- Guggul Extract and Its Possible Health Benefits
- 3 Health Benefits of Guggul + Side Effects
- What is Guggul?
- Active Compounds
- Insufficient Evidence For:
- Lowering Cholesterol
- Osteoarthritis Pain Relief
- Acne Treatment
- Weight Loss
- Animal And Cell Research
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Eye Inflammation
- Pancreatic Inflammation
- Thyroid Effects
- Protective Effects on the Heart
- Protective Effects on the Liver
- Protective Effects on the Brain
- Protective Effects on the Kidneys
- Antimicrobial Effects
- Skin Damage
- Cancer Research
- Safety of Guggul
- Side Effects
- Bleeding Risk
- Risk in Hormone Sensitive Cancers
- Risk in High Cholesterol
- Effects on Thyroid Activity
- Drug Interactions
- Guggul Uses, Benefits & Side Effects – Drugs.com Herbal Database
- Common Name(s)
- What is it used for?
- What is the recommended dosage?
- Further information
- Professional resources
- Shuddha guggulu (Purified Guggulu), its uses, benefits & side effects
- How to make Shuddha guggulu
- Why do we need to purify guggul?
- Medicinal Properties of Shuddha Guggulu
- Benefits & Uses of Shuddha guggulu
- Cardiovascular benefits of guggul
- High blood pressure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Suddha Guggulu Formulations
- Side effects of shuddha guggulu
- Guggul benefits and side effects
- Side effects
- Recommended dosage
Guggul Extract and Its Possible Health Benefits
Lew Robertson/StockFood Creative/Getty Images
Guggul is a fragrant resin produced by secreted by the Mukul myrrh tree (Commiphora mukul) found in India, Central Asia, and North Africa. Guggul has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, to treat a variety of medical conditions from arthritis and acne to hemorrhoids and urinary tract infections. Guggul is also touted as a weight loss stimulant.
Guggul resin is tapped from the tree in much the same way as maple syrup. Harvesting may begin as early as November and continue until late July. The collected resin is then hand-picked to remove foreign matter and allowed to dry.
Once it has been graded for purity, guggul can be used for incense or to make medicinal extracts, powders, and topical salves. Because of its bitter taste, guggul is seldom used to make tea.
Guggul is also known as guggulipid or its Sanskrit name guggulu (meaning “to protect against diseases”). In Ayurvedic medicine, guggul is used to balance the doshas and clear the obstruction of channels.
Alternative practitioners have ascribed guggul with medicinal properties that are believed effective in treating certain conditions, such as:
- High cholesterol
- Joint pain
- Intestinal worms
- Liver disease
- Sinus infection
- Skin ulcers
- Urinary tract infections
For the most part, there is little clinical evidence to support these claims. With that being said, guggul does have properties that warrant further investigation. Most of the current research is focused on a substance in guggul known as steroid guggulsterone, which is known to suppress an enzyme central to the metabolism of cholesterol.
Although guggul is widely used in India to fight high cholesterol, the current evidence is largely mixed as to whether it actually works or not.
A 2009 study involving 43 adults with moderately high cholesterol found that those who took 2,160 milligrams of guggul in capsule form every day had a greater drop in total cholesterol than those who took a placebo.
On the downside, people who used guggul showed no reduction in their levels of “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or triglycerides or increases in their “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. These are the lipids (fats) that directly influence the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Others studies have shown that guggul may increase LDL, including a small human trial published in 2003 in which a daily 2.5% guggulsterone supplement increased LDL levels by around 10 percent after eight weeks.
Similarly, a 2017 study from Chile found that guggul not only triggered lipid abnormalities in mice but also affected liver function, enhanced atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and accelerated death due to ischemic heart disease.
The evidence remains mixed as to whether guggul can “boost metabolism” or “burn fat” as advertised. Although a number of human studies have suggested a benefit, most have been poorly designed or limited by their small size.
Lab studies have been equally conflicted.
On the one hand, 2008 study from the University of Georgia concluded that guggulsterone was able to trigger lipolysis (the breakdown of fat cells) and apoptosis (spontaneous cell death) in certain types of fat cells. On the other, guggulsterone has no effect on adiponectin, the hormone that regulates fat metabolism, according to 2018 research from India.
