While demand for products with vitamins C and D, zinc, elderberry, and echinacea surged in 2020, a lesser known ingredient – T. cordifolia – may also offer options to formulators as consumer interest in immune products shows no sign of slowing.
T. cordifolia is a deciduous climbing shrub native to India. The plant has a long history of use in Ayurveda to counter inflammation and “promote a balanced immune response”, explained reviewers from the University of Memphis, Huntington University of Health Sciences, and Methodist Germantown Hospital.
The reviewers stress that the vast majority of the data to date – both preclinical and clinical – is in response to bacterial infection, and “… caution should be exercised when extrapolating said activity to host viral responses since data to support such structure function claims are lacking”.
“Extensive phytochemical characterization of aqueous and alcoholic extracts of different Tinospora species has identified over two hundred different phytochemicals from non-overlapping chemical classes with the most abundant being diterpenoids containing the clerodane-type skeleton,” they wrote in the Journal of Dietary Supplements
Other bioactive constituents linked to the immune benefits of extracts from the aerial parts of T. cordifolia (stem and/or leaf), include polysaccharides (for example, arabinogalactan polysaccharide G1-4A), alkaloids, cadinane sesquiterpenes, and phenylpropanoid glycosides.
“Representatives from each of the aforementioned chemical classes variously promote PMN phagocytosis and alter the balance of Th1 and Th2 cytokines,” wrote the reviewers in the.
“Pharmacologic activity is mediated via diverse signaling networks, e.g. TLR4, that leads to regulation of the balance between Th1 and Th2 cytokines; a key feature, considering dysregulation of the host Th1/Th2 cytokine profile is at the heart of the so-called “cytokine storm”.”
The review also discussed the safety profile of T. cordifolia, and noted that the data supports the safety of the botanical, adding that there is minimal risk of potential herb-drug interactions.
“T. cordifolia represents a potential botanical option for augmenting the body’s natural defense mechanisms, particularly against bacterial threats, based upon a wealth of immunomodulatory preclinical and clinical substantiation data,” they concluded.
Increased demand in the market
Commenting on the review, Kristen Marshall, digital marketing manager for Verdure Sciences, which supplies the Tinofend-branded T. cordifolia extract to the US dietary supplements market, told NutraIngredients-USA the paper clearly outlines the current published data which supports T. cordifolia’s immunomodulatory and inflammatory properties.
“As a company vested in clinically studied botanical extracts, we were pleased to see phytochemistry details and reporting of the extraction solvents when available. We would like to see journals implement more thorough reporting of materials and methods, specifically in the realm of botanical extracts, solvents, and methods.
“It is understood that different solvents and methods elicit significant variations in phytochemical profiles. This is a critical need for evaluating robust efficacy and safety data. This information is essential to align clear product messaging and offer support,” she said.
Marshall added that the company is seeing increased demand for Tinofend, which is already used in a number of products on the market, including products from brands such as LifeExtension, Designs for Health, Microbiome Labs, Neurohacker, and more.
When asked if the supply chain for Tinospora can sustainably match the increasing demand, Marshall told us that T. cordifolia has been in Verdure’s portfolio for over 15 years, “during which time Verdure has established mutually beneficial and symbiotic partnerships starting at the farmer level. Verdure offers wild-crafted, cultivated, and certified organic Tinospora / Tinofend.
“We have worked diligently to secure long-lasting partnerships for a mutually beneficially, symbiotic approach to sustainable supply chains across our ingredient portfolio, and as a part of our internal Verdugration initiatives.”
Source: Journal of Dietary Supplements
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1080/19390211.2021.1873214
“Tinospora cordifolia: A review of its immunomodulatory properties”
Authors: C.R. Yates, E.J. Bruno, M.E.D. Yates