The giloy plant (Tinospora cordifolia) is a medicinal herb that has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. It has also gained popularity in the West as a natural remedy for various health problems.
Giloy is widely available to buy and is relatively easy to grow at home. It can be grown indoors or outdoors, from seeds or cuttings.
Our complete guide to the plant includes details of its main characteristics and classifications, its health benefits, advice on planting and growing giloy, and more.
What is Giloy?
Giloy is a large climbing vine that spreads extensively and can grow up to 20 feet in length. It’s deciduous and herbaceous with heart-shaped leaves, yellowish-white flowers, and red or orange fruit. The stem is what’s primarily used for medicinal purposes.
Native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of India, Giloy is also commonly found in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Although it thrives in warmer climates, it can grow in almost any climatic condition.
Giloy has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a range of conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Today, it is often taken as an immune system booster or as a general tonic for overall health.
In addition to its medicinal uses, giloy also has practical applications in the home. You can use it to make natural dyes and fragrances, for example, and add it to potpourri for its pleasant aroma.
Giloy Plant Overview
- Botanical/Scientific Name: Tinospora cordifolia
- Common Names: gurjo, heart-leaved moonseed, guduchi
- Family: Menispermaceae
- Genus: Tinospora
- Other Classifications: Vine, Herb, Deciduous, Indoor
How to Grow Giloy
You don’t need to be an expert gardener to grow giloy at home. The process is straightforward, and you can propagate the plant from seeds or stem cuttings.
It’s best to grow the plant directly in the ground, preferably near a tree or where there’s space for it to spread. It can also be grown in a pot, whether indoors or outdoors.
Giloy Growing Requirements and Optimal Conditions
- Soil: Giloy will grow in any type of soil. It can even grow in water, without any soil at all.
- Sunlight: Giloy grows best with a few hours of indirect sunlight each day.
- Water: Giloy doesn’t require much water. It needs watering once every week or so.
- Temperature: The optimal temperature range is 25-30 degrees Celsius (75-80 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Growing Season: Spring to summer.
If you’re growing giloy in a pot or planter, we recommend using one that’s made out of clay and has drainage holes. You can use garden soil or potting mix in the container, with or without compost.
Propagating Giloy Plants from Seeds
- Start by soaking the seeds in cold water overnight. Doing so will help them germinate more quickly.
- Make some shallow holes in the soil with your finger.
- Place the seeds gently into the holes and cover them. The seeds should be just below the surface.
- Slowly pour water onto the planted area until the soil turns moist.
- Water frequently for the next few days, to ensure a moist consistency of the soil.
Propagating Giloy Plants from Stem Cuttings
- If taking your own cuttings, cut around 25 centimeters (10 inches) from the stem of an established plant. Cut at around a 45-degree angle.
- Remove any leaves from the stem cuttings.
- Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone. This is optional but will increase your chances of growing healthy giloy plants.
- Dig a small hole in the soil and place the cuttings inside the hole.
- Gently pour water around the planted cuttings until the soil is moist.
- Water as required to keep the soil moist for the next few days.
Caring for Giloy Plants
Giloy plants don’t require much maintenance, so caring for them is fairly easy. Here are a few tips.
- Newly propagated giloy should ideally be kept in a bright but shady place until signs of growth are evident. You’ll usually see the roots grow and some leaves sprout after two weeks.
- You should protect Giloy plants from too much strong sunlight while they’re young.
- Once fully established, giloy can withstand direct sunlight for several hours each day.
- It’s best to water giloy only when the surrounding topsoil is dry. Approximately once per week is about right, depending on conditions and time of year. Overwatering can cause fungal problems for giloy.
- Giloy doesn’t need fertilizing, but it can benefit from a handful of organic compost every few weeks. Too much fertilizer can harm giloy plants, and you should avoid chemical fertilizer.
- Pruning is only necessary if you want to control the size or shape of your plants.
- Giloy plants are very hardy and resistant to most pests and diseases. No special precautions are necessary, but root rot can be a problem if the soil is consistently too wet.
- Weed control is important, as nearby weeds can compete with giloy for nutrients from the soil.
- If your giloy doesn’t have any natural support nearby, such as a fence or tree, you might consider using a trellis.
The most useful part of the giloy plant is the stem, although the leaves and roots also have their uses.
- You can harvest Giloy stems at any time of year. The optimal period is just when the plant starts to shed its leaves, which is usually during Autumn.
- Stems should be around 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in diameter when harvesting.
