The Guggul Plant & Gugglesterones

Fond Memories Of The Guggul Plant

guggul plantI remember seeing my first Guggul plant when I was in my early 20’s and on a summer tour around India. It was about 26 years ago now, and I still have the drawing in my plant sketch book. There was a lot of interest in this plant already back then, and many pharmaceutical companies were talking about Gugglesterones.

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At the time, I did not know that I would find myself back In India some years later trying to acquire a sapling of the Guggul plant to grace my balcony in my native Cairo. By then, I had become a serious plant collector and realized how important many exciting compounds such as Gugglesterones the plant world had to offer us. Once back in Cairo, my husband Saeed stared at my plant and wondered if it was actually alive. I assured him that it was as I proudly placed it amongst my other weird and wonderful plants from other parts of the world.

The plant started to thrive on my balcony, and oozed out a sap which we put in our morning yogurt together with Egyptian honey. The Indians had long heralded this plant with many healing properties, and its use had been recorded in Ayurvedic medicine for many thousands of years.

My old university professor used to call me the Herb Hunter, and I was secretly proud of my title. The Herb Hunter eventually published her thesis called Ancient Herbal Medicine, and continues until this day to hunt for ancient herbs whenever she can, and I know there are many more plants like the Guggul plant just waiting to be discovered,

Guggul Plant – What Can It Do?

There are many herbs mentioned in ancient texts, and the Guggul plant is one of them. During ancient times the Guggul plant was much sought after and many people who were knowledgeable in herbalism sung its praises. Today, we know that many of the ancient manuscripts were right when they spoke of the healing properties of plants. Without ancient knowledge we would not have been able to make use of the Egyptian willow for Aspirin, and many of the other drugs we take for granted.

Will the Guggul plant join the ranks of many healing plants that today provide essential medicine for us humans? In India the Guggul plant has long been associated with healing of heart conditions and what was known as “swollen livers” in Ancient Egypt. Interestingly enough, “swollen livers” were suffered by many people who ate too much greasy food and had heart problem. At that time the Guggul plant grew in Egypt as well and the sap was added to tea or made into small pellets.

Ancient Egyptian doctors treated “swollen or hot liver” complaints with the tea or pellets, and soon noticed a change in their patients’ condition. The plant seemed to have the ability to quickly improve liver conditions, and deal with circulatory problems as well. At the moment it is being used by Western herbal medicine as a source of sterones. They can be found in the sap of the plant, and are extracted to form a powder which is added to products such as Choleslo.

We now know a lot more about more about the Guggul plant and the effect of sterones. We know that sterones can help to regulate inflammation, and we are just beginning to learn that they may also affect our hormones. There is a possibility that one day in the future sterones from the Guggul plant will play an important part of hormone replacement therapy. In essence, sterones are not that different from flavones and act almost exactly in the same way, they may however be a lot more potent.

Indian women have been using the sap from the Guggul plant for many years to treat the onset of menopause. The sap can be applied and absorbed by the skin, and the effect is not that different from the Yam plant, but the Guggul plant is richer in sterones than many other plants that we know today.

The sterones found in the Guggul plant also have the ability to assimilate with hyaluronic acid which means it can be used to treat internal as well as outside inflammatory conditions. The sap has been used in India to treat gout, and has under laboratory conditions proved to be able to reduce purines in the blood. This means that it can be used as a treatment for gout, and other common complaints associated with arthritis and rheumatism.

However, to make the Guggul plant part of our herbal or conventional medicine cupboard, we would have to grow many, many plants. Unfortunately, the Guggul plant is just like Myrrh, it is very slow growing and does not start to produce the life giving sap at a young age. It is a bit of a high maintenance plant as many of the specimens found today produce an extra ordinary amount of sap, and need daily care.