Guggul (Commiphora mukul)



     Guggul  (Commiphora mukul) is one of the most important healing medicines in Ayurveda….    There are more than 20 important compounds that have guggul as the principal ingredient.
     The reason it is so important is that it liquefies Kapha dosha…. When Kapha becomes (toxin) is it sticky and it mixes with fat (mamsa) and ama dosha  in the body…. This can cause many problems but it principally blocks channels (nadis) and eventually stops positive biological energy (prana). Although it raises Pitta because of its hot energy , Viria = ushina , it is still considered to be a very important anti-inflammatory. 
     With the improvement in communication via the Internet, guggul has become a popular , sought after remedy especially for reducing cholesterol.  Since it is necessary to process guggul to make it digestible, we need to know how to judge the quality or the guggul remedies being sold. 
Scientific studies have noted the active constituents of guggul and this helps to understand correct dosages . Studies have also noted that many guggul brands and products  have very little of the active Guggulipid, the standardized product from the extraction of the oil-gum-resin from the Commiphora mukul plant,
     Guggul has subtle properties that are not often commented upon in books. It is burned in temples  and use extensively in ritual by yogis and tantric practitioners and shamans… It controls negative energies….
     This is because the negative energies need to attach them to something physical to manifest anything they want to do…. The Kapha liquefying properties (non-attachment) are at work on this level also…. This can also make it a very useful remedy for the mind especially the heart mind (emotional/mamas) aspects.
    It is a sticky resin that cannot be digested if eaten so it must be processed to be usable. It is possible to burn the resin and inhale the smoke. .. this is very good for bronchial asthma and sinus congestion. Bees can digest the resin and they secrete  porpolis that humans can digest…. But guggul propolis is not available commercially.   So we must process this .
      First the healing qualities must be extracted from the guggul. Then it needs to be transferred to something that can be conveniently be taken and absorbed completely….To do this correctly you will need a large stainless steel pot…A large spaghetti steamer will work as they are usually 6 or 8 liters. If you have 8 liters of water you will need 500gms of guggul. Add the guggul after the water is boiling. It is best to cut  or break the resin into small pieces about the size of a coin.  If your guggul is old it will be hard and you will need a tool like a gardening shear to cut it. As it ages the guggul dries and hardens because of its exposure to air (vata). This is the same process that happens in the body. Vata dries it out and it becomes more difficult to work with… imagine the arteries and veins in the circulatory system of  someone with high cholesterol or smokes cigarettes. Fresh guggul is so sticky that it comes apart easily but sticks to your hands….The fresher the guggul is…the greater the concentration of Guggulipid and the more potent the remedy.
    Reduce the heat until the water is still boiling but very slowly…. The longer this takes the greater your extraction will be. You will need to reduce the volume down to 2 liters. Set the water to cool and filter it with a screen and fine cloth. This should take about 6 to 8 hours….. To make this remedy in the traditionally correct way your should b making healing mantras the entire time… Dhanvantri or Medicine Buddha mantras are best. Astrologically the most auspicious day for making the remedy should be chosen also. If you don’t know astrology you should at least chose a day  soon after the full moon, when it is waning.
    The next step is to reheat the extracted guggul decoction and add 500gms of ashwaganda root powder. This should be boiled very slowly  until there is only a thick paste in the bottom of the pot. Do not burn the medicine.
     {If you were making guggul ghee you would skip this step and add 2 liters of ghee and slowly boil the mix until the water was all gone… The resultant guggul; ghee could be used  in purva karma preparation for pancha karma or be taken with the almond drink  to increase immunity (ojas).  If you wanted to make a rasayana like chywanprash, this guggul ghee could be combined with other herbs to soak dates as a base for the rasayana… this would be a Kapha
( cholesterol) reducing rasayana.}
     We now must carefully put the paste in a glass oven dish and spread the paste as thin as possible. You can use more than one dish. The idea is to dry the paste at as low a temperature as possible an as quickly as possible. If you have a dehydrator this works well. You will want to cover the dish with a cloth .
     When the paste is completely dry you can  take a small piece out with a spoon and reduce it to powder with a mortar and pistil… Now you have guggul powder that can be put in capsules….
Traditionally this powder is mixed with honey and rolled into little worm shapes and then cut in pieces. These are left to  dry and can be taken as guggul pills. This has the added advantage of including the apana honey for more Kapha recurring  strength . I have taught many of my students to do this, but unfortunately , here in the western world, people don’t take the time necessary to prepare medicines satvically. Weigh your work carefully with a digital scale. You should have between 550 and 650 grams of guggul powder.
     This powder when put in a 00 capsule will weigh 550 mg. It will be maximum strength guggul and you can prescribe it accordingly for you  patients.
    Depending on the age and body weight of the patient  and the cholesterol level  the dosage will be from 2 to 6 capsules per day.  When prescribing for other Kapha disorders like endometriosis, asthma,  arthritis, obesity, lymphoma, menorrhagia, parasites, allergies, indigestion and cancer this will be part of a completely successful Ayurvedic treatment.
      There are many people who have been taught ( I believe mistakenly) that you can substitute some Brazilian herb but the traditional herbs of Ayurveda and create a `Brazilian Ayurveda` . The simple fact is that there is nothing in the world that substitutes for guggul…. |If there was it would have been discovered and incorporated into Ayurvedic Matrerica Medica hundreds of years ago…After all! Ginger and licorice are not originally from India. Ginger comes from china and licorice comes from the Mediterranean region. Yet they are standards of Ayurvedic treatment and have Sanskrit names. Even Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) Ban-sangi , a North American and European plant is standard heart treatment  in Ayurveda with Arjuna in India… Ayurveda is global medicine because it is the science of life and life exists everywhere… But the knowledge of Ayurveda has been nurtured and preserved in India and the Himalayas (Tibetan Medicine) for thousands of years… Guggul and guggul compounds have been in use for thousands of years. If something better was discovered or a cheaper substitute was found, then of course it would be welcomed into Ayurveda.   The best we can hope for here in Brasil is that the government facilitates the importation of Ayurvedic remedies and technology into Brasil and /or that the plant Commiphora mukul is cultivated here.  I have been working for some years to cultivate some ayurvedic plants that do not exist here… So far Ashwaganda is starting to show some progress… Guggul  would do well in the northeast of  Brasil where it is very dry and hot.  As it is a resin it could also be a sustainable crop to help relieve the poverty of that region.
We at the Aryuvedic Institute of Brasil now have guggul gum available. Contact us for more information.

