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Gulvel – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, Precautions & More

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Introduction: 

Gulvel is a medicinal plant with various properties of therapeutic importance. It belongs to the family Menispermaceae and scientifically it is called Tinospora cordifolia. It is a deciduous shrub commonly called “Guduchi” in Sanskrit. 1 

The plant has heart-shaped leaves with greenish-yellow flowers. It grows in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the globe, of these the African and Asian continents are abundant with Tinospora cordifolia3 In traditional medicine, the extracts from all the parts of the plant are used including the root, stem, and leaf (aerial part) of the plant. 4  

Other Names of Gulvel

It has various other names like 

  • gilo in Punjabi
  • guluchi in Oriya
  • gulvel in Marathi
  •  chittamrutu in Malayalam
  • amrita in Kashmiri
  • gulancha in Bengali 
  • gurcha in Hindi
  • garo in Gujarati2 

Nutritional Value of Gulvel: 

100 g of T. cordifolia provides 292.54 kcal of energy. 5 

Therapeutic Uses of Gulvel: 

Gulvel is genetically diverse with many biologically active compounds, like alkaloids, glycosides, steroids, phenolics, aliphatic compounds, polysaccharides, and lactones, isolated from the roots, stem, and leaves give it its varied medicinal properties which include the following.1 

  • Effect on immunity (immunomodulatory property) 
  • Anti-toxin property 
  • Anti-diabetic property 
  • Antioxidant property 
  • Antiarthritic property 
  • Anticancer property 
  • Antimicrobial property 
  • Anti-inflammatory property  
  • Protective effect on the liver  

Benefits of Gulvel for the Brain: 

Benefits of Gulvel for Depression: 

  • Depression is a disease marked by low mood and low levels of chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
  • Traditionally, gulvel has been in use to treat depression in people. 
  • Animal studies have shown that the plant has antidepressant effects.
  • The chemical berberine present in the plant is responsible for this action and further research is needed for its use in people.6 

Benefits of Gulvel for Learning and Memory: 

  • In Ayurveda, gulvel is referred to as “Medhya Rasayana” which means it is a learning and memory enhancer.
  • Many animal and human studies have shown benefits in improving learning and memory.
  • Children with mental disorders too have shown a response to gulvel. This property of gulvel has potential for further fruitful research.7 

Benefits of Gulvel for Stress: 

Traditionally, the extract from the roots of gulvel is used to treat stress. Many animal studies have demonstrated how the extract is effective as an anti-stress agent and more research is needed for their use in humans for the same.6 

Benefits of Gulvel for Infections: 

  • Gulvel is used to treat infections of various kinds like diarrhoea, ear infection, urinary tract infection (UTI), infection of tonsils, and tuberculosis (lung infection).
  • In diarrhoea, it is useful due to its antispasmodic property (relaxes gut muscles) . 
  • Apart from these actions, it proves to be effective in infections because of its immunomodulatory and antioxidant properties.6 

Benefits of Gulvel for Fever: 

Gulvel is useful in treating fever due to infections owing to its immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and antioxidant properties.6,7 

Benefits of Gulvel for the Gut:  

  • Gulvel is useful in diarrhoea, dysentery, dyspepsia, bloating, flatulence, and in cases of abdominal pain due to its antispasmodic action (relaxes gut muscles).
  • While in the case of ulcers it makes the gastric fluid less acidic which has been demonstrated in animal studies and more studies in humans are needed.6 

Benefits of Gulvel for the Genitourinary system:  

  • Traditionally, gulvel has been used in urinary tract infections as it has the ability to dissolve stones, make the urine more alkaline, and has a diuretic effect (that is it can increase urine formation).
  • It affects the immune process, and possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • All these effects have been demonstrated in animal studies and have potential use in humans.7 

Benefits of Gulvel for the Reproductive System: 

In Ayurveda, it is claimed to treat infertility by preventing impotence, but studies have shown results otherwise.7 

