Indian Tinospora (Guduchi)

Indian tinospora (Tinospora cordifolia) is an immunity booster. Polysachharides in it activate immune agents like macrophages and help release signaling molecules like cytokines. The herb could also tone down allergic reactions by putting a lid on the production of histamine. By stimulating insulin production and slowing down carbohydrate digestion, it helps maintain steady blood glucose levels. It also contributes to mental well-being by modulating the levels and activity of feel good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.

When you’re looking to create a simple, daily habit that will help you feel a lot healthier, having Indian tinospora may be a good bet. Also called amrita or guduchi, the medicinal herb is loaded with compounds that power up your immune system, giving you more spring in your step.

The mature stem is the most beneficial part of the plant, though the leaves and roots contribute as well. Take a look at their components:

Why It’s So Great

1. Strengthens Immunity

Like an at-war army on the lookout for new recruits, your immune system would never say no to help from Indian tinospora. Its polysaccharides weave themselves into your body’s defense tactics, heading straight to the front line to fight off disease-causing invaders (bacteria, viruses, parasites, and anything foreign).

  • G1-4A, one such polysaccharide, binds itself to front-line immunity troopers called macrophages, activating them. The macrophages are then better able to “eat” invaders, cleaning up your system more efficiently.

Activated macrophages then send chemical signals (IL-1) to other immune cells called dendritic cells and further amplify the immune response.

  • Also stepping in, (1,4)-α-D-glucan, another polysaccharide, activates white blood cells, encouraging them to release chemical messengers called cytokines. Cytokines create SOS signals to call in immune cells from other parts of the body.

The polysaccharides may even help shuttle Indian tinospora’s alkaloids and glycosides to different parts of the body so that they can do even more good.

Basically, your body’s got all it needs to mount up a strong defense. Herbs like Indian tinospora simply helps tighten the links between them.

2. Helps Deal with Respiratory Allergies

It doesn’t matter how healthy you are; when you’re exposed to something that is not in tune with your body’s own sensibilities, like an allergen, an allergic reaction is set off by immune cells called mast cells. Mast cells secrete a chemical called histamine that then triggers allergic symptoms. Indian tinospora can help put a lid on histamine production by stabilizing mast cells. This is a blessing if you’re particularly susceptible to allergies and develop coughs, fits of sneezing, or a runny nose a little too often.

3. Stabilizes Blood Glucose

Do you think “it’s for diabetics!” every time you hear of a herb that manages blood glucose? Indian tinospora is not just for diabetics, it is for everyone who wants to help their body use energy efficiently. Remember, glucose is the fuel we run on!

Your body has a whole feedback system in place just to keep your blood glucose levels from spiking up or diving down in the course of a single day. Indian tinospora can fit right into the scheme of things and help you manage blood glucose in several ways.

  • It makes sure more insulin is produced by the pancreas so that more glucose is removed from the blood.
  • It helps improve insulin’s efficiency by making it bind to its receptors on liver, muscle, and fat cells.
  • It reduces the amount of carbs broken down into glucose so that less glucose is absorbed by the intestines and released into the bloodstream (inhibiting the enzymes salivary and pancreatic amylase and glucosidase).
  • It tells your body to make less glucose.

Indian tinospora’s alkaloids berberine, palmatine, jatrorrhizine, and magnoflorine seem to be the most involved.

4. Encourages Mental Well-being

Your body never meant for you to stay sad for long. That’s why it has a store of “happy” chemical messengers, namely, serotonin and dopamine. Indian tinospora ensures that you get these happiness signals.

  • Helps make more serotonin: Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan that tells your brain you’re happy. Stress silences or suppresses serotonin. Indian tinospora can modulate the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, helping more “happy messages” reach your brain.
  • Helps utilize dopamine better: Dopamine is a brain chemical that controls how rewarded or pleased you feel, like after eating chocolate or drinking coffee. Indian tinospora helps dopamine sit easily on cell surfaces (at dopaminergic D2 receptors), increasing your chances of going to your happy place. It also inhibits monoamine oxidase, an enzyme that can destroy dopamine.

Lifestyle Tip

There is no fixed recommendation of how much Indian tinospora you should have because everyone’s body constitution is different. That said, about 1 teaspoon (5 gm) of the powder twice daily may be a good place to start.

Indian tinospora is best absorbed by the body when combined with ghee or oil. So, mix it with ghee and have it after your meals.

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