Can Guggul Help Lower High Cholesterol?

Guggul has been used in Ayurveda both traditionally and currently to treat high cholesterol and the resulting atherosclerosis, a condition called medoroga in ancient Sanskrit texts. 1 Although research and historical evidence suggests guggul may help lower high cholesterol, the verdict is not yet in from a western medical perspective.

In a modern review of 53 relevant clinical trials done to assess the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines used to treat high cholesterol, guggul was one of the substances found to decrease total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol significantly after treatment. 26 But the reviewers noted some conflicting data, made only more confusing by incomplete reporting of results in a widely publicized article refuting guggul’s effectiveness in reducing cholesterol. 26-27

The results of this clinical trial , as published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), made a splash with headlines such as Herbal Extract Is Faulted in Study in the L.A. Times and Cholesterol Pill In, Resin Out on the CBS website (which claimed that guggul might have “dangerous effects on cholesterol levels.”) 28-29 However, some non-reported, non-published, or non-emphasized data in this study make it far from the definitive conclusion these headlines would suggest. In fact, the positive effects of guggul from this study might be indicative of the opposite conclusion.

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