Guggul is the common name for the flowering myrrh tree (Commiphora mukul or Commiphora wightii), native to India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Called the Indian bdellium, it is a small flowering plant from the Burseraceae family also known as incense family. It produces a specific resin called Guggulipid. It is this oleo-gum resin that is said to have therapeutic benefits.
From the incense family
Used in Ayurvedic medicine for over two thousand years, Guggul is known by the Sanskrit name Guggulu, which means, “protects from disease.” There are many varieties of Guggul - each with different uses - determined in part by the colour and age of the gum. It is said that the potency of Guggul lasts 20 years.
Its juice is tapped from the plants similarly to how maple syrup is extracted from maple trees - by making a small hole in the bark of the tree, from which the aromatic resin flows slowly. When the drop dries out, it is already ready to be collected. Guggul can be used for incense or to make medicinal extracts, powders and salves. The gum can also be purchased in a loosely packed form called dhoop in India, which is burned over hot coals. This produces a fragrant, dense smoke. It is also sold in the form of incense sticks and dhoop cones which can be burned directly.
The taste of guggul is sharp, bitter, firming and sweet at the same time, and its aftertaste is rather bitter. Purported to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, Guggul is highly valued in Ayurveda because of its healing properties, and it has become a rare herb due to the high demand.
A resin with powerful antioxidants
Because of its bitter taste, Guggul is seldom used to make tea. But Guggul contains a mixture of plant compounds, including essential oils, lignans, flavonoids, carbohydrates and amino acids. The essential oils that can be found in the resin contain powerful antioxidants and thanks to them it can also be used for rejuvenation.
According to Ayurveda, the guggulipids allow the body to manage the accumulated surplus of Vata and Kapha doshas. Guggul has Vata balancing property and gives relief from pain and swelling in the joints. That’s why it is very useful in the process of recovery after bone fractures and also in patients suffering from osteoarthritis.
In Ayurveda, Guggul is also useful in weight management as it helps to improve metabolism and reduce Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) by increasing the digestive fire.
Guggulu also helps reduce the production of sebum which inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria due to its antibacterial property. When used for medicine, Guggul may be taken internally, applied to the skin as a salve or paste, or gargled to promote oral health.
Benefits of Guggulu
• Detoxification and rejuvenation
• Blood purifier
• Healthy cholesterol levels
• Weight loss
• Joint pains
• Supports the immune system
• Urinary complaints
• Intestinal worms
• Leucoderma (vitiligo)
Guggul supplements are available in a wide range of forms, including capsules, extracts, powders, and lotions. Companies like Himalaya, Baidyanath, Kerala Ayurveda and Dabur have Guggulu supplements available on Amazon.in
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