Misleading, Flawed, Incomplete: AYUSH Ministry dismisses study linking Giloy to liver damage
New Delhi: The Ministry of AYUSH has recently dismissed a study claiming that use of herb Tinospora Cordifolia (TC), commonly known as Giloy or Guduchi, resulted in liver failure in six patients in Mumbai.
Calling it flawed and incomplete, the Ministry is of the view that the authors of the study failed in placing all needful details of the cases in a systematic format. It added that relating Giloy 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 since long.
"The efficacy of Giloy in managing various disorders is well established," the ministry said in a statement.
Giloy is a commonly used plant in Ayurveda, known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic properties, anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. It became particularly popular during the pandemic because of its immune-boosting properties. However, a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology has implicated TC as the cause for Drug Induced Liver Disease.
The study describes 6 case reports of patients who presented with liver injury, during September 2020 to December 2020 and followed up until March 2021. Four of the six patients consumed TC plant in the form of boiled extracts of its twigs, while one patient consumed it in the commercially available tablet formulation and another one consumed in the form of commercially available syrup. The patients were asked to discontinue consumption of TC and were treated until resolution of their symptoms.
"There is a need to urge caution and a warning about its potential to cause liver toxicity. Also, a recommendation to monitor liver function tests especially in the high-risk subset of patients' (associated autoimmune disorders) needs to be highlighted," the investigators proposed.
However, the Ministry refuted the claims made in a study. In its recent statement, it pointed out that the authors of the study did not analyse the contents of the herb that was consumed by the patients.
"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 labelling 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," the statement said.
"The study has many flaws. It is unclear 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," the ministry added.
The Ministry further expressed that 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 liver, nerves etc. are available," it said.