Giloy and liver damage: What is the controversy and what govt says


A day after dismissing reports that Giloy can lead to liver damage, the ministry of Ayush on Thursday said it is advisable to consult a medical practitioner before incorporating Giloy in one’s diet. “When taken regularly, Giloy can do wonders for overall health concerns. It has also been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to be used as a remedial medication,” it said.

Reports quoting Mumbai doctors said six patients with severe liver damage were found between September and December and each of them had a history of taking Giloy, which became popular as an immunity booster, especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

What does the study say?

Aabha Nagral, the lead author of the study, published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology, said biopsy result proved that the liver injury was linked to the herb Tinospora cordifolia which is known as Giloy.

The consumption of Giloy reportedly shot up during the first wave of the pandemic as it is considered a natural immunity booster.

What has the government said?

The Ayush ministry on Wednesday said the study is misleading as the liver damage linked to Giloy was only reported in six patients. The researchers did not analyse the contents of the herb that was consumed by the patients, the ministry said. The ministry also said that the study did not clearly identify the herb and did not mention the dosage the patients took.

What has Patanjali said?

Giloy juice is available under many brands in India. Yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali is one of them. Patanjali Ayurved managing director Acharya Balkrishna issued a statement and said the case study has been limited, not satisfactory. All six patients had pre-existing diseases and were taking other allopathic medicines. Dismissing the link between Giloy and liver diseases, Balkrishna said Giloy has been traditionally used in Ayurveda to treat liver disorders. “There is a wide variation in the quantity of the herb taken by be the patients, formulations employed and the duration of consumption. Consequently, the outcomes of the case series should not be attributed to the medicinal safe use of Giloy. Moreover, the investigators have neglected several crucial parameters such as previous medication history, identification of chemical constituents in the formulation as well in the damaged liver and blood,” Balkrishna said.

What should you do?

The Ayush ministry has now said Giloy when taken regularly can do wonders to overall health. The ministry has now advised consulting a medical practitioner before incorporating Giloy in one’s diet.

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