                                 Below is  technical data and some scientific studies

Botanical Name (Latin): Commiphora mukul
Sanskrit Name: Guggulu
Common Name (English): Indian Bedellium
Type of Herb: Ayurvedic
Effect on the Doshas:   Vata: -   Pitta:  +   Kapha:  -
Rasa (Taste): tikta (bitter), katu (pungent)
Virya (Energy): ushna (hot)
Vipak (Post-Digestive Action): katu (pungent)
Guna (Qualities): laghu (light), tikshna (sharp), snigda (unctuous), sara (unstable)
Prabhava (Special Potency): rasayana, decreases cholesterol
Dhatu Affinity (Tissues Entered): all 7 dhatus 
Plant Part Used: gum resin
Pharmacological Action: stomachic, carminative, anti-spasmodic, spermatogenic, antiarthritis, antirheumatic, appetizer, diaphoretic, diuretic, deamafication carminative, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, antirheumatic, demulcent, aprurient, emmenagogue, astringent, antiseptic, alterative, antiarthritic, aprurient, rasayanam diuretic, antiallergic, appetizer K = tridosha hara, sotha hara, badana samaka, barna sodhana, hrdya, mutrala, khutaghana, dipana, arsoghona, rasayana, used in all vata bayadha; demulcent, aperient, alterative, carminative, antispasmodic, emmenagogue, astringent, antiinflammatory, hypocholesterogenic, hypolipemic, reduces total serum cholesterol and serum lipid-phosphorus, appetizer, antisuppurataive, aphrodisiac
Indications (Uses): hi cholesterol, tri glycerides, asthma, lypoma, hyperlipidemia,, indigestion, gas, cholesterol, tri-glycerides, arthritis and rheumatoid), lypoma, edema, ama, obesity, hyperlipidemia, old age, heart problems K = endometritis, menorrhagia, leprosy, lassitude, nervous pains, serum turbidity, on broken skin as astringent and antiseptic, parasites, arthritis, hemorrhoids, fistula
Contraindications (Cautions): during pregnancy
Constituents: Fe, Ca, Mg, Zn, Al, Cu, silicondioxide. K = gum, silicon dioxide, calcium, magnesium, iron, aluminum, essential oil = myrcene, dimyrcene, polymyrcene, sesamin, cholesterol, steroidal ketones, alcohols, and aliphatic triols. Steroidal components Z-guggulsterone, E-guggulsterol, I,II,III; fatty tetrols are found also.
Active Substances: xanthine
Plant Part Used: gum resin

