Botanical: Commiphora mukul (makul)
Family: Burseraceae (frankincense)
Other common names: Guggulu, Guggul, Guggulow, Indian Bedellium, Mukul Myrrh, Makkul,
Gum Guggul has been used for centuries in India to treat arthritis, poor circulation and obesity. Today, it is believed to lower cholesterol levels in the blood, reduce high blood pressure, ease arthritis and enhance the immune system. It is also thought to increase metabolism and help in weight loss programs.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
There are many species of small, deciduous, mostly thorny shrubs and trees that belong to the Commiphora genus that are native to India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa and tropical Americas. The trees exude an oleo-gum resin that is known as myrrh, which has been used in the Middle East since Biblical times for infected wounds, bronchial and digestive complaints, and was especially associated with women's health and purification rituals. In India, it was traditionally used to treat poor circulation, dyspepsia, mouth ulcers, gingivitis, menstrual problems and arthritis. The term, "bdellium," can refer to any of the trees that produce myrrh or to the resin or gum that the trees exude. The trees, which remain leafless most of the year, thrive in well-drained soil in full sun in a minimum of fifty to sixty degrees Fahrenheit and produce the pungent, astringent, aromatic oleo-gum resin that is used in herbal medicine. It is interesting to note that cardiovascular disease has been affecting civilization for thousands of years, and practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine understood many of its principles, including arteriosclerosis, and described it in the ancient medical treatises of Charaka Samhita. They understood that "coating and obstructing channels" may result in fatty streaks in blood vessels. To counteract the process, Ayurvedic practitioners have prescribed an amber-like resin that oozes from incisions in the Commiphora mukul, known as Gum Guggul. In the 1960s, the oleo-gum resin was systemically studied for its potential in the treatment of elevated blood cholesterol, or hyper-lipidemia. Continuing research in the 1980s, at the Banaras University in India (and elsewhere), demonstrated that use of Gum Guggul helped to significantly lower serum cholesterol (by an average of 17.3%) and triglycerides (by an average of 30.3%) in 78% of the patients treated, and the positive changes in blood lipids were noticeable after four weeks of therapy with no side effects reported. Gum Guggul has recently been found to contain unique saponins, known as guggulipids, which has been used to relieve many ailments, and other constituents include phytosterols, ferulic acid and the active sterones: Z-guggulstrerone and E-guggulsterone.
Gum Guggul has been thought to support cardiovascular health. A specific, neutral fraction known as guggulsterone E and Z (pregname derivatives) act to reduce overall cholesterol levels. Gum Guggul is said to lower low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) or "bad" cholesterol, while it raises high-density lipoproteins (increase HDLs) or "good" cholesterol. Moreover, it is also thought to reduce triglyceride levels of (sometimes called "ugly" cholesterol) and what is referred to as (deadly) lipoprotein-A. This latter is particularly disturbing, because it may be written into our genetic codes and be responsible for a very high rate of cardiovascular disease at a young age. Lowering cholesterol not only helps to reduce platelet aggregation (clotting), but is also works to reduce hypertension and improve blood circulation. These factors may help reduce the risk of heart attacks, arteriosclerosis and strokes.
Studies have demonstrated that Gum Guggul may increase the activity of the thyroid hormones and thus enhance metabolism, which may be beneficial in cases of obesity. In fact, the herb has been promoted in weight loss programs.
Gum Guggul has recently been found to contain unique saponins, known as gugulipids that have anti-inflammatory effects and are said to be helpful in cases of arthritis and joint inflammation.
Gum Guggul is also thought to possess antioxidant properties that help to prevent free radical or oxidative damage to body tissue and cells, and its use is thought to help strengthen the immune system. The guggulipids are believed to stimulate white blood cells' activity - those immune system cells that destroy invading organisms and disease.
Currently, there are no warnings or contraindications with the use of Gum Guggul Herbal Supplement, but minor gastric upset, mild diarrhea or rash may possibly occur with its use. Speak with your physician before taking Gum Guggul if you are taking blood thinning medicine (examples: aspirin, clopidogrel, ticlopidine, warfarin, etc.) or high blood pressure or migraine medication.