GUGGULU (Commiphora mukul)
The term Guggulu is used for denoting both, the plant as wel as its gum, oleo-resin. In Sanskrit, guggulu means that which protects against disease. It has various synonyms like palankasa –one which reduces flesh, mahisaksa – one which looks black like the eyes of the buffalo, pura means the great etc. Guggulu has been mentioned in the Atharvaveda and the early medical texts of Caraka, Susruta Samhitas and Nighantus.
Based on the variations in colour of its oelo-resin, it has been classified into five different varieties, namely, mahisaksa – black, mahanila – dark bluish, kumuda – white like water lily, padmaruby colour, and kanaka (golden colour). It is categorized as a rasayana – rejuvenative. (Sarngadhara Samhita). Also, it is lekhana – reduces body fats, sothaghna – alleviates oedema, gandamala nasaka – ameliorates the glandular swellings in the neck. Two varieties of guggulu – nava guggulu (fresh) and purana guggulu (old) have been mentioned in the text books of Ayurvedic medicine. Guggulu is recommended as a drug of choice in the treatment of medovaha srotasas and vata diseases.
Guggulu, a woody shrub or a small tree, is found extensively in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. It grows to the height of 2-3 metres, much branched with characteristic silvery and paper like bark peelings. The leaves obovate, alternate, 1-3 foliate and serrated in the upper parts. The fruits are small, red in colour when ripe, ovoid drupes. Each plant produces about 0.5 to 1 kg of oleo-gum resin which is collected from January to March. Guggulu – commonly used for medicinal purpose, is the pale yellow to brown aromatic gum resin obtained from the bark. Agglomerated tears of resin are somewhat transparent, with waxy surface and brittle in nature.
The botanical name of guggulu is Commiphora mukul and it belongs to Burseraceae family. In its chemical composition volatile oil, resins, gum and a bitter compound is found. Five types of guggul sterone, gullul sterol – I, II, and III, sesasmine, cholesterol, muculol and other steroids are also found. Monocyclic diterpenes – camphorene and cembrene – isolated from resin; allylcembrol isolated from plant and characterized. Three new steroids – guggulsterols I, II, III isolated from gum resin. Cembrene A isolated from resin and characterized. Isolation and structure elucidation of two aliphatic tetrols octadecan – 1, 2, 3, 4 and eicosan – 1, 2, 3, 4-tetrol – from gum resin
Guggulu is bitter, pungent, sweet and astringent in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and hot in potency. It alleviates all the three dosas. It possesses light, sharp, subtle, oily and slimy attributes. It has a special potency (prabhava) as a rejuvenative (rasayana). The fresh variety nava guggulu is useful in debility, whereas the old variety – purana guggulu is salutary in obesity and diabetes. Guggulu is extremely beneficial in the diseases of vata and kapha dosas.
The niryasa means gum-oleo resin, of the plant is used for medicinal purpose, both, internally as well as externally. Anti – inflammatory and antiseptic properties of guggulu are beneficial in cleansing and healing of wounds and to reduce oedema. For such, the paste of its gum is applied in the cases of gout, rheumatic joints, glandular swellings and even piles. It can be applied externally as a plaster in fractures, as well as a gargle for ulcerated conditions of the mouth and throat like stomatitis and pharyngitis. Fumigation of the house can be done as it is the best herbal pesticide and disinfectant.
Systemically, guggulu is one of the best rewarding hers for bata diseases. Various preparations of guggulu used in sciatica, hemiplegia, gout, rheumatic diseases, facial paralysis etc. Guggulu and Triphala is one of the great combinations in treating, orally, the non-healing chronic wounds. In digestive ailments like anorexia, flatulence, worm infestations, piles, sluggish liver etc, it works well. It is one of the most popular remedies in glandular swellings, tumours, filariases. It augments the urine quantity hence is beneficial in dysuria, urinary calculi etc. It boosts the sukra dhatu in males and is effectively used in sexual debility. In gout, decoction of guggulu and sunthi is very salutary. The decoction of guggulu, guduci, sunthi and goksura mitigates any type of pain due to aggravated vata, especially, in lumbago. It works well with devadara, punarnava guduci and haritaki in ascites and general swelling all over the body – anasarca. It is also effective in the treatment of abscesses and ano-rectal fistula. In women, if is beneficial in leucorrhea and dysmenorrheal. Guggulu combines well with mundi in the treatment of cervical adenitis. Guggulu should not be used in excess in pitta constitutions, pregnancy, debility, in children and old age.
Long with its anti-inflammatory properties, it is widely used as an anti-obesity remedy also. It shows lipidmodulatory activities too. A clinical trial on seventy obese subjects, treated for three months duration, with different guggulu preparations showed a significant weight loss in drug therapy groups when compared with the placebo. A significant decrease in the serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels were observed alongwith decrease in body measurements such as skin fold thickness and hip and waist circumferences. Ayurvedic treatment of obesity: a randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical trial. Guggulu also works well as an adjunct in diabetes. It is beneficial in various skin diseases as well.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
- Triphala guggulu
- Yogaraja guggulu
- Mahayogaraja guggulu
- Candraprabha vati
- Goksuradi guggulu
- Kancanara guggulu
- Amrtadi guggulu
- Laksadi guggulu,
- Kaisora guggulu etc.