Guggulu is one of the best Ayurvedic supplements for lowering cholesterol and reducing weight. Guggulu is the resin formed from the sap of the guggul tree and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It has been shown to benefit the heart, liver, kidneys, thyroid, and skin. It is also beneficial for arthritis and other inflammatory conditions and has anticancer activity.
“Guggulu,” in Sanskrit literally means, “protection from disease” and contains a mixture of sterols, steroids, esters, and alcohols with multiple medicinal benefits. Guggulu has a scraping action, which enables it to clear toxins from the tissues and channels while rejuvenating them. In fact, it is this scraping quality that gives guggulu a number of its health benefits.
Guggulu – Helps support healthy cholesterol levels
Guggulu helps support balanced cholesterol levels by decreasing “bad” cholesterol (LDL), and triglycerides. It increases levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL) . Guggulu has a strong connection with rakta dhatu (the blood) and can help improve blood flow as well as enhance the quality of the blood. Guggulu works very effectively to purify the blood, promoting healthy cholesterol levels and scraping toxins from the circulatory system. Guggulu also reduces the absorption of fats and cholesterol in the intestine. It also increases the removal of bile acids and cholesterol, inhibits the production of cholesterol in the liver, and increases the uptake of HDL by liver cells .
Guggulu Helps Reduce Fat
Guggul has been shown in several studies to significantly decrease fat levels . Excess weight is the result of a Kapha imbalance and Guggulu helps to reduce excess Kapha in the body. Guggulu is bitter, pungent and astringent as well as having a pungent post-digestive effect. All these reduce the heavy, stagnant qualities of Kapha, especially in the Springtime.
Along with increasing the digestion of oils and fats, guggul increases the activity of enzymes that break down fats by kindling agni (digestive fire). In these ways, weight management is supported.
Guggulu Helps Reduce Inflammation
Guggulu reduces inflammation, especially in the joints where inflammation is caused by the accumulation of ama (toxins). Because of Guggulu’s excellent scraping qualities, the ama is literally scraped from the tissues. Studies have shown guggulu suppresses the activation of the inflammatory cytokine NF-κB and its target molecules and reduces inflammation in a number of inflammatory diseases. Guggulu also suppresses the activation of interleukins and prostaglandins . This means that guggulu can reduce joint swelling and reduce the symptoms of inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease as well as auto-immune inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Take 1 capsule or 500mg three times a day after meals.
Guggul is generally safe to use and mostly used for a short time. Minor side effects such as skin rashes, diarrhea, and nausea have been reported .
Guggul can increase pitta, especially in combination with a pitta-aggravating lifestyle. It is therefore recommended—while taking guggul—to avoid sour foods, alcohol, prolonged exposure to the sun, anger, and excessive sexual activity. Gastro-intestinal upsets—most commonly involving loose stools and diarrhea—are the most predominant adverse effects reported. Guggulu is a powerful herb and should be used judiciously. Excessive dosage or misuse can lead to dryness of mouth, weight loss, impotence, skin disturbances, vertigo, and pathological changes in the liver or lungs; i
n these cases, saffron is said to be the antidote (5). Due to the lack of sufficient clinical data, guggul should be avoided in pregnant or lactating women . If you are taking prescription medication of any sort, it is always best to check with your physician before starting any herbal supplements.
I personally love using Guggulu when my joints play up. As a Vata-Pitta, I can have some joint discomfort if I have been burning the candle at both ends. I often take Guggulu to help with cleansing, especially this time of year.
I particularly like VPK’s Guggulu – as it is organic and sustainably sourced. So feel free to use this link to hop onto their site and check them out. Find out more on soothing inflammation with Ayurveda in our 5 Day Anti-Inflammatory Cleanse guide.