In This Article
Why You Should Consider Guggul as Winter Turns to Spring
At end of every winter, the cold, dry, and rough qualities of vata (air) accumulate and potentially aggravate the body and mind, leading to health concerns. Typically, end-of-winter vata imbalances include dry skin, dry sinuses, poor sleep, sluggish elimination, food sensitivities, worry, fatigue, and weak immunity.
Nature’s response to this predisposition is spring, in which the warm, moist, soft qualities of kapha begin to accumulate, providing the perfect antidote for the cold, dry aggravations of winter
During this seasonal shift, certain herbs are harvested during the winter and spring months as part of nature’s intelligence to balance vata in the winter and kapha in the spring. When kapha accumulates and aggravates each spring there is an increased risk of weight gain, congestion, fatigue, stiffness, moodiness, and melancholy. Melancholy comes from the Greek word meaning “black bile,” suggesting that bile flow is compromised, and the liver is congested.
What is Optimal Bile Flow?
Optimal bile flow is important all year-round, but particularly needed in the spring, to help reduce kaphic congestion and melancholy.
Bile is important because it:
- Detoxifies the liver, bile ducts, and gallbladder, all of which are essential to support the liver’s healthy fat metabolism;
- Scrubs the villi of the intestinal tract while maintaining a balanced environment for a healthy microbiome, nutrient absorption, immune system health, and the detoxification of cholesterol and fat soluble-toxic substances; and
- Acts as a buffer to stomach acid. A lack of bile flow will cause acid to accumulate and linger in the stomach or force the stomach to compensate for low bile by decreasing stomach acid production, thereby weakening digestive strength.1
The Science and Benefits of Guggul
Guggul (Commiphora mukul) has been used for thousands of years to support healthy joint, heart, circulatory, metabolic, and detox functions in the body.2 The tree resin is tapped from November to May (winter-spring), making it both balancing for vata (winter) and kapha (spring).
The most bioactive constituents of the guggul tree resin are guggulsterones3, which have been shown address melancholy, or black congested bile that is linked to weight gain, lack of vigor, and moodiness.8
Guggul works by supporting healthy function of the bile salt export pump, which is a detox transporter of old and congested cholesterol and bile acids from the liver. Guggul breaks down cholesterol into its component bile salts.
It has also been shown in numerous studies to block the farnesoid x receptor, which reduces kapha by regulating a healthy balance of cholesterol and bile acids.3,4 When it comes to heart health and improved micro-circulation, guggul has been found to inhibit the activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-k).3 Guggulsterones have also been shown to support healthy cellular replication and apotosis, or healthy programmed cell death and removal, through kaphic pathways.5
In another study, guggul was shown to reduce kapha by naturally reducing food intake. After 15 days of taking guggul, food quantity was reduced and was associated with weight loss. It decreases the stomach’s hunger hormone, ghrelin, and well as supports healthy levels of glucose, triglycerides, serotonin, and dopamine.6
Guggul has also been found to support healthy thyroid function in mice by increasing liver and thyroid protecting enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catayase (CAT).7 In another study guggul supported healthy iodine uptake by the thyroid and thyroid peroxidase and protease, which support health thyroid detoxification.9
Learn more about LifeSpa’s Guggul Lean, which combines guggul with arjuna and amalaki (for cardiovascular support), turmeric (for added liver support), and shilajit and black pepper (as detox agents and bio-enhancers).