Siddha herbTinospora Cordifolia Protects from Radiation & Chemotherapy Side Effects
Radiation treatments, combined with chemotherapy, are the standard regimen for the treatments of various cancers. Both of these treatments have very serious side effects, unfortunately, and a lot more people die from the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. If these treatments are needed, there have to be strategy to enhance the effects of chemotherapy and radiation to cancer cells, while at the same time protecting the normal healthy cells and cut down the side effects.
Tinospora cordifolia, commonly known as Guduchi in Ayurvedic Medicine, has been used in many preparations for the treatment of various ailments. It possesses anti-stress, antidiabetic, antiulcer, anti-oxidative, radio-protective, hepato-protective, immuno-modulator, chemo-protective, and learning & memory enhancing properties. A variety of bioactive constituents, with anti-oxidative and free radical scavenging properties, have been isolated from Tinospora cordifolia. One study was carried out to specifically look at the radio-protective potential of the Tinospora cordifolia extract against radiation-induced testicular injury in Swiss albino mice.
One group of male Swiss albino mice was exposed to 7.5 Gy gamma radiation, to serve as the irradiated control, while the other group received Tinospora cordifolia orally for 5 consecutive days half an hour before irradiation to serve as experimental. Exposure of animals to 7.5 Gy gamma radiation resulted in significant decrease in body weight, tissue weight, testes- body weight ratio, and tubular diameter of testes up to 15 days of irradiation. 100% mortality was recorded by day 17 in irradiated control, whereas all animals survived in experimental group. 100% survival of irradiated animal is a miraculous property of Tinospora cordifolia. Animals treated with Tinospora cordifolia showed significant increase in body weight, tissue weight, testes- body weight ratio and tubular diameter at various intervals as compared to irradiated group. Radiation-induced histological lesions in testicular architecture were observed as more severe in irradiated control than animals pre-treated with Tinospoa cordifolia. Tinospora cordifolia further protected the architect of tests and histopathological changes were minimized.
All the animals who got pre-treatment with Tinospora cordifolia survived the experimental periods of 30 days without any sickness. At the same time, irradiated animals exhibited sickness within 2–4 days with 71.43% mortality during 7 days and the remaining animals died within the next 10 days after exposure. Radiation is a potent toxicant and whole-body exposure of it can alter the general physiology. In other studies Tinospora cordifolia has shown to have radio-sensitizing effects to cancer cells with protective effects on the normal healthy cells. This makes Tinospora cordifolia an excellent choice to be used with radiation treatment. It can potentially cut down the side effects of radiation treatment, make cancerous cells more vulnerable to radiation, while at the same time protecting healthy normal cells.
Tinospora cordifolia has also shown chemo-protective actions. In another study Tinospora extract was as good as doxyrubicin in killing cancer cells. Doxyrubicin is a chemotherapy drugs with lots of side effects. Using herbs like Tinospora cordifolia is a win-win for the patients, as he/she cuts the side effects of the treatment and even enhances the potential toxic effects of these treatments to cancer cells.
All my patients who are undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments, I advise them to be of radio protective and chemo-preventive herbs like Tinospora cordifolia, Holy basil and Amla.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:643847. doi: 10.1155/2011/643847. Epub 2011 Feb 16.
Cancer Lett. 1998;127:71–82.