Continuing the discussion on Rasayana (techniques which can help to lengthen lifespan, enhance health and improve the quality of life), here we will describe another wonderful herb/plant which is one of the main rasayanas mentioned in Ayurveda – it is called Guduchi in Sanskrit, which means “the one who protects”.
Another name for Guduchi is “Amruta”, which means “nectar”. Because this plant has a nectarean effect on one’s body, it is called “Amruta”.
In English, it is known as Indian Tinospora or heart leaved tinospora, due to its leaves having the shape of a heart. The botanical name for Guduchi is Tinospora Cordifolia.
In ancient times, the sages and seers of India studied the plants, herbs, spices, metals, etc. very meticulously by scrutinizing the medicinal value of these substances based on their taste, quality, potency, post digestive effects, etc.
The sages did not have any laboratory at their disposal to conduct experiments and find out the medical properties of these items – simply by using their highly refined consciousness and pure intelligence, they were able to discover the properties of all these items and how they would benefit mankind. Thus, they compiled this highly useful information for the benefit of mankind.
Interestingly, experiments conducted on those same plants, herbs, spices, metals, etc. in the modern laboratories of today, according to the principles/methods of modern Pharmacology, yielded the same results/findings with regard to the chemical properties of these items and their effects on humans, thus matching the information given in the ancient texts of Ayurveda!
Taste wise, Guduchi is bitter and astringent. Quality wise, it is light (easy to digest) and slightly moist. From the perspective of potency, it is heaty. Its post digestive taste is sweet.
Due to its bitter and astringent taste, Guduchi immediately strengthens and activates Vata (air element), hence it is useful to correct Kapha (water + earth) disorders, e.g. fluid retention, excess weight, inflammation, swelling, cough, cold, congestion in the sinus, headache (caused by mucus), fatigue, lethargic feeling, lack of motivation, low self-confidence, etc. When the fresh leaves of Guduchi are consumed or juice of its leaves/stem is taken, it generates a very positive feeling of well-being and has an enlivening effect due to activated Vata.
Due to its moisturising quality, Guduchi lubricates the body from within and thereby facilitates air circulation and blood circulation throughout the body. And because it is easy to digest, its medicinal and healing effects can be noticed quite soon after it is consumed.
Therefore, when it is taken by someone who is suffering from migraine and dizziness due to a Vata imbalance, it can help such symptoms to subside within a short period of time, without causing any side effects, unlike many chemical based pain killers.
Many people have this misconception that Ayurvedic herbs and remedies take a very long time to show their beneficial effects – this is not true. In acute cases, like severe headache, giddiness, etc., which are generally caused by Vata imbalance and aggravation of Pitta, a plant like Guduchi, taken in a juice or paste form, with equal quantity of honey, can relieve the symptoms very quickly.
Since it is heaty when consumed, Guduchi enhances vital heat in the body and makes one feel very energetic and active.
Due to its sweet taste after digestion, whatever medicinal properties are absorbed by the body, are retained within the body for a very long time and the healing effects are of a lasting nature.
Guduchi is called “tridoshhara”, which means it can correct imbalance of all the three doshas, i.e. Vata (air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (water & earth). Due to its lubricating effect, it regulates Vata; due to its sweet taste (post digestive), it pacifies aggravated Pitta; and due to its drying effect caused by its bitter and astringent taste, and due to the heaty effect, it balances excessive Kapha.
Generally, the leaves and stem of the Guduchi plant are used to treat most ailments, but for a specific disorder, any of the “Panchang” (pancha means five, and anga means parts), e.g. roots, bark, leaf, flower, fruit and seeds, are used to achieve a specific result.
How to administer Guduchi to balance different doshas and to treat a particular ailment?
- For Vata predominant individuals and Vata related disorders: Mix 3 gram Guduchi powder with 5 gram pure cow’s ghee (clarified butter) or with a tablespoon of cold pressed sesame oil (white sesame oil in hot weather and black sesame oil in cold weather) and lick this mixture, followed by a cup of hot herbal tea (e.g. cinnamon tea) or just 50 ml hot water. This can be taken 2 – 3 times a day as per the need of the individual. This helps to correct symptoms like joint/muscle pain, arthritis, sleeping disorder, etc.
- For Pitta oriented individuals and Pitta related disorders: Mix 5 gram Guduchi powder with 3 gram ground rock sugar or with a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil. Take this, followed by a glass of fresh cow’s milk or a cup of hot herbal tea (e.g. fennel tea) or 50 ml plain hot water. This helps to pacify aggravated Pitta and also prevent Pitta aggravation. Therefore, it can help to correct skin disorders, e.g. eczema, rashes, etc., acidity problem, burning sensation in the eyes, etc.
- For Kapha individuals and Kapha related disorders: Mix 3 – 5 gram Guduchi powder with a tablespoon of pure raw (unprocessed) honey and lick this mixture. Drink a cup of warm herbal tea (e.g. ginger or cinnamon tea) or just drink a few sips of plain lukewarm water. This can help to eliminate excessive Kapha and also prevent formation and accumulation of Ama (toxic mucus). Guduchi is called “ama hara”, which means it pacifies “ama” in the body. Thus, it can correct inflammation, fluid retention, lethargic feeling, lack of confidence, etc.
- For constipation: Mix 5 gram Guduchi powder with 2 teaspoons pure jaggery, or a tablespoon of maple syrup, or with 2 pitted dark brown dates; take any of these combinations, followed by a few sips of hot water. This can speed up metabolism and resolve constipation.
- For T.B.: Guduchi is one of the best and one of the most natural remedies for killing the microbes causing T.B., even if those microbes are in a dormant state within the body.
In general, Guduchi is useful in several conditions like fever, infection, cold, cough, skin disorders, indigestion, constipation, general weakness, etc.
In Ayurveda, there are many such wonderful beneficial formulas, in which Guduchi is used as a primary ingredient.
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DISCLAIMER : This information is intended for educational purposes only & does not constitute expert medical advice, nor is it meant to replace medical recommendations by a medical practitioner. Always consult a qualified Ayurveda Doctor/Health Professional/Yoga Guru for your specific medical needs before taking any herbal health supplements, and/or practicing Ayurveda & Yoga.