These contradictory results indicate that much more research is needed before guggul can be officially declared a weight loss aid.
As far-fetched as it may seem, preliminary research suggests that a guggul extract may help fight certain types of cancer. Most of the evidence is test tubes studies in which guggulsterone appears to suppress enzymes (known as protein kinase) that promote tumor growth while stimulating other proteins that trigger apoptosis in tumor cells.
Among some of the tumor cell line partially or fully neutralized in the lab are breast cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, leukemia, liver cancer, and prostate cancer.
According to a 2017 review of studies in Nutrition and Metabolism, guggul extracts were able to reduce the tumor size in mice with medically induced esophageal, pancreatic, or prostate cancer.
Despite the promising results, there is nothing to suggest that the same might occur in humans. At the relative doses prescribed, guggul would ly be toxic, undermining the benefits of treatment. Still, the studies hint at a possible, new avenue of cancer drug research.
Guggul is believed to be relatively safe if used in moderation. Common side effects include headache, nausea, diarrhea, bloating, hiccups, and vomiting. Little is known about the long-term safety of guggul, although medical literature suggests few if any symptoms after 24 weeks of use.
Skin rash and pruritus (itching) unrelated to allergy have been known to occur in people who have taken doses in excess of 6,000 milligrams.
Guggulsterone is a phytosteroid, meaning a plant with hormonal characteristics. Because of this, guggul should be avoided in people with hormone-sensitive conditions breast cancer, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and uterine cancer.
Guggul has also been found to stimulate the thyroid gland. To this end, anyone with a thyroid condition should consult a doctor before using a guggul extract or supplement.
Due to the lack of safety research, guggul should not be used in children, pregnant women, or nursing mothers.
Guggul may inhibit blood clotting and should be avoided in people with bleeding disorders or who are on anticoagulants (“blood thinners”) warfarin. Among some of the other drugs that can interact with guggul are:
- Antifungals Nizoral (ketoconazole) and Sporanox (itraconazole)
- Antihistamines Allegra (fexofenadine)
- Cardizem (diltiazem)
- Estrogen-based contraceptives
- Sedatives Halcion (triazolam) and Xanax (alprazolam)
- Statin drugs Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Mevacor (lovastatin)
Always advise your doctor about any supplements you are taking to avoid interactions and treatment complications.
There are no prescribed guidelines to direct the appropriate use of guggul. When taken as an oral supplement, guggul is formulated in doses ranging from 400 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams. Guggul is generally considered safe when taken within this range. As a rule of thumb, never exceed the recommended dose on the product label.
Do not confuse guggul supplements for guggulsterone supplements, the latter of which is taken in far smaller doses (50 milligrams or less per day).
Guggul supplements, extracts, powders, and salve ointments can be found online and in some health food and supplements stores.
Dietary supplements are largely unregulated in the United States and do not need to undergo the rigorous testing that pharmaceutical drugs do. Because of this, the quality can vary between one brand and the next.
To ensure quality and safety, stick with well-known brands with an established market presence.
While vitamin manufacturers will often voluntarily submit their products for testing and certification by an independent certifying body the U.S.
Pharmacopeia (USP) or ConsumerLab, homeopathic supplements manufacturers rarely do. You need to use your best judgment and try not to be swayed by health claims that may or may not be true.
It is generally unadvised to buy raw guggul resin imported from overseas. In the end, you have no way of knowing whether the product been safely processed or exposed to contaminants, pesticides, pathogens, or other toxins. If you want to create an extract of your own, you can do so with guggul powder rather than raw resin.
For an added layer of safety, choose brands that have been certified organic under the regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Guggul plays an important role in the Ayurvedic tradition as it considered a yogavahi, meaning that it can carry other substances deep into the tissues. To this end, guggul is usually prescribed with other Ayurvedic remedies to help balance the three doshas that constitute your physical, mental, and emotional characteristics.
The Ayurvedic practitioner will prescribe a guggul-based remedy a review of your medical history and a physical exam (including an assessment of your six pulse points). When used for medicine, guggul may be taken internally, applied to the skin as a salve or paste, or gargled to promote oral health.
