Giloya: Herb That May Relieve Depression and Anxiety


If you have depression and read a news headline claiming that a cure for depression has been found, it tickles your curiosity.

Since headlines are meant to capture peoples’ attention, it seems unlikely that a definitive cure for depressive symptoms has actually been discovered. But what if there is some truth to it?

The headline in question refers to research done at Banaras Hindu University. The researchers studied the antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects of the herb giloya, or giloy, also known as guduchi, and tinospora cordifolia. They found that this herb was as effective in treating depression and anxiety as allopathic (conventional) drugs.

A Bit About the Research

This study was done, as many are, using rats as subjects and observing their behavior to determine changes in distress level and mood. Different groups of rats were given either giloya, the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam, or the antidepressant imipramine.

The researchers found that certain mixtures of giloya, especially those prepared from small plant stems of 1-1.5 cm in diameter, were highly effective in treating anxiety, depression and stress-induced emotional upset.

About the Herb Giloya

In English-speaking countries, giloya is poetically called heartleaf moonseed. The herb comes from a climbing shrub native to the deciduous and dry forests of India. Giloya has a succulent stem and heart-shaped leaves. Its papery bark is colored cream or gray. In June, the shrub produces yellow flowers, and in November it bears pea-sized fruit that turns red when mature.

Giloya has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. The roots, stems, leaves and flowers of the plant all have their medicinal purposes. The herb has antipyretic, diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties, and it is known to purify blood and stimulate the immune system.

Giloya has a history of being used to:

  1. Enhance memory, bestow overall well-being and longevity and support a youthful complexion.
  2. Reduce pain and swelling from skin diseases and gout.
  3. Treat problems of digestion such as hyperacidity, poor appetite, stomach pain, bowel problems and vomiting.
  4. Reduce fevers and treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
  5. Treat kidney and liver disorders.
  6. Support an immune system compromised by auto-immune diseases, cancer treatments or AIDS.

The list of Ayurvedic uses goes on. It might be easier to figure out what giloya is not used for. However, there are cautions. People with diabetes need to be careful with giloya since it lowers blood sugar levels. Individuals undergoing surgery should not use giloya prior to surgery. Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid taking this herb.

Giloya and Your Symptoms

Research study findings are pieces of a larger puzzle. One study never creates a complete picture. However, if using giloya to address your symptoms of depression or anxiety interests you, be wise about adding it to your treatment regimen.

Talk to your doctor, psychiatrist or therapist first to make sure the herb is compatible with your current medications or other treatments, and consider consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner or herbalist.

Source: Times of India


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