Some medications that lower cholesterol are found by testing in a laboratory while others are discovered and perfected over 5000 years of use. Some natural remedies for high cholesterol however, have the stamp of approval from both the scientific and naturopathic communities. Ayurvedic herbs have been used for millennia, and refer to a huge number of leaves, extracts, and roots from the Indian sub-continent. However, it is only relatively recently that these herbs were introduced to the Western world, and since then the true potential of these herbs has not yet been fully realized.
Traditionally, high cholesterol was not a big problem in India, so there was no ayurvedic herb specifically used to lower cholesterol. However, the fact that few practitioners of ayurvedic medicine suffered from high cholesterol led many people to believe that one or more of the herbs could be an effective treatment. Thats when the properties of guggul were first investigated.
What is Guggul?
The mukul myrrh (Commiphora mukul) tree is a small, thorny plant distributed throughout India. Guggul and gum guggulu are the names given to a yellowish resin produced by the stem of the plant. This resin has been used historically and is also the source of modern extracts of guggul and is the most popular herb used in ayurvedic medicine. The plant can also be found in North America and Central Asia. Guggul has been used in India for more than 2000 years to treat variety of disorders such as skin disorders, obesity, rheumatism, bronchitis, inflammation, sores, and hysteria. In addition, it is also used in weight management, dermatitis, improving circulation, treating boils, and menstrual pain.
Guggul is also used to treat heart ailments and has been found to lower high cholesterol in the blood. Guggul is very effective in the prevention and treatment of congestive heart failure and related diseases and is a natural remedy for high cholesterol. So how does guggul lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease? Much research has been done into this question, and the herb from India has not been found lacking.
Role of Guggul in the Treatment of High Cholesterol
Studies have shown that Guggul can lower cholesterol levels in the blood by 14-27 %. So how does guggul do this?
1.Guggul Lowers Triglycerides: Guggul is a natural remedy for high cholesterol because it can lower triglycerides and improve the ratio of HDL and LDL cholesterol levels in blood. LDL is the low density lipoprotein known as bad cholesterol, and HDL is high density lipoprotein known as good cholesterol. Studies show that within 4 to 12 weeks guggul can increase good cholesterol by approximately 16%, and lower bad cholesterol (triglycerides) by 22-30%.
2.Guggul stops cholesterol production: Guggul can lower high cholesterol levels by blocking the activity of a protein receptor in the liver cell that metabolizes cholesterol. Stopping this process prevents the production of more bad cholesterol, and allows the excess to be converted to bile, thus lowering overall cholesterol levels. Guggul also reduces the blood level lipids effectively and quickly without any side effects.
Besides this, Guggul is also considered a natural remedy for high cholesterol because it strengthens the heart and works as a blood detoxifier. It can prevent narrowing of the arteries, improve cardiac muscle functioning, and heart activity. Not only does it lower cholesterol, but it can keep levels low. It has even been found to lower cholesterol in people who have proven unresponsive to other high cholesterol medications. That is why many naturopaths and holistic health practitioners often recommend Guggul for the prevention and treatment of high cholesterol.