Objective: Tinospora cordifolia (Thunb.) Miers, Menispermaceae, is a dioecious creeper, a plant of significant medicinal importance in the traditional systems of medicine and designated as Rasayana in Ayurveda. Vegetative parts of this plant are used as drug. This makes it important to choose right material for efficacy, especially if there could be gender-associated differences in contents (both qualitative as well as quantitative) of the medicinally active or important constituents and metabolites.
Methodology: Macro-microscopical studies, physicochemical parameters, HPTLC and in vitro antioxidant activity have been performed as per standard methods.
Results: Present findings have shown that such differences do exist. Male and female plants have different leaf shapes, petiole shapes and length. Quantitative anatomical features also provide basis to distinguish between male and female plants. The size of cortical region, presence of starch grains and mucilage canals were such important feature which was significantly different between the sexes. Total sugar, starch and tannin were also high in female plants. With respect to antioxidant potential and tinosporoside biomarker, female plants were better than male plants.
Conclusion: Our studies have demonstrated that there are gender based differences in morphology, anatomy, physico-phytochemical profiles and antioxidant potential. This study underscores the importance of gender in all the dioecious medicinal plants for their quality control.