Also known as- Commiphora mukul, Guggulipid, Indian Bedellium, and Guggulow

Guggul, the commiphora mukul, is a small thorny tree that is native to the Middle East and the Indian plains. Generally leafless, the tree exudes a thick, sticky resin that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat arthritis, acne, inflammation, obesity and 'blood fat'. Guggul, whose Sanskrit name means "one that protects against diseases", has written historical information about it going back to 1000 B.C.E. It was used at that time for "clearing the coating and obstruction of channels". It was also used for healing bone fractures, inflammation, arthritis, cardiovascular conditions, obesity and lipid disorders. Research published in 1966 in India done on guggul gum concluded that it had positive effects on disorders involving lipid metabolism and had an intrinsic ability to help lower serum cholesterol. As of 1988 it has been available on the market in India as a hypolipidemic agent. Guggulipids and guggulsterones derived from the resinous gum are the most widely used medications for treating high cholesterol in India, where most research has been done on guggul. The gum exuded by the guggul tree is similar to myrrh, and has been used traditionally in the same ways as myrrh.
Constituents   guggulipids, guggulsterones, Myrrhanol A
Guggul gum seems to be living up to its traditional medicinal uses. Studies in India have shown that guggulsterones stimulate the thyroid gland, which may be the explanation for its ability to reduce cholesterol and aid in weight loss. Those studies have shown that guggulsterone is at least as effective in improving the cholesterol profile as the leading pharmaceutical prescriptions. Preparations made with guggul gum also are as effective at reducing inflammation and relieving pain as ibuprofen, and as effective at fighting infection as tetracycline in treating acne. Other research has shown that myrrhanol A, a triterpene isolated from guggul gum, is a potent anti-inflammatory, and significantly reduces pain and stiffness in patients with osteoarthritis.
Guggul gum is rated GRAS (generally regarded as safe) by the FDA, however those who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or liver conditions should avoid using guggul gum. Recent studies suggest that guggul gum should be used cautiously by those taking other prescription drugs, particularly statins used to lower cholesterol, and should not be taken with St. John's wort or acetaminophen. Not to be used while pregnant.

Nagarajan M, Waszkuc TW, Sun J.

Enzymatic Therapy, Green Bay, WI 54311, USA.

Guggulipid, the standardized product from the extraction of the ole-gum-resin from the Commiphora mukul plant, has been marketed as a hypolipidemic agent. The ketosteroids, cis- and trans-4,17(20)-pregnadiene-3,16-dione, known as E- and Z-guggulsterones, respectively, are the main ingredients in guggulipid. A liquid chromatographic method was developed for simultaneous determination of E- and Z-guggulsterones in guggulipid preparations using synthetic E- and Z-guggulsterone standards. Realtively low amounts of guggulsterones (E and Z) were found in commercial guggulipid preparations in comparison with the manufacturer's claim of 2.5%. The mixture of E- and Z-guggulsterones was extracted and separated on a Symmetry C18 reversed-phase column, with a mobile phase of acetonitrile--water (46 + 54, v/v) and detected at 242 nm. The retention times of E- and Z-guggulsterones are approximately 8 and 11 min, respectively. Assay quantitation was based on the calibration curve obtained from a mixture of synthetic standard E- and Z-guggulsterones. Experimental data on selectivity, linearity, accuracy, and recoveries are presented.
Gugulu (Commiphora mukul) induces triiodothyronine production: possible involvement of lipid peroxidation.

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