At one point, I found myself with a low count of white blood cells. I had a good idea of why I got there–I had been stressed at work and eventually ended up with a nasty cold. This put me off food for a couple of days, I lost a bit of weight and this might have resulted in a low number of white blood cells.
So when a few students from an herbal course were looking for clients to attend a student clinic, I figured I had nothing to lose–it could be a nice experience, and I’d be doing a good deed.
There were about eight students in the room, a clinical supervisor, and the student who was taking my case. At first, I felt a bit uneasy. I knew that the student practitioner would ask me a lot of questions. I started feeling slightly uncomfortable about being put on the spot. As I suspected, some of the questions were a bit personal–my toilet habits, libido and length of the menstrual cycle (among others).
It turned out, however, that all the students were really lovely, sportive, non-judgemental, and trying to work hard to get to the bottom of my complaint.
I was happy to discover that the clinical supervisor was an Ayurvedic medicine practitioner who trained at the Medical Institute of Ayurveda in India. She gave me a lot of practical advice and suggested the supplement called guggul.
I have never heard of guggul before. I must admit, when she mentioned the name, the first thought that popped into my head was a picture of a little child babbling: “gugu gaga”
It turns out that in India, this is a well-known, traditional herb with many useful properties.
If you are a bit like me–never heard of guggul–this is what you need to know.
Benefits of Guggul
GUGGUL is a common name of Cammiphora mukul–a small tree that grows mostly in Rajasthan and Gujarat in India.
Ayurvedic practitioners use the yellow resin of this herb, quite often mixed with other medicinal plants, to help combat various health problems. According to Sanskrit “guggul” means “protects from disease.”
There are two main active components of this herb: terpenoids and guggulusteroids.
Guggul seems to be effective for:
1. High cholesterol
Research suggests that guggul components work on specific cholesterol transporters in the liver called salt export pump (BSEP). They are proteins which are responsible for removing the cholesterol from hepatic cells into the bile acids. Guggul is able to upregulate BSEP, therefore, more LDL cholesterol is removed from the liver and then excreted in bile acids via the bowel.
2. Joint pain
Guggul extract has anti-inflammatory properties. It acts mainly by interacting with enzymes called COX-1 and COX-2 . These enzymes are responsible for initiating an inflammatory cascade by producing prostaglandins and prostacyclins.
I often recommend guggul extract for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and persistent colds.
I would definitely recommend this herb to you if you suffer from persistent and painful spots!
Guggul can even help with severe and persistent outbreaks!
One very interesting study compared the use of guggul and tetracycline (an antibiotic commonly prescribed for nodulocystic acne). Guggul decreased pain, swelling, and the number of outbreaks as efficiently as tetracyclines.
4. Immune system
Guggulosteroids have a potential to increase the number of white blood cells, boost the immune system and modulate the expression of certain genes.
The newest research from 2017 suggests that guggul might even fight cancer, although the exact mechanisms of actions are still not fully understood.
Below is the supplement that I have used with great results!
A word of caution: please remember that all herbs have side effects and can interact with medications–always check with your pharmacist, nutritionist or a doctor before supplementing.
I also always mention to my clients: it can take from one up to three months before you notice any benefits and changes–so be patient! 😉
Have you tried supplementing with guggul?
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Photo: Joanie Simon on Unsplash, Amazon