You have often heard me speak about the benefits of taking the adaptogenic herb ashwagandha to help with your thyroid. But there is another herbal preparation that I have mentioned that doesn't seem to get as much press – guggulu.
It has a name that sounds more like a dance step than the broad health-giving attributes it has.
Guggulu, often called guggul, also has a more popular name – bdellium. Guggulu is derived from the gummy residue liquid of a plant that is a myrrh relative. It is found in the dry desert areas of Northern India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
Guggulu is similar to another Ayurvedic preparation – triphala. They are both considered tridoshic, meaning they are balancing to all three doshas – vata, pitta, and kapha. These doshas are the foundation of traditional Ayurveda. Pitta is the fiery dosha, and this is the one that guggulu stimulates, thus enhancing warmth, digestion, and the circulatory and reproductive processes. Guggulu also regulates vata (nerve force) and kapha (fluid aspects).
In Sanskrit, guggul means ‘one that protects against diseases.' It is used to remove ‘ama,' or toxic substances that are created from sluggish digestion and circulation, thus slowing metabolism. As part of this toxic removal, it is used for a wide range of ailments – everything from rheumatism and arthritis, to obesity. It also helps with sluggish liver, stimulates the libido, bronchial congestion, and skin diseases such as psoriasis and acne.
What does this have to do with the thyroid? In Ayurveda, the thyroid is related to ‘Agni' or metabolic fire. It is considered to be responsible for all activity in the body. How quickly or slowly the life-energy flows through the body is dependent on the thyroid.
The rate of metabolism depends on how much Thyroxine is produced. When the ‘Agni' is low, a person is hypothyroid, with its weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, and brittle hair. But when the thyroid gland is over-active, you are hyperthyroid. The ‘Agni' is high and you have a fast metabolism. This person is irritated, angry, has a low weight, diarrhea, and menstrual disturbances.
The guggulu resin removes toxins from the lymph system by kindling your digestive fire and speeding up your metabolic activity. But through this removal of toxins, it also balances thyroxine by decreasing any excess and increasing any deficient production. What this means is that it will normalize your T3 and T4 levels and help your body absorb iodine. Studies have also shown that the resin has a component called guggulsterones. They have anti-inflammatory properties that are similar to other non-steroidal drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Since supporting a normal inflammatory response helps support normal thyroid health, you can see the benefits of this valuable herbal preparation.
And if this isn't enough, guggulu also has been reported to support normal blood sugar levels, healthy cholesterol, and weight!
So try guggulu, and then you can dance to the guggulu beat!