Herbs of India

Indian Herb : Guggul


Guggul is the common name for the flowering mukul myrrh tree (Commiphora mukul). It is a small, thorny tree that is most commonly found in India, in the arid climates of states such as Rajasthan and Gujarat. Guggul also refers to the resin formed from the sap of the guggul tree, which has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over two thousand years. Guggul is known by the Sanskrit name “Guggulu,” which means, “protects from disease” and because Banyan tends to offer herbs according to their Sanskrit names, Guggul is offered as Guggulu. There are many varieties of guggul—each with different uses—determined in part by the color and age of the gum. It is said that the potency of guggul lasts 20 years. Guggul is a very important herb in the Ayurvedic tradition and while it is rarely taken by itself, an entire class of medicines has been built around the use of guggul. Banyan Botanicals carries several of these traditional Ayurvedic formulas, known as guggulus—compounds made from a base of purified guggul in a synergistic combination of other herbs.

Benefits of Guggul

  • Promotes detoxification and rejuvenation*
  • Purifies the blood*
  • Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range*
  • Kindles agni (digestive fire)*
  • Promotes healthy weight management*
  • Supports comfortable movement of the joints*
  • Is a natural source of antioxidants*
  • Supports the immune system*
  • Helps engender vibrant, healthy skin*
  • Supports a regular menstrual cycle*

Guggul has very subtle and penetrating qualities and because of this is considered a yogavahi, meaning that it is often employed specifically to carry other substances deep into the tissues. Further, its combination with other herbs actually lends direction to its powerful detoxifying and rejuvenating qualities. Guggul pacifies vata, pitta, and kaphathough it is especially renowned for alleviating vata aggravations. In general, guggul has an affinity for all of the tissues in the body as well as the circulatory, digestive, nervous, and respiratory systems. Guggul is very scraping, which enables it to clear toxins from the tissues and channels while rejuvenating them. In fact, it is this scraping quality that gives guggul a number of its beneficial attributes.

Guggul and Cholesterol

Guggul has a remarkable ability to support balanced cholesterol levels. In Ayurveda, different parts of plants are seen to work on different tissues in the body. As we have seen, guggul is made from the sap of the mukul myrrh tree and sap has a strong connection with rakta dhatu (the blood). It is therefore not surprising that guggul is praised for its ability to improve blood flow and enhance the quality of the blood. Guggul works very effectively to purify blood, promoting healthy cholesterol levels and scraping toxins from the circulatory system. In addition, guggul promotes supple arteries and tonifies the heart.

Guggul and Weight Loss

In Ayurveda, excess weight is the result of a kapha imbalance. Guggul helps to clear excess kapha from the system with its pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes, its heating energy, and its pungent post-digestive effect. Guggul also supports healthy thyroid function, ‘scrapes’ fat, and improves meda dhatu agni (the metabolic principle within adipose tissue). Guggul simultaneously kindles agni (the digestive fire) and promotes proper elimination. It is an appetizer, a liver stimulant, and it assists with the digestion of oils and fats, thereby supporting weight management in a number of ways.

When it comes to ailments of the joints, the accumulation of ama (toxic residues) within the tissues is often at the root of the problem. Guggul’s scraping and detoxifying qualities act to clear these toxins from the joints. Its simultaneous ability to lubricate and rejuvenate the tissues within and around the joints helps to promote strength and proper movement within these delicate spaces.

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