Tylophora (Tylophora asthmatica and Tylophora indica) has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of various ailments such as allergies, asthma, and other conditions associated with the upper respiratory tract. Current research supports its traditional use, finding that tylophora may have health benefits including; anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, antiasthmatic, immunomodulatory, and antispasmodic effects. [1-3]
Research suggests that tylophorine, the active alkaloid component in tylophora, may have possess antihistamine, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory effects. Tylophora may also relieve inflammation by blocking the mast cell release of histamine and other pro-inflammatory compounds. Research has also found that tylophora may improve immunity by stimulating the immune cells that destroy allergy-causing substances, while controlling the allergy antibody’s (called immunoglobulin E or IgE) that contribute to allergic reactions. [4-6]
Tylophora may be used to help treat respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. [7-9] One double-blind, cross-over study of 103 asthma patients demonstrated therapeutic effects in 56% of the patients when treated with tylophora over a one week period. However, at the end of the study’s twelve week period, therapeutic effects were demonstrated in only 14.8% of patients treated with tylophora, suggesting that tylophora’s benefits may be short-lived. [1, 8]
Another double-blind study found a decrease in symptoms in 135 bronchial asthma patients treated with tylophora for six days. In this study, patients continued to show improvement for up to two weeks after treatment. [1, 9] Clearly, more human studies are needed to determine tylophora’s antiasthmatic benefits.
Tylophora may help treat respiratory allergies such as hay fever. Several preliminary in vivo and in vitro studies have suggested that tylophora may suppress cellular immune responses such as contact sensitivity and delayed hypersensitivity. [5-6] Again, further research is needed to determine tylophora’s antihistamine and immunomodulatory benefits in humans.
Dosage: Tylophora capsules, 250 mg (standardized to 0.1% tylophorine), 2 times daily with meals. [1-2]
Delivery Forms: Capsules.
- Pregnant and lactating women and children should not take supplemental tylophora, unless recommended by a health care provider.
- Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, and slight mouth soreness.
- Due to its potential interactions, individuals should avoid combining tylophora with bronchodilator medications, unless under medical supervision.
- Always inform your health care provider about the dietary supplements you are taking, due to the potential for adverse side effects, interactions, and/or allergy.
1. Pizzorno JE and Murray MT, eds. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, revised 2nd edition, CA: Prima Publishing, 1998: 270-271
2. Tylophora, Dietary Supplement Information Bureau:
3. Asthma, Dietary Supplement Information Bureau: http://content.nhiondemand.com/dse/consumer/HC3.asp?objID=100218&cType=hc
4. Atal CK, et al. Immunomodulating Agents of Plant Origin. I: Preliminary Screening. J Ethnopharmacol. 1986;18(2):133-41.
5. Ganguly T, Badheka LP, Sainis KB. Immunomodulatory effect of Tylophora indica on Con A induced lymphoproliferation. Phytomedicine. 2001 Nov;8(6):431-7.
6. Ganguly T, Sainis KB. Inhibition of cellular immune responses by Tylophora indica in experimental models. Phytomedicine. 2001 Sep;8(5):348-55.
7. Miller AL. The etiologies, pathophysiology and alternative complementary treatment of asthma. Altern Med Rev 2001 Feb;6(1):20-47
8. Shivpuri DN, et al. Treatment of asthma with an alcoholic extract of tylophora indica: a cross-over, double-blind study. Ann Allergy. 1972 Jul;30(7):407-12.
9. Gupta S et al. Tylophora indica in bronchial asthma–a double blind study. Indian J Med Res. 1979 Jun;69:981-9.