- To harvest the stem, cut a portion with sharp scissors or pruners. Cut around 30 centimeters (12 inches) above the ground to leave the basal part for further growth.
- Once harvested, cut the stems into small pieces.
- You should then dry Giloy stem pieces to prepare them for further use.
- Make sure you store the dried giloy stems in a cool and dry location.
- If harvesting the leaves, you can cut them off with scissors or gently pull them off the plant. Only cut back one-third of the leaves at a time.
- If harvesting giloy roots, simply dig them up gently with your hands.
Uses and Benefits of Giloy
Giloy is known to be a powerful antioxidant and immunity booster. It helps fight infection and boosts the body’s natural ability to heal and repair.
As a traditional Ayurvedic medicine, giloy has been used in India for centuries to treat a wide range of illnesses and health problems. It is used worldwide nowadays and has become increasingly popular.
Some common uses of giloy include treating fever, headaches, joint pain, heart disease, and skin conditions like eczema and acne.
Aside from its medicinal uses, giloy is a versatile plant. You can also use it in the following ways.
- As an ornamental plant. The bright yellow flowers of the giloy plant make it a popular choice for landscapers and gardeners.
- For green dye. Giloy leaves can create a natural dye for cloth and other materials.
- As a food. You can add Giloy to soups, stews, and teas. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked and have a slightly bitter taste.
Whether you’re looking to improve your health, beautify your garden, or create a natural dye for your clothing, the giloy plant is an excellent choice for gardeners. Its hardy nature and minimal care requirements make it easy to grow at home.
Where to Buy Giloy Online
You have several options for buying giloy online, depending on exactly what you’re looking for.
If you want to grow giloy at home, you can purchase seeds or stem cuttings from many outlets, including Amazon and Etsy. Giloy saplings are also available from some online nurseries and garden stores.
- Best Online Nurseries in the US (GardenersOasis.com)
- Best Places to Buy Plants Online in the UK (GardenersWorld.com)
If you’re interested in using giloy for its medicinal properties, many online suppliers offer powdered or dried giloy at affordable prices. You can also buy giloy supplements, including giloy juice and giloy tablets, from online health food stores and similar retailers.
Always buy your giloy-related products from a reputable seller with a good track record of customer satisfaction. You can find some recommended online stores in our section on gardening websites and apps.
Common Giloy Problems and FAQ
You’re unlikely to encounter many problems when growing giloy at home. Here are the most common issues.
- Slow or non-existent growth
- Yellowing leaves
- Wilting or drooping leaves
- Fungal infections
- Rotting roots
You will likely avoid these issues if you follow the advice we’ve already provided on this page. Some more specific tips for dealing with these issues are included in our answers to the below frequently asked questions about giloy.
Can I grow giloy at home?
Yes, you can grow giloy at home with ease. It’s a hardy plant that doesn’t require much care, making it ideal for beginners.
What are the best conditions for growing giloy?
Giloy prefers warm weather and sunny conditions. It’s best to plant the seeds or saplings in a fertile, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic.
Why is my giloy plant not growing?
The most common reason for a giloy plant not growing is incorrect planting. Make sure you plant the seeds or saplings in a warm, sunny spot with well-drained soil.
Why are my giloy leaves wilting and turning yellow?
Yellowing leaves can result from a lack of sunlight, too much water, or a nutrient deficiency. If the leaves are wilting as well as yellowing, you’re probably overwatering the plant.
How do I treat a giloy fungal infection?
You can treat fungal infections with fungicides, which are available from most garden stores. You can also use a natural remedy, such as tea tree oil or neem oil.
Are giloy plants resistant to pests?
Giloy plants are generally resistant to most common garden pests and diseases. However, you may need to take additional steps, such as using organic pesticides or companion planting, if your garden is particularly prone to pests.
What are the health benefits of giloy?
Giloy is used in several remedies. It is believed to help treat a wide range of health conditions, including diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and even cancer.
Does giloy have side effects?
Giloy can cause side effects if consumed excessively or improperly. The most common is constipation, but it can also lead to low blood sugar or an over-stimulated immune system.
Plants Similar to Giloy
The two main characteristics of giloy are that it’s a climbing vine and it has medicinal properties.
If you’re looking for alternative climbing plants, we suggest considering the following.
- Purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
- Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)
- Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminodes)
- Moonflower (Ipomea alaba)
- Cape honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis)
If you’re looking to grow other plants that have health benefits, these are among your best options.
- Aloe vera
- Lavender (Lavendula)
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
- Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
- Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)