INDIA. New Delhi: A brawl between Allopathic medicine practitioners and Ayurveda practitoners were in news during the second wave of COVID in India. Now as things were cooling off, another propaganda has surfaced regarding the bad effects of Ayurvedic and Herbal medicines. Even the Ministry of Ayush had to come forward after noticing a media report based on a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology, a peer-reviewed journal of the Indian National Association for the study of the liver. This study mentions that the use of the herb TinosporaCordifolia (TC), commonly known as Giloy or Guduchi, resulted in liver failure in six patients in Mumbai.
The Ministry feels that the authors of the study failed in placing all needful details of the cases in a systematic format. Apart from this, relating Giloy or TC to liver damage would be misleading and disastrous to the Traditional Medicine system of India as the herb Guduchi or Giloy has been used in Ayurveda for a long. The efficacy of TC in managing various disorders is well established
After analysing the study, it was also noticed that the authors of the study have not analysed the contents of the herb that was consumed by the patients. It becomes the responsibility of the authors to ascertain that the herb consumed by the patients is TC and not any other herb. To build upon the soundness, the authors would have taken the opinion of a botanist or would have consulted an Ayurveda expert.
In fact, there are many studies that point out that identifying the herb not correctly could lead to wrong results. A similar-looking herb TinosporoCrispa might have a negative effect on the liver. So, before labeling a herb, such as Giloy, with such toxic nature the authors should have tried to correctly identify the plants following the standard guidelines, which they did not. Other than this, the study has many flaws. It is unclear that what dose the patients had taken or whether they took this herb with other medicines. The study has not taken into account the past or present medical records of the patients.
Publications based on incomplete information will open the door for misinformation and defame the age-old practices of Ayurveda.
It would not be out of context to state here that Scientific Evidence on medical applications of TC or Giloy as protective to the liver, nerves, etc. are available. It was found out that ‘Guduchiand safety, like keywords, alone has some 169 studies available in the public domain. Similarly, a quick search on T. Cordifolia and efficacy, as keywords, will show 871 results. There are hundreds of studies on Giloy and its safe use. Giloy is one of the most commonly prescribed medicines in Ayurveda. It has proper pharmacopeia standards in place of established safety of hepatoprotective properties. No adverse event is noted in any clinical practice by pharmacovigilance or in any clinical study.
The newspaper article based its entire story on the much limited and misleading study without taking into account the voluminous peer-reviewed, robust studies that speak for the efficacy of T.Cordifolia and without consulting any reputed Ayurveda expert or the Ministry of Ayush. This also is not up to the mark from a journalistic point of view.
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