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Asthisamharaka (Vitis quadrangularis): A Medicinal Plant with Promising Health Benefits and Therapeutic Potential

Introduction: Asthisamharaka (Vitis quadrangularis), also known as the Devil's Backbone or Hadjod, is a medicinal plant that has been widely used in traditional medicine systems for centuries. With its origins in India, this plant belongs to the Vitaceae family and is characterized by its unique four-angled stem. Hadjod holds significant importance in various cultures due to its potential health benefits and therapeutic properties. Its traditional use can be traced back to ancient Ayurvedic texts, where it is highly regarded for its ability to promote bone health and treat musculoskeletal disorders. Historically, Hadjod has been used as a natural remedy for fractures, bone loss, and joint-related conditions. In Ayurveda, it is classified as a 'Asthisandhaneeya' herb, meaning it has the potential to strengthen bones, promote fracture healing, and improve overall bone health. The plant's name, "Hadjod," is derived from the Hindi word "hadjod,"

Guggulu Shudha: A Traditional Ayurvedic Herb with Modern Health Benefits


Guggulu, also known as balsamodendron mukul, is an important herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It is a resin extracted from the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India. Guggulu Shudha has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine to treat a variety of health conditions. In recent years, it has gained attention in the Western world for its potential health benefits.

One of the most significant health benefits associated with Guggulu Shudha is its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help to alleviate symptoms of conditions such as arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. Additionally, Guggulu Shudha is believed to have cholesterol-lowering and weight-loss benefits, making it a popular supplement for those looking to improve their cardiovascular health.

Throughout history, Guggulu Shudha has played an important role in Indian culture and spirituality. It has been used in various religious ceremonies and is considered to have purifying properties for the mind and body. Today, it continues to be widely used in Ayurvedic medicine and is gaining popularity as a natural remedy for a variety of health conditions.

Other Names

Guggulu is also known by various other names in different regions and languages. Some of the common names for this herb include:

·        Commiphora mukul

·        Guggul

·        Guggulu

·        Mukul myrrh tree

·        Indian bdellium-tree

·        Guggal

·        Mahisaksha

·        Palankasha

·        Guggalipid

These are just a few of the many names that may be used to refer to Guggulu Shudha, depending on the cultural or regional context.

Botanical Description:

Guggulu is a resin obtained from the Commiphora mukul tree, which is a small, thorny tree that grows in arid and semi-arid regions of India. The tree has a crooked trunk and branches, and can grow up to 4 meters in height. The leaves are simple, alternate, and oval-shaped, with a leathery texture and a glossy green colour. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, and the fruit is a globose drupe that is about 1.5 cm in diameter.

The resin of Guggulu is a yellowish-brown to blackish-brown colour, and has a brittle texture when dry. It has a characteristic odour and a bitter taste. The resin is extracted by making incisions in the bark of the tree, and allowing the sap to flow out and harden.

Guggulu is well adapted to the harsh, arid conditions of its natural habitat. It is typically found in rocky, dry, and sandy soils, and can withstand high temperatures and drought conditions. The tree is most commonly found in the arid regions of northern India, particularly in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh.

In Ayurvedic medicine, Guggulu Shudha is considered to have a heating, drying, and stimulating effect on the body. It is believed to balance the Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas, which are the three primary energy systems in the body according to Ayurvedic philosophy.

Purification Process of Guggulu

Purifying Guggulu Shudha involves removing impurities and excess water from the resin to increase its potency and effectiveness. The purification process involves the following steps:

1. Washing: The raw resin is washed thoroughly with warm water to remove any dirt, dust, or debris.

2. Soaking: The resin is soaked in water for several hours or overnight to soften it and remove any soluble impurities.

3. Grinding: The resin is ground into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or a mechanical grinder.

4. Filtering: The powder is then filtered through a fine mesh to remove any coarse particles and impurities.

5. Solvent extraction: The filtered powder is then mixed with a solvent such as alcohol or water and allowed to stand for several hours. The solvent extracts the active compounds from the resin, leaving behind any insoluble impurities.

6. Evaporation: The solvent is then evaporated off, leaving behind a purified extract of Guggulu Shudha.

Chemical Composition:

Guggulu Shudha contains a number of bioactive compounds, including guggulsterones, myrrhanol, and other terpenoids, which are responsible for its medicinal properties. The resin also contains various essential oils, resins, and sterols.

Guggulsterones are a group of compounds that have been extensively studied for their therapeutic potential. They are believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cholesterol-lowering effects. The guggulsterones are also thought to stimulate the thyroid gland, which may be responsible for its potential weight loss benefits.

Myrrhanol is another important compound found in Guggulu Shudha. It is a triterpenoid that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Myrrhanol has also been found to have anti-cancer properties and may have potential as a treatment for certain types of cancer.

Other terpenoids found in Guggulu Shudha include beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol, which have cholesterol-lowering effects. Additionally, the resin contains various essential oils, including limonene, alpha-pinene, and myrcene, which may have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

Traditional Uses:

Guggulu Shudha has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is known for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and cholesterol-lowering properties. It is also believed to have a balancing effect on the doshas (energies) of the body, making it a popular remedy for a wide range of health conditions.

In Ayurveda, Guggulu Shudha is often used to treat joint and muscle pain, including arthritis and rheumatism. The resin is believed to reduce inflammation and swelling, while also helping to strengthen bones and joints. It is also used to support healthy digestion, by promoting the secretion of digestive juices and improving the absorption of nutrients.

