Guggul (Commiphora mukul)

Related Species

Commiphora molmol & Commiphora madagascariensis – myrrh (oleo gum resin)

Commiphora abyssinica & Commiphora habessinica – Abyssinian myrrh


Thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's and Wilson's Temperature Syndrome. Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, hypercholesterolemia with lipid peroxidation and atherosclerosis.

Mechanism of Action

Guggul seems to increase T3 synthesis by increasing T4 to T3 conversion.1

A ketosteroid found in the oleo-resin of Commiphora may increase the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland and enhance the activity of thyroid peroxidase enzymes.2,3

Guggulsterones, another group of sterols found in Commiphora, act on bile acid receptors in the liver and promote lipid metabolism,4 an action that may improve hyperlipidemia5 in hypothyroid patients and others with poor metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.6

Evidenced-Based Research

  • Animal studies have shown Commiphora to reduce the effects of thyroid suppressive drugs indicating a thyroid hormone enhancing effect and possible utility for hypothyroidism.7
  • Supplementation with Commiphora may promote T3 synthesis and release.1 Inhibitory effects on lipid peroxidation are believed to be involved in the supportive effects on thyroid hormones.1

Safety in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

There has not been extensive research, but a comprehensive search of published literature led one group of authors to recommend that Commiphora be avoided during pregnancy.8

General Safety

Although few side effects are commonly reported among users or prescribers, Commiphora may cause stomach discomfort or allergic rash. Concentrated guggulipid may cause a dermatologic hypersensitivity reaction in some patients.9 No studies on long-term use have been conducted as yet.


Clinical trials investigating Commiphora extracts for lipid elevation have used 500 to 2000 mg standardized to 2.5%–5% guggulsterones at a time, taken 2 or 3 times daily.

Traditional Uses

Commiphora mukul is a traditional herb used in India used for thousands of years for diabetes, obesity, sluggish metabolic functioning, and thyroid conditions.10


1 Life Sci. 1999;65(12):PL137–41. Gugulu (Commiphora mukul) induces triiodothyronine production: possible involvement of lipid peroxidation. Panda S, Kar A.

2 Planta Med. 1984;50(1):78–80. Thyroid stimulating action of Z-guggulsterone obtained from Commiphora mukul. Tripathi YB, Malhotra OP, Tripathi SN.

3 Anc Sci Life. 1982;2(1):23–8. In vitro studies on thyrogenic effect of commiphora mukul (guggulu). Singh AK, Prasad GC, Tripathi SN.

4 Mol Endocrinol. 2002;16(7):1590–7. The hypolipidemic natural product guggulsterone acts as an antagonist of the bile acid receptor. Wu J, Xia C, Meier J, Li S, Hu X, Lala DS.

5 Complement Ther Med. 2009;17(1):16–22. Resin from the mukul myrrh tree, guggul, can it be used for treating hypercholesterolemia? A randomized, controlled study. Nohr LA, Rasmussen LB, Straand J.

6 Food Chem Toxicol. 2009;47(10):2631–9. Effects of guggulsterone isolated from Commiphora mukul in high fat diet induced diabetic rats. Sharma B, Salunke R, Srivastava S, Majumder C, Roy P.

7 Phytother Res. 2005;19(1):78–80. Guggulu (Commiphora mukul) potentially ameliorates hypothyroidism in female mice. Panda S, Kar A.

8 Complement Ther Med. 2005;13(4):279–90. Guggul for hyperlipidemia: a review by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Ulbricht C, Basch E, Szapary P, et al.

9 JAMA. 2003;290(6):765–72. Guggulipid for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia: a randomized controlled trial. Szapary PO, Wolfe ML, Bloedon LT, Cucchiara AJ, DerMarderosian AH, Cirigliano MD, Rader DJ.

10 Planta Med. 1984;50(1):78–80. Thyroid stimulating action of Z-guggulsterone obtained from Commiphora mukul. Tripathi YB, Malhotra OP, Tripathi SN.