Traditional ayurvedic medicine used the resin of the guggul tree to treat a wide variety of complaints. These primarily included lipid disorders such as obesity and high cholesterol, and inflammation disorders such as arthritis and atherosclerosis. Since the first clinical study of guggul extracts demonstrated benefits in test animals, numerous additional trials have been performed for a variety of disorders.
The active constituents of guggul resin, called guggulsterones, have been isolated and found to have a number of bioactive effects. In particular, they produce strong hypolipidemic, antioxidant, and antiinflammatory effects.
It is known that guggulsterone compounds inhibit the activity of bile acid receptors, and it has been hypothesized that this is the way in which the compounds reduce blood cholesterol and induce fat loss. “Fat burning” products containing guggulsterone, such as Nutrex Lipo 6, have become increasingly popular on account of these purported benefits, although a search of the literature showed no trials in which guggul extracts were used for weight loss. The authors of the present review state:
Citation: Therapeutic effects of guggul and its constituent guggulsterone: cardiovascular benefits. Cardiovascular Drug Review. 2007 Winter 25(4), 375-390. Author: R. Deng
Although differences in study design, methodological quality, statistical analysis, sample size, and subject population result in certain inconsistencies in the response to therapy, the cumulative data from in vitro, preclinical, and clinical studies largely support the therapeutic claims for guggul described in the ancient Ayurvedic text. However, future clinical studies with much larger size and longer term are required to confirm these claims.