3 Health Benefits of Guggul + Side Effects
Guggul has long been used as a traditional medicine for a variety of health conditions. There is evidence that the active components inside this plant have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Learn about the potential health benefits of guggul as well as the side effects.
What is Guggul?
Guggul is the most common name for a small medicinal tree Commiphora Mukul (Wightii), which is mostly found in the Indian subcontinent. In Ayurveda, guggul dry gum resin is obtained from the stem of the Guggul tree. It has been used for thousands of years in the Ayurvedic medicine system .
Guggul is one of the oldest Ayurvedic herbs taken orally for a variety of diseases. The term “guggul” in Sanskrit means “protects against diseases”. Guggul supplements are sometimes referred to as guggulipid or guggul lipid .
Despite its long history and purported health benefits, the available clinical research on guggul is limited.
Guggul contains a mixture of sterols, steroids, esters, and alcohols with multiple purported benefits:
- Steroids and sterols: The main active component of guggul is thought to be guggulsterone (E and Z). Other steroids found in guggul include guggulsterone M, dihydroguggulsterone, and guggulsterol Y. These steroidal components may have anti-inflammatory properties 
- Triterpenoids: Myrrhanone (A, B) and Myrrhanol (A, B, C) may have anti-inflammatory activity [2, 4].
- Sesquiterpenoids: Cardinene showed neuroprotective activity in a cell-based study [5, 2].
- Volatile oils: Limonene, Eugenol, Pinene, and Cineole are some of the essential oils extracted from guggul .
- Flavonoids: Quercetin, which may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity .
Insufficient Evidence For:
The following purported benefits of guggul are only supported by limited, low-quality clinical studies. There is insufficient evidence to support the use of guggul for any of the uses listed below. Remember to speak with a doctor before taking guggul. It should never be used as a replacement for approved medical therapies.
A number of older clinical trials performed in India show that guggul may help with high cholesterol. In these studies, supplementation with guggul reduced LDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides [7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12].
However, there is some conflicting evidence. A more recent randomized placebo-controlled trial of 103 healthy adults found that guggul did not improve cholesterol levels, and in fact slightly raised LDL levels. Researchers also noted that the supplement caused an allergic skin reaction in some people .
According to some researchers, the guggul’s effect on cholesterol may be due to its ability to block the bile acid receptor farnesoid x receptor, a key component for the maintenance of cholesterol and bile acid .
Osteoarthritis Pain Relief
According to a study of 30 people with osteoarthritis of at least one knee, supplementation with guggul capsules for 2 months may reduce pain and improve mobility .
Nodulocystic acne is a severe form of acne where nodules and cysts form on the face, chest, and back.
An older study of 20 patients with nodulocystic acne found that oral guggul supplements may reduce inflammation and the frequency of relapses .
There’s some evidence that guggul may actually be ineffective for weight loss.
A pilot study of 58 obese adults did not find a significant difference in weight loss between guggul supplements and placebo .
In a randomized placebo-controlled trial of 20 overweight adults, an oral guggul supplement did reduce body weight, but this reduction was not significantly different from the placebo group. This weight loss may be explained by the diet and exercise program that each subject was instructed to follow .
Animal And Cell Research
No clinical evidence supports the use of guggul for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed below should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Guggul showed anti-inflammatory effects in mice colon cells. It suppressed enzymes causing inflammation in mice .
Also, guggul significantly reduced the severity of colon inflammation in mice .
Guggul reduced inflammatory markers produced by bacteria in rat eyes. It reduced endotoxin production and the production of MMP-2, iNOS, and Cox-2 .
In mice with an inflamed pancreas, guggul inhibited the migration of white blood cells into tissues and suppressed cytokine production, possibly reducing damage .
In an animal study, guggul stimulated the thyroid gland in rats, increasing both iodine uptake and the activity of thyroid enzymes .
Another study in mice found that guggul increased T3 levels, a type of thyroid hormone .
Protective Effects on the Heart
Animal studies show that guggul may protect against heart injury in rats with artificially induced heart damage [23, 24].
