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Ayurveda medicinal herb - Guggul

(Commiphora mukul)

GuggulBOTANICAL NAME: - Commiphora mukul

OTHER COMMOM NAMES : Indian Bdellium Gum, Guggulipid, Gum Guggul, Salaitree Gugulipid, Moql, Moqle-arzagi

The mukul myrrh (Commiphora mukul) tree is a small, thorny plant distributed throughout India. Guggul 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.

PARTS USED : Guggul is a tree which exudes a resinous sap out of incisions that are made in its bark. This resin has been used for centuries as part of India's traditional medicine called Ayurveda.


There are ample references to Guggul and its medicinal properties in 'Sushruta Samahita', the classical ancient treatise on Ayurvedic medicine, which describes the use of Guggul for a wide variety of conditions. Some of these are rheumatism, obesity, and atherosclerosis. - In the treatment of arteriosclerosis it is useful in reducing existing plaque in arteries. "Guggul is the best among herbs that are used for obesity and Vata disorders." (Charaka Samhita, Sutra Section, Ch. 25) - Guggul for weight loss: In terms of obesity, Guggul increases body’s metabolic rate,
- Guggul for Thyroid: Guggul improves thyroid function, increases fat-burning activity of the body, and increases thermogenesis or heat production.
- Guggul as cholesterol medication: Guggul helps to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. It has been shown to reduce total cholesterol up to 30% in 3 months. Guggul’s cholesterol regulating properties are especially important in reducing LDL by 35% and increasing HDL by 20% in 12 weeks.
- Guggul for Heart protection:Guggul decreases platelet stickiness and reduces risk of heart disease and stroke.


  • Rasa (taste) Bitter, Pungent
  • Virya (action) Hot
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect) Pungent
  • Prabhav[Special potency] - Rasayana
  • Dosha effect VK-, P+
  • It is alterative, antiatherogenic, antihypercholesterolemic, anti-inflammatory
    (powerful), antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antisuppurative, aperient,
    aphrodisiac, astringent, bitter, carminative, demulcent, diaphoretic,
    disinfectant, diuretic, emmenagogue, enhances phagocytosis, immunostimulant
    (increases leukocytes), stimulating expectorant, stomachic, thyroid stimulant,
    uterine stimulant.

ACTIVE CONSTITUENTS: Guggul contains resin, volatile oils and gum. The extract isolates ketonic steroid compounds known as guggulsterones. These compounds have been shown to provide the cholesterol- and triglyceride-lowering actions noted for guggul.1 Guggul significantly lowers serum triglyceride's and cholesterol as well as LDL and VLDL cholesterols (the “bad” cholesterols).2 At the same time, it raises levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol). As antioxidant's, guggulsterones keep LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, an action which protects against atherosclerosis.3 Guggul has also been shown to reduce the stickiness of platelets—another effect that lowers the risk of coronary artery disease.4 One double-blind trial found guggul extract similar to the drug clofibrate for lowering cholesterol levels.5Other clinical trials in India (using 1,500 mg of extract per day) have confirmed guggul extracts improve lipid levels in humans.6 A combination of guggul, phosphate salts, hydroxycitrate, and tyrosine coupled with exercise has been shown in a double-blind trial to improve mood with a slight tendency to improve weight loss in overweight adults.7 One small clinical trial found that guggul (Commiphora mukul) compared favorably to tetracycline in the treatment of cystic acne.8 The amount of guggul extract taken in the trial was 500 mg twice per day.

GUGGUL DOSAGE: Dosage recommendations for guggul are usually based on guggulsterones concentration in the extract. 9 A typical dosage of guggulsterones is 25 mg three times per day. Most extracts can be taken daily for 12 to 24 weeks for lowering high cholesterol and/or triglycerides.


Known Hazards: Although the use of guggul in therapeutic doses appears to be safe and non-toxic, the following precautions are advised. Guggul is considered an emenogogue (an agent that promotes the menstrual discharge) and a uterine stimulant, and should not be used during pregnancy. Possible diarrhea, hiccups, restlessness, apprehension.
In addition, caution is recommended with patients currently on prescribed medications for cardiovascular disease. Due to the diuretic action of this herb the following drug interactions are possible: increased risk of toxicity with anti-inflammatory analgesics; if hypokalemia occurs possible antagonism with antiarrhythmics and potentiation of muscle relaxants; antagonizes antidiabetic (hypoglycemic) drugs; may potentiate and/or interfere with antihypertensives; may potentiate lithium therapy; when taken with corticosteroids there is a risk for hypokalemia; may potentiate other diuretics and increase the risk of hypokalemia.

Important points to be noted: When administering guggulu

In accordance with the principles of Ayurvedic medicine, the following points must be considered:

1. Guggul resin is produced more abundantly and is stronger in potency during the season of autumn; hence, Ayurveda states that guggul resin must be collected in autumn.

2. Different selections of guggul resin have different therapeutic actions based on the age of the guggulu. Freshly collected guggulu has a Brumhana (weight increasing) quality, where as Purana guggul (guggul which is at least one year old) has an Atilekhana (weight reducing) quality.

3. Shuddha Guggul: Guggul has to be purified in cow's milk in order to remove toxic substances and render the guggulu easily absorbable. Ayurveda specifies Shodhana (purification) as one of the important procedures before oral administration of guggul. To purify guggul in this manner, it should be wrapped in a sack of cotton cloth and dipped in simmering cow's milk, which must be continuously stirred until all the pure substance of the guggul is absorbed into the milk. When this process is complete, the milk containing the pure guggul gum resin will be solidified and the cotton sack containing the impurities or toxins of the guggulu is to be discarded.

4. Classical Ayurvedic texts never recommend administering guggulu alone; it has to be given along with other herbs in compounds such as Triphala Guggul, Kaishore Guggul, Trayodashanga Guggul, Yogaraja Guggul, Kanchanara Guggul, etc. The administration of guggulu with other herbs has the effect of purging Ama (toxic, morbid substance) from the body.

5. Finally, during the course of using guggulu one should avoid the following: foods that are sour or bitter in taste, alcohol, excessive exercise, physical and mental strain, anger, and exposure to direct sunlight.

1. Satyavati GV. Gum guggul (Commiphora mukul)-The success of an ancient insight leading to a modern discovery. Indian J Med 1988;87:327-35.
2. Nityanand S, Kapoor NK. Hypocholesterolemic effect of Commiphora mukul resin (Guggal). Indian J Exp Biol 1971;9:367-77.
3. Singh K, Chander R, Kapoor NK. Guggulsterone, a potent hypolipidaemic, prevents oxidation of low density lipoprotein. Phytother Res 1997;11:291-4.
4. Mester L, Mester M, Nityanand S. Inhibition of platelet aggregation by guggulu steroids. Planta Med 1979;37:367–9.
5. 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.
6. Nityanand S, Srivastava JS, Asthana OP. Clinical trials with gugulipid—a new hypolipidemic agent. J Assoc Phys India 1989;37:323-8.
7. 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.
8. Thappa DM, Dogra J. Nodulocystic acne: oral gugulipid versus tetracycline. J Dermatol 1994;21:729-31.
9. Brown D, Austin S. Hyperlipidemia and Prevention of Coronary Artery Disease. Seattle, WA: NPRC, 1997, 4-6.