Botanical name: Tinospora cordifolia Family: Menispermaceae (Moonseed family)
Gulbel is a native plant from India, also known to be found in Far East, primarily in rainforests. The plant is climbing shrub with heart-shaped leaves. It has stems about 6 cm in diameter, with light grey, papery bark. The leaves are 7.5-14 cm long, 9-17 cm broad, broadly ovate or orbicular, deeply heart shaped at the base. Tiny greenish yellow flowers occur in racemes 7-14 cm long. Flowers have 3+3 sepals in 2 layers, the outer ones are small, the inner large large. Six stamens prominently protrude out. The plant flowers during the summer and fruits during the winter. Gulbel prefers acid, neutral or basic alkaline soil. It can grow in semi-shade or no shade. Requiring moist soil. Gulbel grows easily without chemical fertilizers, and use of pesticides.
Medicinal uses: The herb has a long history in use by practitioners of Ayurved. Known by its practitioners to treat convalescence from severe illness, arthritis (or joint diseases), liver disease, eye diseases, urinary problems, anemia, cancer, diarrhea, and diabetes. Also, help remove toxins from the body. The plant is cultivated by stem cutting in the month of May-June and used in Tibetan medicine. The herb is known to have a sweet, bitter and acid taste. Extracted from the stem and root is a nutrient starch used to treat chronic diarrhea and dysentery. According to a legend, the herb is known locally as giloya or "heavenly elixir": Kept the angels eternally young.
Identification credit: Jitendra Jawale
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