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