What is Guggul Extract?
A yellowish resin secreted by the mukul myrrh tree (Commiphora mukul), guggul has been used for thousands of years in ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India). Practitioners of ayurvedic medicine often blend guggul extract with other natural substances to heal health problems such as arthritis, hemorrhoids, and urinary tract infections. Guggul is also touted as a remedy for acne, as well as a weight-loss stimulant.
Guggul for High Cholesterol
Although guggul is widely used in India to combat high cholesterol, research on the extract's cholesterol-lowering effects has yielded mixed results. A 2009 study of 43 adults with moderately high cholesterol, for instance, found that those who took 2,160 mg of guggul in capsule form daily had a greater drop in total cholesterol levels than those who took a placebo pill. However, the study members who used guggul showed no significant reduction in their levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol.
Another study (published in 2003) assigned 103 adults with high cholesterol to take 1,000 mg or 2,000 mg of guggul daily for eight weeks, and found that the extract actually raised levels of LDL cholesterol.
More Guggul Benefits
Preliminary research suggests that guggul extract may help fight tumors. One 2007 study on human cells found that guggulsterone (a compound found in guggul) induced the death of prostate cancer cells, while a 2008 report revealed that guggulsterone thwarted the growth of skin tumors in mice.
Other research shows that guggul extract may help reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.
Guggul Side Effects
Although it's generally considered safe, guggul extract may trigger side effects like headache, nausea, and skin irritation (usually in the form of a rash) in some individuals. Since guggul has also been found to stimulate the thyroid, anyone with a thyroid condition should consult a physician before using guggul extract.
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