Guggulu Shudha is also believed to have benefits for the cardiovascular system. It has been traditionally used to lower cholesterol levels and improve circulation, which may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The resin is also believed to have a beneficial effect on the thyroid gland, which may be responsible for its potential weight loss benefits.

In addition to its physical health benefits, Guggulu Shudha is also believed to have spiritual and emotional benefits in Ayurveda. It is said to have a grounding and calming effect on the mind, promoting clarity and focus.

Guggulu Shudha is also used in other traditional medicine systems, such as Unani and Siddha, where it is believed to have similar therapeutic properties. It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as Mu Gua, to treat conditions such as amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea.

Modern Research:

Modern research has investigated the potential health benefits of Guggulu Shudha, building on its traditional uses in Ayurveda and other traditional medicine systems. Here are some of the findings from recent studies:

·        Cholesterol-lowering: Several studies have investigated the cholesterol-lowering effects of Guggulu Shudha. One randomized controlled trial found that Guggulu Shudha supplementation significantly reduced LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels in patients with hypercholesterolemia compared to placebo. Another study found that Guggulu Shudha extract decreased total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol levels in rats fed a high-fat diet.

·        Anti-inflammatory: Guggulu Shudha has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties in several studies. In one study, Guggulu Shudha extract reduced inflammation in rats with carrageenan-induced paw edema. Another study found that Guggulu Shudha extract inhibited the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in human white blood cells.

·        Weight loss: Guggulu Shudha has been traditionally used for weight loss, and some studies have investigated this potential benefit. One study found that Guggulu Shudha extract reduced body weight, waist circumference, and BMI in obese women compared to placebo. Another study found that Guggulu Shudha extract reduced body weight and fat mass in rats fed a high-fat diet.

·        Anti-cancer: Some laboratory studies have suggested that Guggulu Shudha may have anti-cancer properties. One study found that Guggulu Shudha extract inhibited the growth of human breast cancer cells in vitro. Another study found that Guggulu Shudha extract had cytotoxic effects on human colon cancer cells.

Safety and Side Effects:

While Guggulu Shudha is generally considered safe when taken as directed, there are some potential safety concerns to be aware of. Here are some of the main considerations:

·        Gastrointestinal effects: Some people may experience gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea when taking Guggulu Shudha. These side effects are generally mild and resolve on their own, but if they persist or are severe, you should discontinue use and speak with a healthcare provider.

·        Skin irritation: Guggulu Shudha resin can cause skin irritation in some people, particularly if applied topically. It is recommended to do a patch test before applying Guggulu Shudha to the skin and to dilute the resin in a carrier oil or cream.

·        Bleeding risk: Guggulu Shudha may increase the risk of bleeding, particularly when taken in high doses or in combination with other blood-thinning medications. If you are taking any medications that affect blood clotting or have a bleeding disorder, speak with a healthcare provider before using Guggulu Shudha.

·        Pregnancy and breastfeeding: There is limited information on the safety of Guggulu Shudha during pregnancy and breastfeeding. While some traditional sources recommend Guggulu Shudha for various pregnancy-related conditions, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

·        Drug interactions: Guggulu Shudha may interact with certain medications, particularly those that are metabolized by the liver. If you are taking any medications, speak with a healthcare provider before using Guggulu Shudha to avoid potential drug interactions.

It is also important to note that there is no standard dosage for Guggulu Shudha, and dosages may vary depending on the specific product and intended use. As with any herbal remedy, it is recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage and usage recommendations for your individual needs.


In conclusion, Guggulu Shudha is a traditional Ayurvedic herb with a long history of use for its numerous health benefits. It is commonly used as an anti-inflammatory, digestive aid, and cholesterol-lowering agent. Modern research has also shown promising results in supporting its use for a variety of health conditions, such as arthritis, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

The chemical composition of Guggulu Shudha is complex and includes several active compounds, such as guggulsterones and myrrhanol, which contribute to its therapeutic properties.

If you are interested in using Guggulu Shudha for health purposes, it is recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage and usage recommendations for your individual needs. Additionally, it is important to purchase high-quality, purified Guggulu Shudha from a reputable source to ensure its efficacy and safety.

If you're looking for products that contain Guggulu Shudha as an active ingredient, you may want to consider the following options:

Vatnasak 200 ml and Vatnasak 450 ml: These Ayurvedic formulations contain Guggulu Shudha along with other herbs and natural ingredients to support joint health and help relieve pain and inflammation.

Orthozac Capsules and Orthozac Gold 30 Tablets: These supplements feature Guggulu Shudha as well as other herbs and minerals to support joint health and help manage pain and inflammation.

Dr Relax capsule: This Ayurvedic supplement contains Guggulu Shudha along with other natural ingredients to support joint health and help manage pain and inflammation.

Elbas Syrup: Elbas Syrup is an alkalizer and is traditionally used in Ayurveda to help manage kidney, urine, and stone problems. In addition to Guggulu Shudha, it contains other natural ingredients, which are believed to help balance pH levels in the body and support healthy kidney function.

Orthozac Gold roll on and Orthozac Gold 60 ml oil: These topical formulations feature Guggulu Shudha along with other herbs and natural ingredients to provide targeted relief for joint pain and inflammation.

As with any supplement or herbal product, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider before adding Guggulu Shudha to your health regimen. Additionally, make sure to purchase products from top ayurvedic company in India to ensure their quality and safety.



The information provided here is for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for personalized guidance.

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