Protective Effects on the Liver
Gum extract of an Arabic guggul from the same Commiphora family, C. opobalsamum showed a protective effect on the liver of rats. The gum extract decreased transaminase and alkaline phosphatase enzymes and increased sulfhydryls (a compound that may protect cells) in the liver .
Protective Effects on the Brain
In a mouse study, guggul extracts reduced nerve damage and memory loss in mice with artificially-induced brain damage. Levels of antioxidant amino acids were increased and oxidative stress in the brain was reduced .
Protective Effects on the Kidneys
In a study on mouse kidney cells, guggul suppressed inflammatory molecules COX-2, IL-6, and TNF-alpha
In test-tube studies, guggul showed antibacterial activity against drug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae. Extract also may inhibit both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria .
Another guggul family member, Commiphora molmol, showed anti-parasitic activity by killing worms (Schistosoma mansoni) and their eggs and stopped damage to intestinal tissue in mice infected with worms .
An animal study found that guggul may reduce blood glucose levels and increase insulin levels in diabetic rats .
In a cell study, guggul increased type I collagen production and inhibited the production of enzymes that cause skin damage .
Guggul has not been shown to treat or prevent cancer. The potential effect of guggul in cancer has only been studied in animals and cells.
It’s important to note that many substances have anti-cancer effects in cells, even toxic chemicals. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have medical value. On the contrary, most substances (natural or synthetic) that are researched in cancer cells fail to pass further animal studies or clinical trials due to a lack of safety or efficacy.
With that in mind, researchers have investigated the effects of guggul in animals and cells on the following types of cancer:
Leukemia: Guggul prevented the proliferation of human leukemia cells. It caused cell death by activation of c-Jun N-Terminal kinase (JNK) and suppression of the Akt pathway in tumor cells .
Head and neck cancer: Guggul stopped cell growth in human head and neck cancer cells and killed cancer cells through STAT3 inhibition .
Breast cancer: Guggul reduced MMP-9 production and tumor invasion in human breast cancer cells. It also reduced VEGF receptor (VEGF R2) production and new blood vessel formation in endothelial cells .
Esophageal cancer: Guggul increased Caspase-3 activity and apoptosis in esophageal cancer cells. It reduced tumor formation and growth in mice .
Lung cancer: Guggul reduced NF-kB production and inhibited IkB (NF-kB inhibitor) degradation in lung cancer cells. It also suppressed COX-2, MMP-9, and VEGF, thus inhibiting proliferation and apoptosis .
Pancreatic cancer: Guggul suppressed FXR and reduced cell migration and invasion in human pancreatic cancer cells .
Prostate cancer: Guggul produced caspase-dependent cell death in human prostate cancer cells. It induced cancer cell death by reactive oxygen intermediate (ROI)-mediated JNK production .
Colorectal cancer: Guggul activated Caspase-3 and Caspase-8 enzymes and increased cell death in human colon cancer cells. The size of the tumors was also reduced in mice .
Safety of Guggul
Guggul is considered possibly safe when taken orally.
Clinical research has used guggul safely for up to 24 weeks .
Guggul is ly unsafe during pregnancy. There is some evidence that guggul may stimulate the uterus and promote menstrual flow, making it potentially dangerous during pregnancy. There is not enough evidence to determine the safety of guggul during breastfeeding. Guggul should not be used by those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Some commonly reported side effects of guggul include:
- Upset stomach
- Skin rash
Uncommon side effects include:
- Muscle tissue breakdown (rhabdomyolysis)
These lists do not cover all possible side effects. Let your doctor know if you are experiencing any kind of side effects while taking this supplement.
There’s some evidence that guggul might reduce the clotting ability of the blood. Those with bleeding disorders, taking medications that affect bleeding risk, or undergoing surgery should avoid guggul 
Risk in Hormone Sensitive Cancers
Research suggests that guggul may have activity on estrogen and progesterone receptors. Those with hormone sensitive cancers, such as breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer, should avoid using guggul .
Risk in High Cholesterol
Conflicting evidence shows that guggul may increase LDL levels. Those with high cholesterol who take guggul should do so cautiously .
