Guggul extract is the common name for the oily sap (gum resin) extracted from plants in the Burseraceae, or incense, family.
Guggul has historically been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat health conditions like arthritis and chronic inflammation.
Furthermore, guggul extract is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help support general health and manage chronic illnesses.
Guggul contains various plant compounds – including essential oils, flavonoids, and amino acids – with proven health benefits – leading many people to recommend it as a dietary supplement. Like many other herbal supplements that stem from Ayurvedic tradition, guggul extract is generally considered beneficial, even if there’s little evidence to support many of these purported benefits.
Guggul supplements are often used as complementary or alternative medicine (CAM), though there is little evidence that it is effective in treating chronic health conditions like arthritis. In this article, we’ll closely examine this plant-based supplement, its potential health benefits, and the best ways to use it, so you can make the most of guggul benefits for health.
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Guggul is the common name for the flowering mukul myrrh tree and the sap of this tree, while guggul extract typically refers to a processed or concentrated form of the sap. Guggul is typically harvested by tapping the bark of the myrrh tree and allowing the sap to dry before it is gathered, much like aple syrup.
The sap of the myrrh tree has been a key component in ancient Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, though it is now more widely used as a dietary supplement and alternative medicine. Guggul contains various active compounds, including a unique compound known as guggulsterone, that have potential health benefits when taken as a medicine or supplement.
There are many purported guggul benefits to recommend, and it is widely praised for its anti-inflammatory properties, which may help treat certain inflammatory conditions. Preliminary research suggests that using guggul supplements may have various health benefits, including:
Guggul has been studied as a potential treatment for acne and has shown to be an effective treatment for a severe form of acne known as nodulocystic acne, which affects the face, chest, and back. Additionally, people with oily skin responded significantly better to guggul supplements than tetracycline, an antibiotic commonly used to treat acne.
Psoriasis and eczema are skin conditions mainly caused by skin inflammation, and studies show that guggul-based skin creams can help manage symptoms of these conditions. A recent study also found that topical applications of guggul extract help treat side effects of radiotherapy, including skin redness, inflammation, and tenderness, reducing the need for steroid creams.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that causes your thyroid gland to produce fewer hormones than your body needs to work normally. Fortunately, studies show that guggul benefits this condition by increasing iodine uptake and improving the activity of enzymes produced by your thyroid.
Some studies have found that supplementing with guggul may help lower levels of triglycerides and LDL (or ‘bad’) cholesterol. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of guggul extract on cholesterol levels in humans, as some research suggests that it may increase LDL cholesterol levels in some cases.
Limited studies show that guggul may alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis, such as knee pain, swelling and stiffness without significant side effects. These guggul benefits are believed to be linked to the herb’s antioxidant benefits, but more studies are needed to confirm whether it’s an effective treatment for osteoarthritis.
Guggul extract has natural anti-inflammatory properties which may help to lower your chances of developing conditions linked to chronic inflammation. Additionally, guggul supplements may help manage symptoms of inflammatory diseases like arthritis and eczema.
Guggul may also help support a healthy immune system, likely thanks to its antioxidant effects. A study published in the International Journal of Ayurveda Research found that guggul benefits the production of white blood cells, which are important for fighting infections and diseases.
Guggul can be found in various forms, from dried sap to capsules, powders and lotions, each with different benefits and drawbacks. Topical applications like skin creams are the best way to treat skin conditions, but you can get the most guggul benefits from oral supplements.
Guggul supplements are widely sold in capsule, tablet, and liquid extract forms, although there is currently no standardized dosage. Dosage guidance is typically based on the amount of active guggulsterone (a plant steroid in guggul extract), so you should follow the instructions on your supplement packaging as a rule of thumb.
Guggul is widely considered safe when taken in the typical recommended dosage. However, it has been known to cause mild side effects, such as headaches, nausea, and skin rashes, so you should reduce your dosage or stop taking guggul supplements if you notice any adverse effects.
Furthermore, very high doses of guggul may cause liver damage, so you should exercise caution if you suffer from liver disease. Fortunately, most oral guggul supplements recommend 6-130mg daily, which are widely considered safe, though it’s worth seeking medical advice before using high-strength supplements.
Guggul extract is a natural remedy with numerous potential benefits; it can help lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and support your immune system, among other things. Furthermore, it’s widely used as a herbal supplement and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) as the guggul benefits are all natural and supported by traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda.
However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of guggul on the human body It is known to interact with certain medications, including birth control pills and blood-thinning medication. As such, we strongly recommend talking to your doctor before using guggul supplements, as they may interact with your medication and cause adverse reactions.