(Arn.) Bhandari / Commiphora mukul (Hook. ex
Stocks) Engl / Balsamodendron mukul Hook. ex
Guggulu, Koushika, Devadhupa,
Occurs in the arid rocky tracts of Rajputana,
Khandesh, Berar, Mysore, Sind and Baluchistan.
Morphology Description (Habit)
A small tree or shrub with spinescent branches.
The leaflets are 1-3 in number and obovate. The ash-coloured
bark comes off in rough flakes exposing the underbark which
also peels off in thin papery rolls.
The commercial product contains about 4.65% foreign matter
and about 1.45% of an aromatic essential oil besides gum and
Guggul or the gum resin from the bark contains the
octanordammarane terpenes manusumbionic acid and
The ethyl acetate extract of Commiphora mukul was found to
confer significant protection to albino rats against the
development of experimental atherosclerosis. The drug not
only prevented deteriorating changes in serum cholesterol,
triglycerides, and plasma fibrinogen level but also
favorably increased plasma fibrinolytic activity3.
The oleoresin fraction of guggulu possesses significant
anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory activities, the minimum
effective dose being 12.5mg./100 g. body weight4.
The crude aqueous extract of the oleo gum resin was found to
suppress acute rat-paw edema induced by carrageenin. It also
had a suppressive action against the granuloma pouch test.
In adjuvant arthritis, the extract suppressed the secondary
lesions very effectively without having any significant
action on the primary phase. Side effects such as gastric
ulceration, loss of weight and mortality were negligible in
the animals treated with the extract as compared to those
treated with betamethasone5.
Clinical trial with purified guggulu (Commiphora mukul) has
been carried out in 35 patients of rheumatoid arthritis in
order to assess its antirheumatic activity, dose
requirement, resistance development, side effects, and
effects on hematology (ESR). From the results obtained it
has been indicated that guggulu acts as a digestive and
analgesic agent without any toxic or side effects6.
Twenty patients of hyperlipidemia were administered 4.5 g.
of purified gum guggulu in two divided doses daily for 16
weeks. Serum cholesterol and serum triglyceride levels
decreased at the end of the 4th and 8th weeks. HDL
cholesterol showed a gradual increase while VLDL and LDL
cholesterol showed significant decrease at all time points7.
Some adverse side-effects reported on taking guggul are mild
diarrhea and nausea. It may possibly raise bilirubin levels,
cause hemolysis of blood, hepatitis, and obstruction of the
biliary tract. But these side effects need to be confirmed8.
It is astringent, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. When
taken internally it acts as a bitter, stomachic and
carminative, stimulating the appetite and improving
digestion. It causes an increase in leucocytes in the blood
and stimulates phagocytosis. It acts as a diaphoretic,
expectorant and diuretic, and is said to be a uterine
stimulant and emmenagogue. The resin is used in the form of
a lotion for indolent ulcers and as a gargle in chronic
tonsilitis, pharyngitis and ulcerated throat.
- Dutt et. al., Indian J. med. Res.,1942, 30,331.
- Duwiejua et. al., Planta Med, 1993, 59, 12; Bhatti et.
al., Curr Sci, 1989, 58, 349.
- Srivastava, V.K. et. al., Conference of Pharmacology
and Symposium on Herbal Drugs (New Delhi), 15 March, 1991,
- Shanthakumari, G. et. al., Indian J. Physiol.
Pharmacol., 1964, 8, 36.
- Satyavati, G.V. et. al., Rheumatism, 1969, 4, 141.
- Vyas, S.N. and Shukla, C.P., Rheumatism, 1987, v.,
- Verma, S.K. and Bordia, A., Indian J. Med. Res., 1988,
v., 87, 356-360.
- Paranjape & Kulkarni, J Natn Integr Med Assoc, 1990,
32(1), 7; Rasheed et. al., Hamdard, 1993, 36(4), 36.