Other common names for guggul:
Gum GugguluIndian Bedellium
The mukkul myrrh tree is a medium-sized, thorny tree found throughout India. Guggul and gum guggulu are the names of the yellowish resin exuding from its trunk. This resin is the source of the modern extracts of guggul.
Guggul has been used to lower serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and to treat arthritis and obesity. It is used in ayurvedic medicine to increase circulation, stimulating healthy circulation to the skin and through the veins.
Benefits of guggul for specific health conditions include the following:
* Acne. A small-scale clinical test found that treating nodulocystic acne with guggulsterones, compounds found in guggul, for three months was as effective as using tetracycline, and produced a 50 percent lower rate of recurrence. Guggulsterones were especially effective in treating this painful form of acne in people with oily skin. This effect is striking because guggulsterones act only by limiting inflammation, and allow the body's own immune processes to do the work of fighting the infection.
* Congestive heart failure and high cholesterol. Guggul extracts lower blood-cholesterol levels by stimulating the incorporation of cholesterol into the linings of cells, where it is beneficial, and by increasing the excretion of excess cholesterol into the bile to be removed with intestinal wastes. It also stimulates the liver to "grab" low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol from the bloodstream for processing into high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good") cholesterol. Clinical tests in India have found that about 75 percent of people who used guggulsterones for three months saw their total blood-cholesterol and triglyceride levels go down by 20 to 25 percent. About half the people who used the herb for three months saw higher HDL levels. Clinical studies in India have also found that guggulsterones are especially helpful for people who have high cholesterol levels because of kidney disease.
Guggul is taken in the form of guggulsterones, an extract of the resin that has been refined to prevent abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. A common dose is 25 milligrams of guggulsterones three times daily. This herb is also available as an ayurvedic preparation called a rasayana. In addition, guggul is available in tinctures, and in combinations with other "heart-healthy" substances, such as hawthorn, ionositol, and/ or niacin.
You should not use crude guggulu, which can cause nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and skin rashes. Guggul should be used with caution by people who have Crohn's disease or irritable bowel syndrome. It also should be avoided by people taking beta-blockers, especially propranolol (Inderal, Inderide), or calcium channel blockers, especially diltiazem (Cardizem), for high blood pressure, since it can make these medications less available to the body. Guggul should be used with caution by pregnant women and by anyone with liver disease or inflammatory bowel disease and diarrhea.