Effects on Thyroid Activity
Guggul may affect thyroid hormone activity and could interfere with those on therapy for thyroid disorders. Those taking thyroid medications should use guggul cautiously .
If you decide to take guggul (or any other supplement) let your doctor know as there may be unexpected and potentially dangerous interactions with your other medications or health conditions. The drug interactions of guggul are not well researched and there may be more potential interactions beyond the ones discussed here.
Because of guggul’s effect on estrogen receptors, it has a theoretical major interaction with estrogen medications. Do not take guggul while taking hormone replacement therapy.
Other possible drug interactions to be cautious of include:
- Diltiazem 
- Propranolol 
- Thyroid hormone drugs
In the following sections, we’ll discuss the common forms and dosages of guggul that are commercially available. Guggul is not approved by the FDA for medical use. Regulations set manufacturing standards for supplements, but that does not guarantee that they are safe or effective. Speak with your doctor before supplementing.
Guggul supplements are commercially available as oral capsules or tablets. Products are usually standardized by the concentration of guggulsterones.
Guggul is sometimes sold in combination with other natural products.
There is currently insufficient evidence to determine what a safe and effective dose of guggul is.
In clinical trials, doses up to 6,000 mg per day have been used, while the standard dose appears to be 1,000 mg .
Commercially available guggul supplements typically range from 500 to 1,000 mg per dose, which is to be taken once per day.
Guggul Uses, Benefits & Side Effects – Drugs.com Herbal Database
The guggul plant is widely distributed throughout India and adjacent dry regions. The tree is a small shrub with thorny branches. The gum, called “guggul” or “gum guggulu,” is tapped from the stem of the plant, and the fragrant yellow latex solidifies as it oozes out. Excessive production of the gum eventually kills the plant.
Guggul is also known as guggal, gum guggal, gum guggulu, and gugulipid.
What is it used for?
The plant has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries in the treatment of a variety of disorders, most notably arthritis, and as a weight-reducing agent in obesity.
Other traditional uses have included treatment of liver problems, tumors, ulcers and sores, urinary complaints, intestinal worms, swelling, and seizures, and as a heart tonic. In 1986, guggal was approved for marketing in India as a cholesterol-lowering agent.
A commercial product, Guggulow, claiming cholesterol-lowering properties, is widely available on the Internet.
Guggul has been used in the traditional Ayurvedic medical system for centuries and has been studied extensively in India. Commercial products are promoted for lowering cholesterol; however, clinical studies do not support this claim. Anti-inflammatory and heart/blood vessel effects are being evaluated, as well as use in cancer, obesity, and diabetes.
What is the recommended dosage?
Clinical trials are lacking to provide dosage guidelines; however, in a US clinical trial of its ability to lower cholesterol, 75 to 150 mg of guggulsterones were given daily. In a study evaluating the anti-inflammatory effect of guggul, 500 mg of gum guggul were taken 3 times per day.
None identified. Caution may be warranted in patients previously experiencing adverse effects to statins.
Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.
There is little or no information on toxicity with the use of guggul.
1. Guggul. Review of Natural Products. Facts & Comparisons [database online]. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc; December 2011.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
- Guggul (Advanced Reading)
Shuddha guggulu (Purified Guggulu), its uses, benefits & side effects
Shuddha guggulu is a purified guggul used in various ayurvedic formulations. The gum derived from Commiphora wightii (also kwon as mukul myrrh tree or Commiphora mukul) is processed in herbal decoction for its purification and removing impurities.
The purification process does not only remove the impurities, but it also makes it suitable for using in various ayurvedic compounds.
About Commiphora wightii
The plant family of Commiphora wightii is Burseraceae. The oleo-gum-resin extract that is guggul is secreted from the bark of mukul plant. This resin is further processed with triphala decoction to make it usable in the treatment of various diseases.
In literature, Vedas have well described the guggul and its religious and medicinal uses. It has significant religious value in Hindu religion. Its fumes were also used for purifying the surroundings and air.
Bhava Mishra has described medicinal properties of guggul in his book bhavaprakasha Nighantu. According to Bhava Mishra, guggul has anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity characteristics Guggul can help losing weight and reducing joint inflammation and arthritic pain. According to him, it is most efficient herb used for joint disorders and VATA disorders (neurological diseases).
