The Ministry of AYUSH has dismissed a case study, which claimed that the prolonged consumption of the Indian herb Tinospora cordifolia (Giloy/TC) has led to liver damage in 6 patients with acute hepatitis.
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology. Titled ‘Herbal Immune Booster-Induced Liver Injury in the Covid-19 pandemic – A case series’, the study was authored by Aabha Nagral, Kunal Adhyaru, Omkar S Rudra, Amit Gharat, and Sonal Bhandare. It was conducted between September and December 2020, followed till March this year, and published on July 2.
The methodology of the study read, “We included out-patients and in-patients aged > 18 years with a presentation of acute hepatitis and recent exposure to ingestion/ consumption of a distinctive formulation containing TC. We also excluded acute viral hepatitis A, B and C, and E by serological tests and Wilson disease.” The patients were subjected to several tests including ultrasonography, and liver biopsy.
The contentious study was covered by several news portals including India Today and The Times of India.
AYUSH Ministry points out flaws in research paper
In a statement, the Ministry of AYUSH said, “This study mentions that use of herb LinosporCordifolia (IC), commonly known as Giloy OE 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 fain. 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 since long. The efficacy of IC in managing various disorders is well established.”
The AYUSH Ministry further added, “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 Tinosporo Crispa might have a negative effect on the liver.”
Before labeling a herb, such as Giloy, with such toxic nature, authors should’ve tried to correctly identify plants following the standard guidelines, which they didn’t: Ministry of AYUSH on a study mentioning use of Giloy, resulted in liver failure in 6 patients in Mumbai pic.twitter.com/YR796mkcNY— ANI (@ANI) July 7, 2021
The Ministry pointed out that the authors of the study did not identify the herb species correctly through standard guidelines. ” 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 and 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 can of context to state here that Scientific Evidence on medical applications of TC or Giloy as practice to the liver, nerves, etc. are available,” it added.
AYUSH Ministry emphasised that several studies are already available in the public domain that talk about the beneficial uses of Giloy. It said that keywords such as ‘Guduchiand safety’ and ‘T Cordifolia efficacy’ returned 169 and 871 studies respectively. While slamming the media, it concluded, “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 TCordifolia and without consulting any reputed Ayuneda expert or the Ministry of Ayush. This also is not up to the mark from a journalistic point of view.”