Guggul, Commiphora mukul, whole resin 1:3 extract in ethanol and water.
Guggul, more popularly known as Bdellium, is derived from the gummy resinous exudate of a plant closely related to myrrh that is found in arid to semi-arid areas of Northern India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The Sanskrit definition of the term "guggul" is "one that protects against diseases." This attests to the wide respect and therapeutic Ayurvedic applications for this botanical, considered the most important for the removal of "ama," toxic substances which accumulate as a result of sluggish digestion and circulation associated with a slowing of metabolism. The following are the main benefits of guggul, based on traditional Ayurveda:
- As a pain relieving analgesic, guggul is claimed to relieve pain, skin and other inflammations as well as to promote healing of the underlying cause. It is recommended for those whose work involves a lot of back bending followed by stiffness and pain. For the zealous gardener, the yoga practitioner or after a strenuous gym workout, guggul may effectively relieve the stiffness and pain within hours rather than days.
- Guggul may lower serum triglycerides and cholesterol.
- Guggul is warming and stimulates metabolism and the thyroid gland, a benefit in hypothyroid disease.
- Guggul has also been shown to reduce the stickiness of platelets - another effect that lowers the risk of coronary artery disease.
In modern days, Guggul has been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Trials in animals have shown encouraging results for the potential use of the alcoholic extract as a natural anti-inflammatory and cholesterol lowering alternative. However, the general view is that more evidence based research is needed to confirm this beneficial effects in humans.
Caution: Guggul gum is generally regarded as safe by the FDA, however those who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or liver conditions should avoid using guggul gum. Recent studies suggest that guggul gum should be used cautiously by those taking other prescription drugs, particularly statins used to lower cholesterol, and should not be taken with St. John's wort or paracetamol. Do not take in pregnancy.
Note: Another 100% natutal and efficient cholesterol lowering product, with plenty of evidence for its pharmacological properties, is red yeast rice. Red yest rice was the source for making a lipid lowering drug still in use today. However, the red yeast rice powder and capsules were recently restricted and are now available only on prescription.
2. Guggul for hyperlipidemia: a review by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Complement Ther Med. 2005 Dec;13(4):279-90. Epub 2005 Sep 23