How to make Shuddha guggulu
What are three myrobalans?
The following three fruits of plants are collectively known as three myrobalans or triphala. They are mixed together in equal quantity.
- Chebulic Myrobalan (Harar) – Terminalia chebula
- Emblic Myrobalan (Amla) – Phyllanthus emblica
- Beleric Myrobalan (Behara) – Terminalia bellerica
Procedure for making Shuddha guggulu
- Take 250 grams triphala and 125 grams giloy.
- Grind them to make a coarse powder and mix them.
- Soak the coarse powder of herbs in 4 kg water overnight.
- Heat the water with herbal mixture to make decoction. Simmer the mixture until water remains half.
- Now take 250 grams raw guggul resin and cotton bag.
- Put guggul in cotton bag and bind it with a cotton ribbon.
- Now put this cotton bag into decoction several times, so that guggul melts and extracts into hot decoction. Impurities will remain in the cotton bag.
- Now again simmer the herbal decoction with guggul until it converts into a thick mixture.
- Now, Shuddha guggulu is ready to use. You can dry the mixture under sunlight or directly use this thick mixture in ayurvedic medicines.
Why do we need to purify guggul?
Guggul is extracted and collected from the plant bark. It may be contaminated with germs, bacteria or dust particle, which have no therapeutic use and might cause side effects. Therefore, ayurvedic science has adopted a process of guggul purification before using it therapeutically.
The second reason is to enhance the quality and efficacy of guggul for its anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory properties.
Side effects with purified guggul are reduced after the purification process and it becomes well tolerable in most of people.
The purification process also helps to boost the bioavailability of guggul extract in the human body.
Impure or raw guggul is an irritant in nature and has a very hot potency. Due to which, it produces excess heat in the body and might cause following side effects:
Ras guggul has following side effects
- Stomach upset
- Loose stool
However, these side effects are only reported if guggul is taken in higher dosage, especially above 6 grams per day.
Ayurveda works in more safe way, so to reduce or eliminate above side effects with guggul, it is purified and processed with triphala and giloy decoction.
Shuddha guggulu or purified guggul extract is more suitable for losing weight. It does not cause above side effects in even larger doses as compared to raw guggul gum. It helps in correcting metabolism and removes excess fat from the body.
Medicinal Properties of Shuddha Guggulu
Shuddha guggulu has following important medicinal and healing properties.
- Anti-obesity (burns fat)
- Hypolipidemic (reduces serum lipid levels and cholesterol)
- Anti-inflammatory (guggul reduces inflammation, swelling, redness and tenderness)
- Antioxidants (scavenge free radicals and delay aging)
- Anti-fungal (fights off with yeast infections)
- Antimicrobial (helps with infections due to various microbes)
- Anti-tumor (it aids in tumor necrosis)
- Cardioprotective (guggul prevents coronary artery disease and other heart diseases by preventing deposition of cholesterol plaque in blood vessels)
Benefits & Uses of Shuddha guggulu
Shuddha guggulu is safer for human consumption and free from harmful effects. It is also free from natural impurities and microbes.
Shuddha guggulu can be used in the treatment of obesity because it is purified with triphala decoction. Some triphala extract is also present in the purified guggul, which increases its potency that helps in losing weight fast.
Shuddha guggulu is the main ingredients in various ayurvedic medicines used for weight loss. It helps burning fat and reduces complications of obesity. It further prevents heart diseases in obese people by lowering cholesterol and other lipids. (1, 2, 3, 4)
Cardiovascular benefits of guggul
Shuddha guggulu is a natural cardio protective remedy, which helps reducing cholesterol and triglycerides levels in the blood. Guggulsterone is a chemical constituents found in guggul, which acts as antagonist at FXR (Farnesoid X receptors).
It is required for homeostasis between bile acids and cholesterol. Guggulsterone has hypolipidemic effect, which occurs due to FXR antagonism.