Benefits of Gulvel for Diabetes:  

  • In Ayurveda, it is used to treat high blood sugar (diabetes), as it has the property to lower blood sugar. 
  • Animal studies have proven this property of the plant. Further studies need for its application for the same in people.6 

Also Read: Diet For Gestational Diabetes

Benefits of Gulvel for Joints and Bones:  

  • Osteoporosis is a condition where there is bone mass loss making the person prone to fractures.
  • Arthritis is inflammation of the joints causing pain and restriction in movement.
  • In animal studies, gulvel has showed slowing of bone loss.
  • Owing to its anti-inflammatory property it may be used to treat osteoporosis and arthritis.6,7 

Benefits of Gulvel for the Lungs:  

  • Bronchial asthma is an allergic condition where the person experiences episodes of difficulty in breathing, wheezing and cough.
  • Due to its immunomodulatory property as demonstrated in animal studies, gulvel is useful in allergies and in bronchial asthma.
  • It is used in hay fever, while more research is needed for its use in bronchial asthma.6,7 

Benefits of Gulvel for Skin and Leprosy:  

  • In Ayurvedic texts, gulvel is referred to as “Kushtahara”, which means it can treat leprosy.
  • It has demonstrated antileprotic activity in studies too.6 
  • Gulvel has wound healing properties and isuseful for treating minor cuts.8 

Benefits of Gulvel for Snake and Scorpion Bite:  

Its use is mentioned in texts for snake and scorpion bites owing to its anti-toxin, immune modulation, and antioxidant properties.1,6,7 

Benefits of Gulvel for the Liver:  

  • Gulvel has protective action on the liver and is useful in conditions like anaemia, jaundice, inflammation of the liver. 
  • It helps in reducing liver toxicities cause by drugs used against tuberculosis infections.6,7 

Also Read: 7 Signs of Liver Stress

Benefits of Gulvel in Cancer:  

  • Animal studies have shown that extracts of gulvel slow the growth of tumours and increase life span.
  • It can offer an alternative to invasive surgeries along with radiation therapy in patients with cancer.7 

How to Use Gulvel? 

The roots, stem, and leaves (aerial parts) of gulvel are used. Usually, the root is powdered and either a decoction is made or it is mixed in milk before consumption. The stem and leaves are made into a paste and then eaten orally as or in the form of juice.7 

Side Effects of Gulvel: 

Gulvel is usually safe when used for short periods of time and any ill effects of long-term use are not known. More studies exploring its safety need to be done.6,9 

Also Read: Chirata – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Precautions to Take with Gulvel:  

Conditions that warrant caution when gulvel is to be used are as follows: 

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding  

There is a lack of evidence for safe use of gulvel in pregnancy and during breastfeeding. Therefore, avoid the use and always consult a gynaecologist before any such use. 

Autoimmune Disease  

Due to its immune-modulating property, it is seen to boost immunity. It may aggravate autoimmune diseases where the immunity is already hyperactive e.g., Grave’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.10,11 

Diabetes  

Gulvel has blood sugar lowering properties. Therefore, caution is to be exercised before taking gulvel if a person is already on antidiabetic drugs.9 

Also Read: Chamomile – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

The following herb-drug interactions are possible:  

Immunosuppressants  

Due to its immune-modulating property, it inhibits the immunosuppression produced by immunosuppressants like cyclophosphamide. Gulvel should be avoided when an individual is on immunosuppressants, for example, in organ transplant patients, patients undergoing cancer therapy, etc.11 

Antidiabetic Drugs  

Due to its blood sugar lowering property it has shown beneficial effects when added along with the anti-diabetic medication. The overall blood sugar lowering effect is higher and caution must be exercised while taking gulvel.9 

Also Read: Black Salt – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) What is Gulvel Called in Hindi? 

Gulvel is referred to as gurcha in Hindi. 

2) What is the Benefit of Gulvel Vanaspati? 

