An Ancient Herbal Medicine with Modern Medical Applications

Can Guggul Protect Against Skin Cancer?

Guggul may help fight skin cancer, including melanoma.

Animal studies suggest that topical application of guggul may help protect against the development of skin cancer. On a mouse model of human skin tumors, topical treatment with of guggulsterones 30 minutes prior to exposure to a carcinogen resulted in significant inhibition of markers for skin tumor risk (e.g., skin edema, hyperplasia, oxidative damage, and production of inflammatory proteins). In other tests, animals pre-treated with guggulsterones showed much lower rates of skin cancer, reduced numbers of tumors in those with cancer, and a significant delay in tumor occurrence compared to the non-guggul treated group. 42

Laboratory experiments at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have demonstrated that guggul is toxic to skin cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner, suggesting it may also be a viable skin cancer treatment option. At the highest concentration, guggulsterones significantly decreased the viability of melanoma cancer cells, including those resistant to the anti-cancer drug dexamethasone. However, the guggul extracts proved to be more effective against certain melanoma cell lines than others. 37

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