Guggul (Commiphora Wightii) – An Overview, Benefits And Side Effects


If you haven’t come across Guggul (Commiphora wightii), then it’s a herb that commonly found in Northern India. The pronunciation of Guggul sounds similar to “Google”. It offers incredible health benefits. So, as you scroll ahead, you can check out more about the herb, the health benefits, and the side effects.

What is Guggul (Commiphora wightii)?

Known as Mukul myrrh tree, it is a flowering plant that hails from the family, Burseraceae. While the shrub grows to a maximum height of 4 meters, the flowers are either red or pink in color.

Usually, the plant is grown in regions where the climatic condition is arid or semi-arid. The natural extract called guggulipid has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for almost 3000 years. Basically, Guggul is composed of many substances. These include steroids, triterpenoids, volatile oils, flavonoids, and sesquiterpenoids.

While the active compound, guggulsterone helps to reduce fat and is known for anti-inflammatory properties, flavonoids like Quercetin help in protecting the nervous system.

Among the Triterpenoids, Myrrhanone and Myrrhanol are recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties. On the other hand, volatile oils like Cineole, Pinene, Eugenol, and Limonene help to kill germs and are considered for its antiseptic properties.

Health Benefits of Guggul (Commiphora Wightii)

Helps in Lowering Cholesterol

It increases good cholesterol level, the natural extract helps in reducing bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein. The herb also plays a vital role in removing bile and increases the absorption of lipid-protein by the liver. Moreover, the extract controls the formation of enzymes that lead to the formation of free radicals and change the level of LDL.

Aids to Lose Weight

According to a study, it has always helped to reduce fat even when mice are on a high-fat diet. As the activity of the enzymes is increased to a certain extent, the herb prevents the thickening of blood vessels and in maintaining body weight. The change was observed when Guggul was administered to rabbits.

Reduces inflammation

This herb is far more capable to reduce the amount of inflammatory cytokine NF-κB as well as the target molecules. Moreover, this alleviates swelling and the risk of getting affected by numerous inflammatory diseases. The extract also aids in keeping interleukins and prostaglandins inactive.

Reduces the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

As the herb reduces swelling around the joints, it relieves the person from pain and stiffness. In fact, regular consumption of this natural herb enhances the power to tolerate osteoarthritis.

Offers Relief from Bowel Diseases

Due to the anti-inflammatory effects, Guggul suppresses the formation of harmful enzymes. In tests conducted with mice, the herb always helps to keep the mice away from the consequences of colon inflammation.

Moving ahead, since the herb reduces the production of endotoxin along with Cox-2, iNOS, and MMP-2, the severity of eye inflammation is considerably reduced.

Treats Acne

If you have acne all around your face, then you should always use the extract of this natural property. The herb serves to be a natural remedy especially when acne is observed on oily skin. Apart from this benefit, Guggul can be known to reduce inflammation that can eventually damage the skin.

Good for the Thyroid Gland

When Guggul was given to rats, it not only helped to increase the level of iodine but also helped to boost the activity of thyroid enzymes. As the thyroid starts functioning in a better way, a difference in the oxygen intake is observed.

Acts as an Antioxidant

Since Guggul curbs the production of oxygen free radicals, it protects the tissues against damage. It can actually be useful when the person is undergoing treatment for oxidative stress-related diseases. The antioxidant action protects the heart in mice by enhancing the blood supply.

So, if you are someone who needs a solution for chest pain, then you should think about taking Commiphora Wightii.

Protects the Liver

The gum extract of Commiphora Wightii aids in protecting the liver in mice. As the level of transaminase and alkaline phosphatase enzymes decreases, the increase in sulfhydryls reduces liver damage and protects the liver cells.

Boosts Brain Activity

Owing to the positive effect on the brain, its extract aids in improving brain activity and preventing the organ from getting damaged. As it aids to increase the level of antioxidant amino acids, oxidative stress is considerably reduced.

May Reduce the Blood Sugar Level

In the case of diabetic rats, Guggul aids in reducing the glucose level in the bloodstream. Apart from preventing pancreatic cell damage, the substance stimulates the secretion of insulin. In fact, type 2 diabetic patients should prefer taking Guggul because it blocks the bile acid receptors that are associated with secreting insulin.

Helps in Protecting the Kidneys

As stated earlier, Guggul suppresses prostaglandins as well as interleukins. This, in turn, prevents kidney damage as it was observed in mice. Ways beyond, kidneys can be protected due to the suppression of nitric oxide, NF-kB, IL-6, and TNF-alpha.

Reduces the Risks of Respiratory Diseases

While bile acids can impact the respiratory function, the excess levels can be harmful to the lungs. So, as Guggul suppresses the receptor, farnesoid-X receptor, there’s nothing to worry about respiratory diseases.

Inhibits Formation of Blood Clots

Just like conventional drugs, Guggul prevents blood clots and platelet aggregation. In case the person is suffering from a heart ailment, then the natural extract decreases the adhesive activity of platelets and reduces the chances of blood clotting. In the end, regular intake of Guggul can help to deal with heart-related problems.

Reduces Hardening of Blood Vessels

Since Guggul reduces the cholesterol level, toxic substances are never formed inside the body. This keeps the blood pressure under control and keeps the person away from conditions like arteriosclerosis.