Gulvel is mainly used for fever, hay fever, small cuts, diarrhoea, acidity, bloating, flatulence, anaemia, jaundice, and urinary tract infections. It also has anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-depressant, learning and memory-enhancing, anti-osteoporotic and anti-arthritic properties which need more research.6,7 

3) Is Gulvel Safe? 

Yes, it is mostly safe but there is not enough safety data available.6,9 

References: 

  1. Soham Saha, Shyamasree Ghosh; Tinospora cordifolia: One plant, many roles. Anc Sci Life. 2012 Apr-Jun; 31 (4); 151-159. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3644751/  
  1. Saeed Muhammad, Naveed Muhammad; Using Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) as an eco-friendly food supplement in human and poultry nutrition. 2020Poultry Science. 2019 October; 99();801-811. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338067841_Using_Guduchi_Tinospora_cordifolia_as_an_ecofriendly_food_supplement_in_human_and_poultry_nutrition/citation/download    
  1. Dinesh Kumar V, Geethanjali B; Tinospora cordifolia: The Antimicrobial Property of the Leaves of Amruthaballi. Journal of Bacteriology & Mycology. 2017 November; 5(5); 1-10. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-heart-shaped-leaves-of-Tinospora cordifolia_fig1_323871150  
  1. Avnish K. Upadhyay, Kaushal Kumar; Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Hook. f. and Thoms. (Guduchi) – validation of the Ayurvedic pharmacology through experimental and clinical studies. Int J Ayurveda Res. 2010 Apr-Jun; 1(2); 112-121. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2924974/  
  1. Shivraj H. Nile, C.N.N.Khobragade; Determination of Nutritive Value and Mineral Elements of some Important Medicinal Plants from Western Part of India. Journal of Medicinal Plants. 2009 Feb; 8 (5); 79-88. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232042175_Determination_of_nutritive_value_and_mineral_elements_of_some_important_medicinal_plants_from_western_part_of_India   
  1. Madhav Mutalik, Maitreyee Mutalik; Tinospora cordifolia and its varied activities: what is believed and what is known. ijcrr. 2011 October; 3(12); 94-109. Available from: https://ijcrr.com/uploads/2025_pdf.pdf  
  1. Avnish K. Upadhyay, Kaushal Kumar; Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Hook. f. and Thoms. (Guduchi) – validation of the Ayurvedic pharmacology through experimental and clinical studies. Int Ayurveda Res. 2010 Apr-Jun; 1(2); 112-121. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2924974/  
  1. C. Barua, A. Talukdar; Evaluation of the wound healing activity of methanolic extract of Azadirachta indica (neem) and Tinospora cordifolia (guduchi) in rats. Pharmacologyonline. 2010; 1 (); 70-77. Available from: https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/EVALUATION-OF-THE-WOUND-HEALING-ACTIVITY-OF-EXTRACT-Barua Talukdar/ 3a2972eaeec8e 8d1daf3dbb31fa40f24a2e875b2?p2df  
  1. Rohit Sharma, Hetal Amin; Antidiabetic claims of Tinospora cordifolia (Wild) Miers: critical appraisal and role in therapy. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. 2014 Sep; 5 (1); 68-78. Available from: https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S2221169115301738?token=9B06115C623827B87D9D7E567297936E61F18BD47650CC8B071F151CA6D8D85F22F3CFFBD4D20B472E22DCF0A49C6ADB&originRegion=eu-west-1&originCreation=20220118132356  
  1. A. Kapil, S. Sharma; Immunopotentiating compounds from Tinospora cordifolia. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 1997 August; 58 (); 89-95. Available from: https://sci-hub.hkvisa.net/10.1016/s0378-8741(97)00086-x  
  1. P.N. Manjrekar, C. I. Jolly; Comparative studies of the immunomodulatory activity of Tinospora cordifolia and Tinospora sinensis. Fitoterapia. 2000 Jun; 71 (3); 254-257. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10844163/  

Also Read: Sarpagandha – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions





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