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Giloy might just be dangerous for your liver. Here’s why

Published on:5 July 2021, 17:29pm IST
Giloy has gained fame, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, due to its ability to boost immunity but scientists have found that it can be extremely damaging to your liver.
Grace Bains
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Side effects of giloy can impact the liver function, a new study found. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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The liver is the largest organ in the human body and for a healthy and long life, it’s important to maintain the health of the liver as it performs critical bodily functions. From boosting the immune response in times of viral or bacterial infections, blood filtration, waste removal, to producing proteins that help carry hormones, drugs and fatty acids throughout the body, the liver facilitates these vital functions.

In light of the ongoing battle with Covid-19, a number of people have been gravitating towards foods, medicines and health hacks that could boost their immunity levels. One such immunity-boosting method is the consumption of an Ayurvedic herb concoction based on giloy. However, the latest research shows that giloy may cause liver toxicity and damage, like an auto-immune response by the body.

Liver damage is one of the most severe side effects of giloy.
Image courtesy: Shutterstock
What’s the link between giloy and liver health?

Giloy or Tinospora cordifolia, is a herb used in preparing Ayurvedic medicines and is also known as ‘guduchi’. It contains vitamin C and minerals, and is known to enhance immunity levels against viral fevers.

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology, the authors put forth that people with underlying auto-immune diseases and co-morbidities are at risk of developing liver toxicity and damage if they consume giloy. The study analysed various biopsy reports and states that liver damage may be linked with taking giloy based medicines or concoctions. The research indicates that the liver may become toxic due to an auto-immune response to giloy and suffer damage. This happens when the body’s immune system ends up attacking its own cells and tissues, instead of the disease-causing virus or bacteria.

A study found giloy consumption to be linked to liver damage.
Image courtesy: Shutterstock

People with comorbidities, who consumed this herb to boost their immunity, were also found to have liver injuries after conducting a biopsy. The study suggests that these pre-existing ailments that may trigger an auto-immune response to giloy include diabetes and thalassemia.

Here are some common signs of liver injury

You may not always experience visible and apparent signs of liver injury, however, be mindful of conditions such as:

  • Jaundice (skin and eyes may appear to be yellow in colour)
  • Stomach pain
  • Swelling near the pelvis area
  • Pain and swelling in thighs and ankles
  • Skin itching and rashes
  • Dark urine and a pale stool
  • Recurring nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chronic fatigue

So, while further studies by medical experts will provide us with more clarity on the link between liver damage and giloy, it is important to be vigilant of any signs of liver toxicity to mitigate any adverse health reaction.

Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.