Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Devadhupa, Balsamodendrum wightii, Balsamodendrum mukul, Commiphora mukul, Commiphora wightii, Gomme Guggul, Gomme-Résine de Guggul, Guggal, Guggul Gum Resin, Guggul Lipids, Guggulipid, Guggulipide, Guggulu, Guggulu Suddha, Guggulsterone, Guggulstérone, Guggulsterones, Guggulstérones, Guglipid, Gugulipid, Gum Guggal, Gum Guggulu, Indian Bdellium, Indian Bdellium-Tree, Koushika, Mukul Myrrh Tree, Palankasha, Yogaraj Guggul Gum Resin.


Guggul is made from the sap (gum resin) of the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India. This tree has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and Ayurvedic texts dating back to 600 BC recommend it for treating atherosclerosis.

Today guggul gum resin is used for arthritis, lowering high cholesterol, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), acne and other skin diseases, and weight loss.

How does it work?

Guggul contains substances that lower cholesterol and triglycerides. One of these substances also decreases the redness and swelling that occurs in some types of acne.


Skin Health: How to Get Clear Skin See Slideshow

Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Effective for...

  • Treating some types of acne. Guggul seems to work about as well as the antibiotic tetracycline in the treatment of nodulocystic acne. Both treatments decrease pain, swelling , and redness (inflammation), and the number of acne outbreaks.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Obesity. Some research suggests that taking a combination of guggul, phosphate, hydroxycitric acid, and L-tyrosine, along with exercise and a reduced-calorie diet, might slightly reduce weight. However, most other research suggests that guggul does not affect body weight in overweight or obese people.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • High cholesterol. There is inconsistent evidence about the effects of guggul on cholesterol. Taking 3000 or 6000 mg of guggul daily does not seem to lower total cholesterol or triglycerides, or raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good') cholesterol in people with high cholesterol who eat a Western diet. However, guggul does seem to reduce cholesterol levels in people following an Indian diet.
  • Osteoarthritis. Early research suggests that taking 500 mg of guggul (containing 3.5% guggulsterones) three times daily might improve arthritis pain.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Early research suggests that taking guggul 3000 mg daily for 4 months can improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of guggul for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Guggul is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth appropriately. It has been used safely in clinical trials for up to 24 weeks. Some evidence also suggests that long-term use up to 75 weeks may be safe.

It can cause side effects such as stomach upset, headaches, nausea, vomiting, loose stools, diarrhea, belching, and hiccups. Guggul can also cause allergic reactions such as rash and itching. Guggul can also cause skin rash and itching that is not related to allergy. These adverse reactions are more common with higher doses, such as 6000 mg per day.


Acne is the result of an allergy. See Answer

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Guggul is LIKELY UNSAFE during pregnancy. It seems to encourage menstrual flow and stimulates the uterus, so some researchers worry that it might endanger the pregnancy. Not enough is known about the safety of using guggul during breast-feeding. Do not use guggul if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Bleeding disorders: Guggul can slow blood clotting and might cause bleeding or bruising in people with bleeding disorders.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Guggul might act like estrogen in the body. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, do not use guggul.

Underactive or overactive thyroid (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism): Guggul might interfere with treatment for these conditions. If you have a thyroid condition, don't use guggul without your healthcare provider's supervision.

Surgery: Guggul might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using guggul at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


EstrogensInteraction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

Large amounts of guggul might theoretically increase the side effects of estrogen.

Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Some birth control pills contain estrogen. Guggul might theoretically increase the side effects of birth control pills.

Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.

Diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Taking guggul can decrease how much diltiazem (Cardizem) that the body absorbs. Taking guggul along with diltiazem (Cardizem) might decrease the effectiveness of diltiazem (Cardizem).

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Guggul might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking guggul along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can decrease the effectiveness of some medications. Before taking guggul talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Guggul might slow blood clotting. Taking guggul along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Propranolol (Inderal)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Guggul might decrease how much propranolol (Inderal) the body absorbs. Taking guggul along with propranolol (Inderal) might decrease the effectiveness of propranolol (Inderal).

Tamoxifen (Nolvadex)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Some types of cancer are affected by hormones in the body. Estrogen-sensitive cancers are cancers that are affected by estrogen levels in the body. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is used to help treat and prevent these types of cancer. Guggul could theoretically affect estrogen levels in the body. By affecting estrogen in the body, guggul might decrease the effectiveness of tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Do not take guggul if you are taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex).

Thyroid hormoneInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Guggul might increase thyroid hormone in the body. Taking guggul along with thyroid hormone pills might increase the effects and side effects of thyroid hormones.


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For severe (nodulocystic) acne: a twice daily dose of guggul that contains up to 25 mg of the active ingredients called guggulsterones.

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