An Ancient Herbal Medicine with Modern Medical Applications

Can Guggul Help Fight Leukemia?

Compounds in guggul could help fight leukemia cells resistant to chemotherapy.

There have been very few studies on the anti-leukemic effects of guggul, but several conducted over the years at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center suggest guggulsterones may offer some therapeutic benefit for leukemia patients. Guggul’s powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties inhibit the growth and induces the death of leukemia cancer cells.43

In one reported study, different forms of plant steroids, including cis-guggulsterone and trans-guggulsterone from guggul, showed robust anti-proliferative effects in leukemia cell samples taken from patients with acute myeloid leukemias. The guggulsterones stopped the reproduction of leukemia cells by disrupting the proper functioning of the cell mitochondria and also by stimulating apoptosis, or natural cell death.43

Results of more recent lab studies on guggul indicate that guggul should be explored as a potential cancer treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia, human monocytic leukemia, human lymphoblastic leukemia cells, and chemotherapy-resistant leukemia, according to experts at M.D. Anderson. By blocking the expression of proteins that allow cancer cell DNA to replicate and regulate the cell cycle while activating other proteins that cause the cells to die, guggulsterone successfully inhibited these leukemia types in a dose-dependent manner. Other anti-cancer mechanisms were also uncovered by the researchers. Even more encouraging was that guggul is toxic to cancer cells without affecting nearby normal cells—possibly because of its suppression of certain inflammatory proteins.37

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Specifically leukemia resistant to gleevac chemotherapy treatment.