Guggul, botanically known as commiphora mukui or commiphora wightii, is a small shrub found in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan and one of the oldest and most famous herbs in Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) and has benefits in pooja. It is recognized for its strong purifying properties and used for almost every kind of illness.
Also known for its common names guggal, olegum, gum guggulu and gugulipid, the gugul shrub has small leaves and red flowers. Indian bdellium-tree or Mukul myrrh tree is a flowering plant in the Burseraceae family. It has thorny branches and bears soft fruits that are elliptical in shape.
Who Would Benefit From It
Widely used to combat obesity, guggul (Commiphora Mukul) is a fat burning agent and a weight loss stimulant known all over the world.
Guggulipid, a compound that comes from guggul, also contains plant sterols capable of lowering bad cholesterol. In 1986, it was permitted for marketing in India as a cholesterol-lowering agent.
Another chemical compound called Guggulsterone is being studies for its anti-tumor and anti-disease activity.
To traditionally process guggul, the resin from the plant stems is placed into a bag of thick, coarse cloth and then boiled in pure water. When soft, it is then spread out on a wooden board where it is mixed evenly with clarified butter and allowed to air dry. The dried gum is again cooked in butter then finely powdered to form the medicine.
Guggul Health Benefits and Uses
Ayurvedic medicine practitioners often blend guggul extract with other natural substances to cure health complications such as urinary tract infections, joint pains, and hemorrhoids. It is also said to be a form of alternative health remedy for acne.
Other benefits of guggul include:
- eases menstrual pain
- relieves tonsillitis and mouth ulcers
- lessens swelling
- lowers blood pressure levels
- acts as blood purifier
- strengthens the heart and digestive system
- improves immune system
Traditionally, burning guggul is a uterine stimulant, making it helpful in regulating menstruation. As with other resins, it is excreted through the mucus membranes, skin, and kidneys. Since it is an antiseptic, it is particularly useful for the urinary tract and for a wide number of skin diseases.
Guggul also serves as an antipyretic. It is also used to cure bronchitis, whooping cough, and other respiratory ailments. Fumes from the burning gum can be inhaled to alleviate chronic nasal congestion and hay fever.
The warming circulatory properties of this herbal medicine also serve as a potent aphrodisiac. It can also provide relief from bloating and gas.
Guggul may be taken by anyone suffering from pain, including arthritis, headaches, back discomfort and body stiffness. People with tendency towards obesity, skin diseases, and those with low immune system may also benefit from it.
It’s also been used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine to treat atherosclerosis and rheumatism. Further clinical trials are being done to evaluate its efficacy against acne and candida yeast.
Studies are ongoing on using Guggul leaves extract in weight loss. There is growing interest in herbal supplements of guggulu for weight loss.
Side Effects of Guggul
Use of the herb should be avoided by pregnant or lactating women. No studies have been done on safe use past four months so don’t use for prolonged periods. The most common side effects are minor and include headache, upset stomach and diarrhea. Also allergic reactions including skin itching may occur. Anyone suffering from hypothyroidism should consult an endocrinologist before taking this herb.
Soon we’ll be posting a review of our favorite brand of Himalaya Guggul.