Protects Gums and Teeth

Due to the presence of essential oils, Guggul can actually keep the oral mucous membranes, gums, and teeth healthy. In case you have undergone dental surgery, then it’s better to get instant relief by chewing Guggul.

For protecting the teeth, you need to mix Guggul in water and rinse the mouth thoroughly several times during the day.

Improves Digestion

Since Guggul clears excess Kapha, it has an effect on digestion. It not only supports weight management but also assists in the digestion of fats and oils. As Kapha is cleared due to the bitter and pungent taste, you can think about mixing Guggul powder in water and enjoying it as an appetizer.

Supports Menstrual Cycles

Doctors usually recommend women to take a herbal supplement rich in Guggul. The powder certainly helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and mitigate menstrual disturbances. In the end, the herb helps in reducing pain due to menses.

Kills Cancer Cells

By killing the cancer cells, Guggul helps to combat cancer. Apart from reducing the cancer cell growth, the herb decreases the formation of blood vessels. Taking Guggul can serve to be beneficial whenever the person is suffering from leukemia, and prostate, head, neck, lung, or breast cancer.

While the target receptors are inhibited, the natural extract helps to reduce the number of reactive oxygen species along with the inflammation. So, here’s a glimpse of how Guggul can be effective in treating various types of cancer.

  • For a patient with leukemia, the herb prevents the spread of human leukemia cells. Eventually, it kills the cells by making c-Jun N-Terminal Kinase (JNK) and by suppressing the Akt pathway leading to the tumor cells.
  • Guggul can reduce the severity of head and neck cancer. This occurs through STAT3 inhibition which kills the cancer cells present in the head as well as the neck.
  • In the case of breast cancer, Guggul reduces the production of MMP-9 and the growth of tumors within the breast cancer cells. While VEGF receptor (VEGF R2) production is substantially reduced, the herb prevents the new blood vessel formation among the endothelial cells.
  • When Guggul was administered to mice suffering from Esophageal cancer, the tumor formation was reduced to a certain extent. The change was observed since Caspase-3 activity and apoptosis was enhanced at those instances.
  • Due to the reduction of NF-kB production and inhibition of IkB, Guggul certainly helps in decreasing lung cancer cells. Apart from the usual role, the extract aids in suppressing COX-2, MMP-9, and VEGF and inhibiting apoptosis.
  • When it comes to treating pancreatic cancer, Guggul not only suppresses FXR but also reduces cell migration to a certain extent. Moreover, the growth of cancer cells is controlled because cell invasion doesn’t occur.
  • Guggul is extremely effective for treating prostate cancer because cancer cell death is induced by the production of reactive oxygen intermediate (ROI)-mediated JNK.
  • According to a study conducted on mice having colorectal cancer, Guggul helped in killing cells by making the Caspase-3 and Caspase-8 enzymes much more active.

Guggul Side Effects

The oral consumption of Guggul is safe. There’s nothing to worry about is the person is consuming the natural extract for around 24 weeks.

As far as the side effects are concerned, excess Guggul can lead to headaches, stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, and hiccups.

Just like Isabgol, the herb can cause an itching sensation owing to allergic reactions. In certain instances, the skin might appear reddish, but it is not associated with allergy. The above reactions may arise when the dose per day is as high as 6000 mg.

If the person is pregnant, then she should always consult a doctor before taking Guggul. While the herb can react with different medicines, it also worsens conditions such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer.

Since Guggul has the ability to slow down blood clotting, consuming more than the recommended dose can affect people and might cause bleeding. Moreover, you should not take Guggul 2 weeks before surgery because it increases the risk of bleeding.

People who feel uncomfortable with inflammatory bowel diseases or liver disease should consume Guggul with caution. In case they are not sure about the dose, then they should get in touch with a doctor.

Excess Guggul may decrease fertility because it reduces the weight of the uterus, cervix, and ovaries in female rats. On the other hand, the herb doesn’t affect the kidneys, liver, and blood constituents.

Effect on Medicines

A large dose of Guggul may enhance the side effects of estrogen. Ethinyl estradiol and conjugated equine estrogens are some of the pills you many come across. Moreover, medications like aspirin, clopidogrel, ibuprofen, and warfarin can react with Guggul instead of slowing down blood clotting.

In case you are using a beauty care product to nourish the skin, then cosmetic creams containing a significant amount of Guggul can always lead to skin inflammation.

About Guggul Dosage

The best way to take Guggul is through supplements that contain Triphala. The minimum daily dose is two 325 mg tablets which offer around 70 mg of guggulsterone. However, if you need to observe results quickly, then you can take two tablets twice during the day.

In case the condition is severe, then you can take four tablets all at once and reduce the number as the symptoms subside. At some point in time, ‘gum guggul’ doses around 2.5g every day is appropriate. But, if you are not sure, then you should consult the doctor to know how to take it.

It might be safe to take Guggul with supplements for the thyroid. But, in case you feel uneasy, then you should speak with the doctor and check the T3 and T4 hormone levels.

We hope you have learned about Commiphora wightii. If you like this article on Guggul then share it on social media with others for better awareness of this natural property.

Hardip Koradia

Hardip Koradia is a pro health blogger with years of experience in writing resourceful articles on different health topics like alternative health, natural health, home remedies, yoga, diet, etc. His passion for health inspired him to start AyurHealthTips, a growing health blog.

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