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Guggul or Commiphora mukul is a classic Ayurvedic herb that has been used effectively for thousands of years for a handful of health concerns. Guggul is a resin of a small tree and, as a result, it was and is a more difficult herb to acquire and digest. Traditional practitioners would combine the guggul with herbs like black pepper, amalaki and shilajit to boost its absorption and effectiveness.
The Benefits of Guggul
Most notably, guggul has been used in Ayurveda for:
- helping the body burn fat
- helping the body detox
- support joint, cardiovascular and thyroid health
Most of these benefits stem around guggul’s ability to boost fat burning, so we can utilize the good fat for energy and rid ourselves of the bad fats. Recently though, guggul has been linked to healthy joint function and higher levels of collagen and protein in the cartilage of aging knees. (1) In the study, the group that had higher blood levels of guggulsterones (a plant steroid found in the resin of the guggul plant) also had thicker cartilage and higher bone density – suggesting that something more profound than fat burning was going on.
Fat Burning Delivers More than Weight Loss
Numerous studies have shown that guggul supports weight management and fat burning. In one study, it supported healthy cholesterol levels (2) and restored healthy body weight in animals fed a high fat diet in another. (3)
It is understood that the harmful chemicals in the environment are fat-soluble, and the ability for the body to rid itself of them requires good fat metabolism, which we see supported by guggul supplementation.
Fat-soluble chemicals are particularly dangerous to the heart and the arteries, as well as the thyroid – which may be the most chemical-sensitive organ of all. In situations where the heart and arteries were exposed to oxidizing chemicals, the guggul supplemented group saw a significant increase in the natural production of the following antioxidants: glutathione, super-oxide dismutase, catalase and lipid peroxidase in the arteries of the heart. (4)
Finally, in another study, guggul supplementation was linked to decreased lipid peroxidation – a process involved in the oxidation of the liver. The guggul supplemented group also saw an increased concentration of thyroid hormone (T3) and enhanced T3/T4 ratios. (5)
Take 1 capsule or 500mg three times a day after meals or as directed by your health care practitioner. As stated above, it is best to take guggul with other herbs to boost absorption, such as amalaki, shilajit and black pepper.