Guggulu: The Magical Herb of the Millennium
Guggulu or Commiphora mukul has grabbed the attention of Medical Scientists and researchers all over the world. Guggulu is a traditional ayurvedic remedy and has been used for thousands of years.
Guggulu, in Sanskrit means “One that protects us from Disease”. The Guggulu tree is about 1.5 to 2 meters tall and grows in the wild dry lands of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Mysore, and Bengal in India along with some parts of Arabia and Africa. The Gum that oozes from the bark of the tree (especially in summer) is the part used in traditional medicine.
In Ayurveda, five different types (or species) of Guggulu are described. The Gum which is bright Golden yellow in color is considered most potent. The Guggulu gum is soft; soluble in water and burns in fire giving a sweet fragrance. It has been observed that the freshly collected Guggulu gum has different medicinal properties than its older counterpart.
Guggulu can be used on its own or in combination with other herbs. The Guggulu gum has active constituents like Z-guggulusterone, gugulipid etc. Research on guggulu has indicated its benefits in several conditions, some of which include:
- Cardiovascular benefits of guggulu and its active constituent guggulusterone 1
- Effects of guggulu extract on pain response in osteoarthritic subjects 2
Ayurvedic description of Guggulu
Guggulu is bitter, pungent, sweet, and astringent in taste, hot in potency, light and unctuous. Guggulu is Tridoshahara, which means it acts on all the three (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) doshas. It can be applied topically as well as taken internally.
Owing to its traditionally believed unctuous and immune boosting properties, gum Guggulu is used for cleaning of wounds, on skin ulcers, on Abscess, hemorrhoids etc. It potentially reduces foul smell (pus) and swelling. It is also traditionally used as an external application in rheumatoid arthritis and fractured bones. Guggulu gum vapors can be used as a disinfectant and deodorant too. Guggulu is also traditionally used for gargling in pyorrhea and dental disorders.
Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Guggulu
Arthritis: Guggulu is traditionally used to support the structure and functions of the musculoskeletal system. Studies suggest that Guggulu acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent and reduces arthritic swelling and pain. It has been indicated that it possesses antioxidant and chondro-protective properties, and potentially rejuvenates the cartilage. Due to its unctuous property, guggulu is an ideal binding agent to prepare tablets and pills. It is extensively used with other herbs and ingredients to prepare hundreds of formulations. Guggulu also potentially increases the effectiveness of the other herbs and increases their bio-availability rendering the combination more potent and effective.
Osteoporosis: Gum Guggulu is traditionally believed to support the structure and the functions of the joints. It is used externally as well as internally to potentially strengthen, repair and rejuvenate the bones. It is also traditionally believed to promote bone growth and mineralization and substantially augment its healing.
Hyperlipidemia (High cholesterol): In Ayurveda, Guggulu is traditionally famed for its fat- burning properties. The resin (Z-guggulusterone) is believed to act on the liver cells and increase the metabolism of fat and bile acids. Studies indicate that it may reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol). It is also known to help in maintaining healthy arteries. In Ayurvedic terminology, Guggulu is described as “Medopachak” meaning “one that digests lipid (fat)”. Modern science has endorsed this therapeutic effect through scientific research.
Thyroid disorders: Gum Guggulu, is also traditionally believed to maintain the healthy functioning of the thyroid gland. Research has indicated that Guggulu protects the thyroid hormone secreting cells from oxidative damage and autoimmunity. It improves the function of the thyroid glands and can be valuable in thyroid dysfunctions.
Obesity: Guggulu is a recommended traditional remedy for maintaining healthy weight. It potentially increases the catabolism of lipids and thus increases their excretion from the body.
Circulatory system: Guggulu is traditionally believed to improve blood supply to the concerned organs and studies indicate that it is potentially useful in dissolving blood clots.
Kidney stones: Guggulu is also traditionally used to support the structure and functions of the kidneys. Clinical tests have indicated that when mixed with the other herbs like Gokhura (Tribullus terestris), and Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa) Guggulu may help in dissolving and breaking down kidney stones and facilitate their expulsion.
Skin health: Guggulu is traditionally believed to possess immune boosting properties and is employed to maintain healthy skin.
Gynecological disorders: Clinical studies have indicated that Guggulu may benefit in many gynecological disorders like Dysmenorrhea, Leucorrhea, and Infertility etc. Fresh Guggulu may also be used as an Aphrodisiac and help to increase sperm count.
Rejuvenation: – Fresh Guggulu belongs to the rasayana group of ayurvedic herbs that are revered for their rejuvenating properties. It potentially acts on all the tissues and improves their metabolism.
To conclude, Guggulu, as stated in Ayurveda is literally the “Protector” because of its multifarious properties. Being herbal in origin, Guggulu is safe for consumption within therapeutic doses. Guggulu needs to be purified (as described in Ayurveda) by a specific process, if it is to be used as a medicine.
Since, modern science and growing research havealso now started opening up to the therapeutic prowess of Gum Guggulu as stated in Ayurveda, it is no wonder that in the coming years Guggulu may be considered as one of the wonder drugs on the planet and be called the “Magical Herb of the Millennium”
To know more about this wonderful herb, or have it included in your health regimen, please consult with our doctors available round the clock at www.biogetica.com now!
Dr Khyati Dave is a licensed Homeopathy Physician and Nutritional Consultant. With Biogetica, she has witnessed many patients, who had otherwise given up hope, heal faster supplemented by our natural methods. She considers consulting Biogetica patients her primary responsibility and honour. She often writes about nutrition, natural treatment methods and diet. Her mission is to apply her medical talents to help each patient heal faster and do her best to give the immunity of patients with so called ‘incurable’ diseases a fighting chance.