Guggul and high cholesterol

You may have heard of something called guggul, which is becoming quite popular as a way to fight off certain health problems. But what exactly is guggul? It comes from the mukul myrrh tree as a yellowish resin and it is blended with other natural substances to treat different health problems. Guggul has actually been used by practitioners of the traditional medicine of India, ayurveda, for thousands of years, but it has only recently been explored as a natural remedy in the West. Guggul is considered to be a cure or at least an aid in reducing discomfort for ailments such as urinary tract infections, acne, arthritis, and is even considered a weight loss stimulant.

Perhaps the main use of guggul is in the treatment for high cholesterol.  That said, recent studies have shown mixed results regarding the effectiveness of guggul in regards to levels of LDL cholesterol. One study involving a mix of guggul and placebo pills produced no significant drop in LDL cholesterol levels, and another study involving solely guggul extract actually caused an increase in LDL cholesterol levels.

Despite the doubts that have been raised regarding the effectiveness of guggul in decreasing high cholesterol levels, there have been other studies that have shown guggul to be effective in fighting tumors. One study showed prostate cancer cells being killed by a compound of guggul, and another one showed that skin tumors could be stopped as well.

Some people may experience side effects when taking guggul, but generally the effects are minor. Things like nausea, headaches, and rashes could be caused by guggul, but probably the most serious side effect is the possibility of the thyroid being overly stimulated. Naturally, anyone with a thyroid condition should consult with their physician before using any form of guggul.

Source: Wong, Cathy "Guggul – The Benefits of Guggul." July 19, 2009