Giloy/Guduchi/Tinospora Cordifolia/Heart leaved moonseed
This humble, easy growing medicinal herb was lost somewhere in Ayurvedic texts before the immunity boosting frenzy of the post pandemic era brought light to the ages old benefits of this hardy herb.
Another wonder herb from the ancient text of ayurveda, Giloy or Tinospora Cordifolia is an extensively spreading deciduous climber. that has heart shaped leaves. Giloy is native to the Indian subcontinent as its long tender vines find the tropical climate of the region favourable for growth. We live in the subtropics of northern India where it thrives well due to its hardy nature but the growth picks up during the monsoons(i.e.June-August). In sanskrit it is often referred as "Amrita" which translates to the root of immortality.
Giloy is grown for its innumerable benefits reaped out mainly from the stem and some from roots. Leaves of the plant have similar benefits as that of stem are less effective. Ayurvedic text "Charak Sutrasthana" lists innumerable benefits of the herb to treat ailments like indigestion, fever, arthritis, gastritis, cold, cough, asthama etc. It is further stated that the plant imbibes in it, properties of the tree on which it climbs. This way, Giloy plant growing on the support of a Neem tree is of specific importance. Personally, Giloy has eliminated the use of paracetamol in our family during fever. Its concoction works wonders on bringing down the fever. Concoction of Giloy taken with ghee is used for treating Vata imbalance disorders.
How to grow?
Giloy is often propagated or planted through stem cuttings which can be rooted with little or no effort. It propagates quite easily in Monsoon from June to July which is also the period of peak growth. Although seeds can also be easily germinated for raising a plantation but for growing a climber or two in your backyard, stem cuttings are a better idea. Healthy stem is snipped at an angle and is planted straight in a regular potting mix. The cutting is watered thoroughly for a few days after planting. It will pick up the shoots in a week or two.
Giloy is a hardy species and doesn't require much watering. It requires least nutrition and grows naturally. Although it can be fed with Cowdung manure or homemade compost , but it should never be chemically fertilized. In the same way pesticides should never be used on Giloy as they may destroy its medicinal properties.
Homegrown sustainable Giloy vines can be used to harvest freshly cut stems all year round. Fresh ripe stems have hard crust like bark and soft center . Two to three pieces of inch long cuttings can be harvested to make fresh concoction. Commercially, stems are harvested when the plant stops growing and sheds it leaves , which is around August to October. The cut is made at least from a foot above the ground to harvest the herb.These stems are then cut down to smaller pieces and dried to be ground into powder which is used as a medicine.