Guggulsterone helps reducing cholesterol by converting cholesterol into bile salts and effusing cholesterol metabolites from the liver. (5, 6, 7, 8)
Shuddha guggulu or purified guggul prevents narrowing of blood vessels and reduces plaque deposition in the arteries. Its action is due to the hypolipidemic effects of guggul in the body. It works well with Allium sativum or Allium cepa. (9)
High blood pressure
Sometimes, atherosclerosis or high lipid levels in the blood are cause of high blood pressure. (10)
In such cases, guggul acts as cholesterol lowering agent. It also helps in atherosclerosis as explained above. Thus, it can help in patients with high blood pressure and high lipid levels.
In ayurveda, it is used for lowering the blood pressure along with PUSHKARMOOL and SARPAGANDHA in KAPHA type people.
Shuddha guggulu herbal combinations such as Simhanada Guggulu, Shiva Guggulu, Vatari Guggulu, yograj guggulu and maha yograj guggulu are used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. All these herbal formulas contain 50% Shuddha guggulu. Simhanada Guggulu and yograj guggulu have better results in the management of rheumatoid arthritis. (11, 12)
In Rheumatoid arthritis, dried ginger powder, giloy (tinospora cordifolia) powder and trikatu powder are used for correcting metabolism. If joint tenderness is main concern, then it can be taken with Giloy Satva.
Then patients are advised for MATRA VASTI with Brihat Saindhavadi Taila. Vatari guggulu is used internally. This combination of treatment helps to manage pain and inflammation due to Rheumatoid arthritis.
Shuddha guggulu gives relief in pain, stiffness and inflammation in osteoarthritis. Various studies have indicated its efficacy in osteoarthritis and knee pain. (15)
Lakshadi guggul, a combination of shuddha guggulu, helps a lot in knee pain and osteoarthritis of other joints. It improves joint movement, reduces pain and joint stiffness. Crepitation sound present in knee joints can be also reduced by using laksha guggulu. (16)
Suddha Guggulu Formulations
In above ayurvedic classical formulations, shuddha guggulu is a main ingredient. Each formulation contains approx. 50% suddha guggulu.
Side effects of shuddha guggulu
Shuddha guggulu is safe when taken in therapeutic dosages and if dosage does not exceed from 6 grams per day. Long-term use of shuddha guggulu is also POSSIBLY SAFE.
Guggul benefits and side effects
Guggul is a plant known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cholesterol-lowering abilities.
Some studies show that when guggul is used alone or in combination with other botanicals, it holds promise in treating arthritis, neurological diseases, hemorrhoids, urinary disorders and skin diseases (1).
- Side effects
- Recommended dosage
The guggul plant has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It contains a plant sterol, known as guggulsterone, along with diterpenes, flavanones and steroid esters, which are believed to be responsible for many of the plant’s therapeutic benefits.
Guggul helps to reduce high cholesterol levels. The results of a study published in Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy, showed that treatment with a combination of diet and guggulipid (made from gum resin of guggul) was as great as the reported lipid-lowering effect of modern drugs.
Fifty milligrams of guggulipid taken twice a day for 24 weeks along with a fruit- and vegetable-enriched diet resulted in a decrease in total cholesterol level by 11.7 percent; a decrease in low density lipoprotein cholesterol (a.k.a. bad cholesterol) by 12.5 percent; and triglycerides by 12 percent.
Levels were unchanged in the placebo group.
In addition, lipid peroxides (indicating oxidative stress) declined 33 percent in the guggulipid group (2).
Researchers believe that the cholesterol-lowering effects of guggul may be attributed to the ability of its bioactive compounds, namely guggulsterone, to antagonize two nuclear hormone receptors involved in cholesterol metabolism (3).
The cholesterol-lowering ability of guggul has also been demonstrated in several animal models, including chicks, domestic pigs, monkeys and rats (4). In one particular animal model, a group of mice with induced cholesterol received an oral dose of 100 mg/kg for seven days, while another other group received treatment by vehicle.
The hepatic cholesterol levels in the mice receiving guggul were significantly decreased in comparison to the control mice that received only a cholesterol‐containing diet (5).
It is important to note that while several studies find guggul to be beneficial in reducing elevated cholesterol, a few other studies suggest no benefit (6).
Larger, controlled studies are needed to better understand this plant’s role in treating hypercholesterolemia.
