordifolia are due to its antioxidant and immune boosting effects. The damaging effects of reactive oxygen molecules, known as free radicals, are reduced by the chemicals in T. cordifolia. Also, in laboratory tests, T. cordifolia has been shown to reduce growth of some types of cancer.