What is Guggul?
Guggul is the yellowish resin (or gum) that is produced by the mukul Commiphora mukul tree, a small, thorny plant that grows throughout northern India. Guggul is also referred as guggul gum, guggal, gugglesterone, guggul, gugulu and gum gugal.
Guggul plays a major role in the traditional herbal medicine of India. It is often combined with other herbs and used in the treatment of arthritis, skin diseases, pains in the nervous system, obesity, digestive problems, infections in the mouth, and menstrual problems.
The mukul myrrh tree is closely related to the Commiphora Mukul tree (or common myrrh). Myrrh was one of the first medicines with hieroglyphic notation of use during ancient Egyptian times depicting its many uses. With such a close relation, many scientists believe that Guggul may have many of the same properties as Myrrh as even their ancient status is similar.
Indian researchers discovered an ancient Sanskrit medical text, Sushruta Samhita, in the 1960s. This classical medical text prescribed guggul for the treatment of medoroga, a disease that closely resembles the symptoms of high cholesterol and hardening of the arteries. Indian scientists subsequently tested animals and found that guggul gum both lowered cholesterol levels and protected against the development of hardening of the arteries. These trials culminated in a pilot study that examined guggul's effectiveness in humans. Although the evidence that it works remains preliminary, the Indian government was sufficiently impressed to approve guggul as a treatment for high cholesterol.
In the Sushruta Samhita, guggul was also suggested for fat loss and the relief of arthritis. Some recent studies have noted benefits for these conditions as well as acne and other conditions. The guggul used in ancient times, as well as that first used after the rediscovery, was a crude, powdered form. The supplements that are available worldwide are a more refined form.