Guggul has an anti-inflammatory effect. Guggulsterone has been found to potently inhibit the activation of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), a critical regulator of inflammatory responses (7).
According to a paper published in Bioorganic & Medical Chemistry Letters, new triterpenes isolated from guggul gum resin have been show to display a strong anti-inflammatory effect on exudative pouch fluid (inflammatory fluid), angiogenesis, and granuloma weights (a small area of inflammation found in tissues) in mice (8).
Guggul has the potential to fight certain cancers. Several clinical studies show guggulsterone’s ability to cause death of cancer cells.
One study published in Cancer Research, concludes that guggulsterone-induced cell death in human prostate cancer cells is caused by reactive oxygen intermediate -dependent activation of c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK).
JNK are key regulators of cell function that play a main role in stress signaling pathways that regulate biological processes involved in the formation of tumors (9).
Preliminary in vitro results show that guggulsterone treatment has the potential for inhibiting carcinogenic growth and also inducing cancer cell death associated with head and neck cancer (10).
According to Biochemical Pharmacology, guggulsterone inhibits the proliferation of a wide variety of other human tumor cell types including leukemia, multiple myeloma, lung carcinoma, melanoma, breast carcinoma and ovarian carcinoma.
In addition, guggulsterone shows promise in inhibiting the proliferation of drug-resistant cancer cells (11).
Guggul acts as an appetite suppressant. In 2014, researchers set out to investigate the dose dependent (100, 200, 400 mg/kg body weight) effect of guggulsterone on appetite regulating hormones and neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine), which play a major role in obesity-related factors.
It was determined that the higher dose of 400 mg/kg body weight was able to significantly reduce food intake and limit body weight gain over a period of 15 days.
Supplementation also significantly decreased appetite-regulating hormones, glucose, triglyceride levels and increased plasma leptin, serotonin and dopamine levels (12).
Guggul has cardioprotective potential. Studies show that guggul may be a potential preventive and therapeutic agent against the oxidative stress associated ischemic heart disease.
This is believed to be due to its antioxidant and antiperoxidative activity (13).
Guggul may help treat symptoms of osteoarthritis. The results of a study published in a 2003 issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, showed that guggul concentrated extract caused a significant improvement in symptoms in the participants.
Thirty male and female participants were given 500 mg of guggul concentrated exact along with food three times a day. Symptoms such as pain and stiffness improved around the one month mark and continued to improve at the two-month follow up (14).
Guggul has antioxidant activity. The antioxidant activity of guggul is attributed to the presence of guggulsterone. It is believed that the protective action of this plant sterol might be due to its free radical scavenging property.
Studies show that the antioxidant property of guggul has the ability to stop the hardening of arteries, reduce the stickiness of platelets and also lower the risk of coronary artery disease.
Guggul may help treat cystic acne. One controlled trial found that guggul compared favorably to tetracycline (a prescribed acne medication) in treating cystic acne.
Researchers noted a 68 percent reduction in inflammatory lesions with guggulipid (equivalent to 25 mg guggulsterone) compared to a 65 percent reduction with tetracycline (15).
Researchers are hopeful that guggul may be a future alternative to tetracycline and similar drugs which often come with troublesome side effects.
Reported side effects of guggul include headache, mild nausea, loose stools, burping, hiccups and skin rash.
Very high doses have been linked to liver toxicity (16).
Guggul should not be taken by those taking blood thinners, aspirin or NSAIDs due to the increased risk of bleeding.
It should not be taken by those taking thyroid supplements, have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism as guggul may stimulate the thyroid gland (17).
Further clinical trials are needed to provide safe dosage guidelines.
The dosages used in studies have varied depending on the condition being treated as well as the form used: plant extract, gum resin or guggulsterones in isolation.
Guggul is a plant long used in Ayurvedic medicine and is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cholesterol-lowering abilities. Guggulsterone — a plant sterol — has been identified as one of the major active components. A number of other bioactive constituents including diterpenes, flavanones and steroid esters have also been identified.
This versatile plant is also being studied for the treatment of arthritis, neurological diseases, hemorrhoids, urinary disorders and skin diseases.