Guggul comes from the resin of the Commiphora mukul, a small thorny tree that is known as the tree of myrrh. People in India have used it for thousands of years as an herbal medicine.
Guggul has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties and is being explored as a potential cancer fighter.
Why do people take guggul?
Guggul has become popular for trying to treat high cholesterol. While uncontrolled studies conducted in India were initially promising, a more rigorous study showed no benefit. Instead, several study participants developed a severe allergic rash.
Lab studies point to some promise for guggul in slowing or stopping tumor growth. But researchers need studies in humans to confirm this.
People also take guggul alone or combined with other supplements to try to treat other problems. These include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Urinary disorders
- Skin problems such as acne
Some studies show that guggul may lessen inflammation and the number of acne relapses. But more research is needed. There is not enough solid evidence to support the use of guggul for these and other conditions.
People usually take guggul as a capsule, tablet, or extract.
Optimal doses of guggul have not been set for any condition. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely. This makes it hard to set a standard dose.
Can you get guggul naturally from foods?
You cannot get guggul naturally from foods.
What are the risks of taking guggul?
People have used guggul safely in studies for up to six months.
Side effects. Some people have had side effects such as:
Rare serious side effects have been reported.
Be careful using guggul if you are getting treated for a thyroid disorder or have a hormone-sensitive cancer or condition. Stop taking guggul at least two weeks before surgery to lower risk of bleeding.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Coumadin (warfarin)
Guggul may also interact poorly with certain herbs, including:
It may also interact poorly with certain drugs including:
- Birth control pills
- Tamoxifen (a breast cancer drug)
- Thyroid hormones
- Certain drugs broken down by the liver
Also, do not combine guggul with hormone replacement therapy.
Supplements are not regulated by the FDA in the same way that food and drugs are. The FDA does not review these supplements for safety or efficacy before they hit the market.