Ancient Indian gum resin guggul may diminish joint inflammation.
Extremely popular in India, guggul is considered a natural remedy in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It may be particularly useful in joint health by:
- Reducing inflammation. Guggul has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, which may support alleviating joint pain and swelling.
Guggul (Commiphora wightii), also known as guggulu, is a flowering shrub or small tree that is indigenous to northern Africa and central Asia. It is most commonly cultivated in northern India, where it has been used as both an incense and medicine for almost 3,000 years.
As a revered herbal treatment in Unani and Ayurvedic medicine, guggul has been used to combat such ailments as obesity, high cholesterol, infections, and liver dysfunction, as well as to promote overall well-being.
The herb contains more than 100 bioactive compounds in its leaves, stem, root, and fruit. Among them are high concentrations of quinic acid and myo-inositol, as well as the steroid guggulsterone. Guggul has recently been introduced as a joint health supplement because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may be especially beneficial in joint recovery.1
How Guggul Might Help With Joint Health
Guggul has been shown to reduce inflammation by suppressing the activation of NF-kB — a major pro-inflammatory compound — by interfering with several of its primary activators — hydrogen peroxide and TNF-alpha.2 3 4
The high guggulsterone content in guggul has been found capable of lowering the presence of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1b, IL-2, and TNF-a.5 It has further been shown to lower cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) mRNA levels by inhibiting its activation by TNFa.6
Guggul Benefits & Uses for Joint Health
Research has demonstrated that guggul has anti-inflammatory properties, which may enable it to benefit joint health by combating various joint conditions: 7
Compared to many other joint supplements, the use of guggul for joint health is relatively new and is mostly dedicated to the task of alleviating joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and other symptoms associated with arthritis.
Animal research has displayed the capacity of guggul to:
- Impart significant anti-arthritic activity in rats, especially by reducing swelling9
Though mostly positive in its results, clinical research with guggul has been limited to studies that were neither controlled nor peer-reviewed.
In this non-controlled investigation, 30 adults with osteoarthritis were given 500 mg of guggul, referred to as CM in this study, with food every day for 1 month. Guggul was found to significantly improve pain but it had no effect on mood.
- The researchers concluded that “CM appears to be a relatively safe and effective supplement to reduce symptoms of OA.”10
In this non-controlled investigation, 118 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were given either a combination of herbs including guggul, Matra Basti, and Saindhavadi Taila, or just guggul. Both herbal treatments reduced pain, swelling, stiffness, fever, and general weakness due to rheumatoid arthritis. The combination of herbs was more effective than guggul alone.
- The researchers concluded that “all the patients responded favorably to the treatment in both the groups.”11
In this randomized, non-controlled investigation, 24 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were given 6 grams of either Shiva Guggulu or Simhanada Guggulu in divided doses every day for 8 weeks. Among the 2 forms of guggul, Simhanada Guggulu resulted in better improvement of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- The researchers concluded that “Simhanada Guggulu provided better results as compared to Shiva Guggulu in the management of Amavata.”12
Dosage for Joints
- Successful clinical research studies have used from 500 mg – 6 g of guggul per day.
- Typical guggul supplements range from 300 – 500 mg, 3 times per day (or 25 mg of guggulsterones in isolation, 3 times per day).
- Guggul extract as capsules or pills
- Guggul gum extract as liquid drops or capsules
- Essential oil
Supplements in Review Says
- Guggul 900 – 1500 mg for joint health.
Guggul may help manage symptoms of arthritis. Research susggests that guggul helps relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, although clinical research supporting its potential use for joint health is still in its early stages.
Try 900 – 1500 mg of guggul capsules per day. Dosage for guggul has not been perfectly established and range widely in clinical trials (from 500 mg – 6 g per day). We recommend starting with a daily range of 900 mg – 1500 mg split into 3 separate doses.
- Sarup P, et al. Pharmacology and Phytochemistry of Oleo-Gum Resin of Commiphora wightii (Guggulu). Scientifica (Cairo). 2015;2015:138039. ↩
- Shishodia S, et al. The guggul for chronic diseases: ancient medicine, modern targets. Anticancer Res. 2008 Nov-Dec;28(6A):3647-64. ↩
- Shishodia S, et al. Guggulsterone inhibits NF-kappaB and IkappaBalpha kinase activation, suppresses expression of anti-apoptotic gene products, and enhances apoptosis. J Biol Chem. 2004 Nov 5;279(45):47148-58. ↩
- Ichikawa H, et al. Guggulsterone inhibits osteoclastogenesis induced by receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand and by tumor cells by suppressing nuclear factor-kappaB activation. Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Jan 15;12(2):662-8. ↩
- Manjula N, et al. Inhibition of MAP kinases by crude extract and pure compound isolated from Commiphora mukul leads to down regulation of TNF-alpha, IL-1beta and IL-2. Int Immunopharmacol. 2006 Feb;6(2):122-32. ↩
- Lv N, et al. Guggulsterone, a plant sterol, inhibits NF-kappaB activation and protects pancreatic beta cells from cytokine toxicity. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2008 Jul 16;289(1-2):49-59. ↩
- Deng R. Therapeutic effects of guggul and its constituent guggulsterone: cardiovascular benefits. Cardiovasc Drug Rev. 2007 Winter;25(4):375-90. ↩
- Mangal A, et al. Clinical evaluation of Vatari guggulu, Maharasnadi kwatha and Narayan taila in the management of osteoarthritis knee. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2017 Jul – Sep;8(3):200-204. ↩
- Patel MG, et al. Anti-arthritic activity of a classical Ayurvedic formulation Vatari Guggulu in rats. J Tradit Complement Med. 2015 Sep 4;6(4):389-94. ↩
- Singh BB, et al. The effectiveness of Commiphora mukul for osteoarthritis of the knee: an outcomes study. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003 May-Jun;9(3):74-9. ↩
- Khagram R, et al. Clinical effect of Matra Basti and Vatari Guggulu in the management of Amavata (rheumatoid arthritis). Ayu. 2010 Jul;31(3):343-50. ↩
- Pandey SA, et al. Clinical efficacy of Shiva Guggulu and Simhanada Guggulu in Amavata (Rheumatoid Arthritis). Ayu. 2012 Apr;33(2):247-54. ↩