What is Guggul?
Guggul is a fragrant resin extracted from the Mukul myrrh tree that is found in India, Central Asia, and North Africa.
Guggul has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, to treat a variety of health conditions such as obesity, arthritis and inflammation.(1)
It is also useful in treating hemorrhoids and urinary tract infections.
Guggul contains numerous plant compounds including steroids, essential oils, flavonoids, carbohydrates, and amino acids. All of these are responsible for various health effects.
Benefits of Guggul
Guggul is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is found effective in promoting weight loss, treating hypothyroidism, and maintaining blood sugar levels.(2)
Promotes Weight Loss
Guggul is claimed to treat obesity by promoting weight loss and suppressing appetite.
A study shows guggul promotes weight loss by reducing the volume of fatty tissues by inducing the breakdown of fat.(3)
Guggul is also known to have a positive effect on appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin.(4)
Additional studies show, herbal supplements containing guggul extract, treat obesity by promoting weight loss, and reducing skinfold thickness, and body circumference.
More researches are needed to confirm the link between guggul and weight loss.
Guggul is studied to have the potential to treat acne.
It has been used both as a complementary and alternative treatment for nodular cystic acne, severe acne of the chest, face, and back.(5)
A study done on 21 people found guggul to be as effective as antibiotics in treating acne.(6)
If taken orally for 6 weeks, guggul can treat acne without causing any major side effects.(7)
Treats Eczema, Psoriasis and Skin Irritation
Eczema and psoriasis are both caused due to inflammation of the skin.
Guggul is known to reduce itchiness, redness, and inflammation in people suffering from psoriasis and eczema.(8)
It can also be effective in treating the skin reaction that occurs as a result of radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer.(9) It helps reduce the need for topical steroid cream often required for pain, tenderness, and redness.
Thyroid disorders are common in females.(10)
Guggul extract improves hypothyroidism by increasing iodine uptake and improving the enzyme activity produced by the thyroid gland.(11, 12)
A study done for the management of hypothyroidism showed that it improved signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism such as weakness, muscle aches, and fatigue.(13)
Guggul helps reduce triglyceride, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol levels.(14, 15)
Guggul’s effect on cholesterol and triglycerides is quite unclear.
Some studies show guggul has a cholesterol-lowering effect, while other studies did not find any significant benefits.(16)
Guggul is even known to raise LDL cholesterol levels in adults with hypercholesterolemia.(17)
Guggul may alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
A study done on 30 people with knee osteoarthritis, found an improvement in knee pain when treated with guggul.(18) Guggul also increased knee flexion.
Guggul is found effective in treating osteoarthritis in people without any side effects.
Side Effects of Guggul
If taken in the recommended dose, guggul is safe to consume.
There can be mild side effects such as skin rash, diarrhea, hiccups, and irregular menstrual cycle.(19)
In high doses, guggul can lead to liver damage. Therefore, those suffering from liver disease are recommended to take guggul with caution.(20, 21)
It has been documented that guggul may lead to uterine stimulation and can cause uterine contraction and premature labor.(23) Pregnant and breastfeeding females should therefore avoid it.
Any concern should be brought to the notice of a healthcare provider.
Guggul is available in a wide range of forms i.e., capsule, powder, lotions, and extract.
The dosage varies according to different brands and products. Typical supplemental dosage ranges from 6.25-132 mg per day.(22) The dosage depends on the active guggulsterone, a plant steroid present in guggul extract or supplement.
Due to a lack of research, there is no information on the toxicity of larger doses of guggul on humans.