What is Gugulipid?

Gugulipid is a natural remedy that is extracted from the sticky resinous sap secreted from the bark of the Commiphora tree. This small thorny tree is also known as Commiphora Wightii, Mukul Myrrh, Guggal or Guggul. The Commiphora tree is common in northern India and is also infrequently found from northern Africa to central Asia. It prefers arid and semi-arid climates and can acclimate to poor soil.

Gugulipid historical information

Gugulipid’s healing qualities were recognized centuries ago and have been part of the ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional Hindu system of medicine for over 2500 years. Considered by many scholars to be the oldest healing science, Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health that is designed to help people live long, healthy, and well-balanced lives. Literature for these medical practices appeared as encyclopedias of medicine compiled from literature dating from mid-first millennium BC to about 500 AD. Guggul is mentioned in original Sanskrit verse from the Atharva Veda text which incorporates much of the early traditions of healing.

Gugulipid has been traditionally used alone or combined with other herbs for the treatment of a variety of ailments including rheumatism, arthritis, skin diseases, pains in the nervous system, obesity and urinary disorders.

Pioneering work in India on Guggul’s effect on lipid metabolism in the 1960s resulted in further studies which identified it’s hypolipidedmic (cholesterol-lowering) properties. In 1988 guggulipid was first available on the Indian market as a hypolipidaemic agent.

Gugulipid current information and research

Gugulipid may not be the best single supplement one would choose for improving cholesterol profile or cardiac risk, but as one component of a cholesterol or cardiac support formulation it should be a positive contributor. The reason for this is outlined below.

Gugulipid is widely used in India as a cholesterol reducing agent. Numerous clinical trials in India and the West have been undertaken with mixed results. More clinical investigation appears to be required for final conclusive findings. Presently, however, conclusions from a systematic review as referenced in the Sloan-Kettering Integrative Medicine Service along with others, suggest the effectiveness of guggul for lowering cholesterol 1.

The S-K review included clinical trials that suggest similar effectiveness of guggul to Clofibrate for reducing cholesterol and total lipids. One trial, however, showed that guggul may actually raise cholesterol levels. That study found that Gugulipid slightly increase (5-7%) bad cholesterol (LDL) in most of the participants. But the study also confirmed that gugulipid tends to improve other cardiovascular risk factors, including lowering triglycerides in those with elevated LDL, lowering Lp(a) which has been identified as a risk factor for atherosclerotic diseases, and reducing total cholesterol in nearly 20% of those who take it. Also found was that C-Reactive Protein (CRP) was reduced by a significant 25% – 29%. CRP is probably the best biomarker there is for monitoring inflammation which plays a role in the initiation and progression of cardiovascular disease 2. CRP, in fact, seems to be at least as predictive of cardiac risk as cholesterol levels.

Regarding safety, Guggul appears to be relatively safe, although minor side effects, mainly gastrointestinal, have been reported. It has been referenced that Guggul should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women. Guggul may have estrogen like effects, and should not be taken by anyone with a history or family history of hormone related cancers, including prostate cancer and breast or ovarian cancer. In addition, the herb may interact with anticoagulants (blood thinning medications), tamoxifen, and birth control pills containing estrogen, as well as herbs that have estrogen like effects (such as black cohosh, licorice, soy, and others). People who take these herbs or drugs should not take guggul.

Gugulipid is included among the supplements recognized to help support healthy cholesterol levels. If your interested in Gugulipid for lowering or maintaining a healthy cholesterol level see Natural Remedies explorer’s pick for best supplement to lower cholesterol naturally.

1 http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69249.cfm

2 http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/services/tests/labtests/crp.aspx

 

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