TylophoraTylophora indica, Tylophora asthmatica
Tylophora indica is a climbing perennial plant indigenous to India, where it grows wild in the southern and eastern regions and has a long-standing reputation as a remedy for asthma (hence the name, T. asthmatica ).
The leaves and roots of tylophora have been included in the Bengal Pharmacopoeia since 1884. It is said to have laxative, expectorant, diaphoretic (sweating), and purgative (vomiting) properties. It has been used for the treatment of various respiratory problems besides asthma, including allergies, bronchitis and colds, as well as dysentery and oseteoarthritis pain.
What Is Tylophora Used for Today?
Tylophora has become an increasingly popular treatment for asthma
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Tylophora?
Weak preliminary evidence hints that tylophora might have anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, and antispasmodic actions. 9–12
In 1972, researchers reported the results of a a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial of 195 individuals with asthma who were given either placebo or 40 mg of a tylophora alcohol extract daily for 6 days.
Even the researchers involved in these trials expressed surprise that short term use of tylophora could produce long lasting benefits; to outside observers, such findings make the results difficult to believe at all. Furthermore, most of these studies suffered from poor design and reporting. In 1979, researchers published the results of a double-blind study designed to remedy these problems.
The bottom line: Better studies that show benefit will be necessary to before tylophora can be considered a promising herb for asthma.
The typical dosage of tylophora leaf in dried or capsule form is 200 mg twice daily or 400 mg total in 2 doses.
In the second study mentioned above, tylophora caused nausea, vomiting, mouth soreness, and alterations in taste sensation in more than half of the participants. The other two studies found similar side effects, but far less frequently. The difference may have been because the second study had people chew the whole leaves from the plant, whereas other studies have used dried leaves or powdered extract in capsule form.
Preliminary studies on animals have found tylophora extracts to be toxic only in extremely high doses; these extracts were apparently safe in the far smaller doses needed to produce a therapeutic effect. 17
Due to the lack of comprehensive safety studies on tylophora, the herb should not be used by children, pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with severe kidney or liver disease. Whether tylophora interacts with any drugs is unknown.
9. Gopalakrishnan C, Shankaranarayanan D, Nazimudeen SK, et al. Effect of tylophorine, a major alkaloid of Tylophora indica, on immunopathological and inflammatory reactions. Indian J Med Res. 1980;71:940–948.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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