An Ancient Herbal Medicine with Modern Medical Applications

Can Guggul Help Fight Breast Cancer?

Guggul may help fight breast cancer.

Preliminary research on breast cancer cell lines suggests that guggul may be valuable in the fight against breast cancer. Results show that guggulsterones inhibits the proliferation of breast cancer cells (including drug-resistant cancer cells), induces cellular death, and enhances the effects of radiation—but experts caution that these anti-cancer benefits may be cell-line dependent.35

In one study, guggulsterones exhibited some toxicity on breast carcinoma cells incubated for 24 hours in a solution containing the plant sterols. Treating the breast cancer cells with guggulsterones also slightly increased their sensitivity to radiation.35

An extensive investigation conducted at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center demonstrated that guggulsterone decreases the viability of human breast cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. Interestingly, while the lowest amount of guggulsterone showed no decreased viability on one breast cancer cell line it had a 20% decrease in viability on the same cell line that was resistant to the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin. But at the highest amount of guggulsterone the same cell lines responded in a reverse manner, with the guggul having the greater effect on the non-drug resistant breast cancer cells and 10% less of an effect on doxorubicin-resistant cells. Even so, at the highest levels of guggulsterone only 37% of the chemo-resistant breast cancer cells survived.37

However, it should be noted that these are only pre-clinical laboratory studies. Guggul is similar to the female reproductive hormone, estrogen, suggesting that in the body it may exacerbate certain carcinomas such as breast, prostate, or ovarian cancer. Until further research is done, experts recommend not using guggul if you have any of these hormone-sensitive conditions.39

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