The mukul myrrh (Commiphora mukul) tree is a small, thorny plant distributed throughout India. Guggul (aka Guggulsterone) and gum guggulu are the names given to a yellowish resin produced by the stem of the plant. This resin has been used historically and is also the source of modern extracts of guggul (aka guggulsterone).
There are about eighty species in the Commiphora genus that grow from India to Greece, but two of the most well-known are guggul (C. mukul) and myrrh (C. myrrha). Both plants produce a resin that has been used both as a perfume or incense, and as a medicine. Guggul has a long history of use in India as an aid for weight loss, as an anti-inflammatory in arthritis rheumatism, and as a remedy for skin disorders such as acne. It has also been used for neurological diseases, hemorrhoids and water retention.
Guggulsterone appears to have antiplatelet and anticoagulant activity, so it would inhibit the formation of blood clots in the circulatory system. Because of this, caution should be used when taking guggul with aspirin, NSAIDs and blood thinners.
Guggul may also help to lower lipoprotein (a) and C-reactive protein, two blood factors known to have a link with inflammation and heart disease. Because of these benefits, it is clear that guggul can be a valuable aid in preventing heart disease.
One of the common uses for guggul in India is to aid in weight loss. Part of the reason why guggul may be helpful here is because it acts as a thyroid stimulant. It appears to increase the conversion of T4, the storage form of the thyroid hormone, into T3, the active form. This would increase metabolism and the burning of fat in the body, including helping to lower triglycerides.
Possible Health Benefits
- Lowers Cholesterol
- Aids with Weight Management
- Thyroid Support
- Heart Aid
- Neurological Disorders
- Water Retention
Resources to Dig Into
Antonio J, Colker CM, Torina GC, et al. Effects of a standardized guggulsterone phosphate supplement on body composition in overweight adults: A pilot study. Curr Ther Res 1999;60:220-7.
Brown D, Austin S. Hyperlipidemia and Prevention of Coronary Artery Disease. Seattle, WA: NPRC, 1997, 4-6.
Malhotra SC, Ahuja MMS, Sundarum KR. Long-term clinical studies on the hypolipidemic effect of Commiphora mukul (guggul) and clofibrate. Ind J Med Res 1977;65:390-5.
Mester L, Mester M, Nityanand S. Inhibition of platelet aggregation by guggulu steroids. Planta Med 1979;37:367-9.
Nityanand S, Kapoor NK. Hypocholesterolemic effect of Commiphora mukul resin (Guggal). Indian J Exp Biol 1971;9:367-77.
Nityanand S, Srivastava JS, Asthana OP. Clinical trials with Gugulipid-a new hypolipidemic agent. J Assoc Phys India 1989; 37:323-8.
Satyavati GV. Gum guggul (Commiphora mukul)-The success of an ancient insight leading to a modern discovery. Indian J Med 1988;87:327-35.
Singh K, Chander R, Kapoor NK. Guggulsterone, a potent hypolipidaemic, prevents oxidation of low density lipoprotein. Phytother Res 1997;11:291-4.
Szapary PO, Wolfe ML, Bloedon LT, et al. Guggulipid for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia: an randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2003;290:765-72.
Thappa DM, Dogra J. Nodulocystic acne: oral gugulipid versus tetracycline. J Dermatol 1994;21:729-31.