Guggul is a resin which is produced by the stem of the commiphora mukul tree, a relatively small, thorny plant native to India. Historically guggul has been used in connection with a wide variety of conditions, including rheumatism and obesity. One of its primary historical indications was for use with a condition known as medoroga, a disease similar to the modern description of atherosclerosis. Standardized guggul extracts are approved in India for lowering elevated serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Guggul contains ketonic steroid compounds known as guggulsterones which are believe to be responsible for guggul's cholestrol- and triglyceride-lowering actions. Not only can guggul lower cholestrol and triglyceride levels but it also lowers LDL and VLDL cholesterols (the bad cholesterols) while raising HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).
Studies also show that guggul may decrease platelet stickiness whereby lowering the risk of coronary artery disease.Guggul for Weight Loss
In some studies, guggul reportedly has shown to increase the production of the thyroid hormone. Since this hormone is involved in the cells' breakdown of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, theoretically this herb should promote weight loss. However, more research is needed to substantiate the effects of guggul supplementation on weight loss.Dosage and Adminstration
Dosage recommendations for guggul are usually based on guggulsterones concentration in the extract. 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.Possible Side Effects
Studies have indicated that guggul can cause side effects in some people, including diarrhea, anorexia, abdominal pain, and skin rash. Modern extracts are more purified and fewer side effects have been reported with long-term use. If you have liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or diarrhea use caution when taking this supplement. Supporting LiteratureMester L, Mester M, Nityanand S. Inhibition of platelet aggregation by guggulu steroids. Planta Medicine 1979;37:367-369.
Nityanand S, Kapoor NK. Hypocholesterolemic effect of Commiphora mukul resin. Indian J Experimental Biology 1971;9:367-377.
Satyavati GV. Gum guggul - The success of an ancient insight leading to a modern discovery. Indian J Med 1988;87:327-335.