Gulgulu – Promotes Healthy Cholesterol
Dyslipidemia (increased cholesterol) is a significant health problem in the world today. In addition, increased cholesterol contributes to Metabolic syndrome, which is a substantial cause of mortality and morbidity.
Gulgulu is one of the major drugs mentioned in Ayurveda to reduce cholesterol levels in the body.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in the blood.
Chemically cholesterol is an organic compound belonging to the steroid family. Cholesterol is a sterol synthesized by animal cells and is also a component of the diet.
Why is cholesterol needed in the body?
Cholesterol has four main functions.
- Structure of the cell wall: Cholesterol plays a distinct role in maintaining cell membrane structure.
- Makes bile acids in the intestine- Bile acids are biological molecules that helps in the absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Cholesterol synthesizes bile acids in the liver.
- Facilitates body to produce Vitamin D– Cholesterol in our skin cells make Vitamin D from sunlight.
- Enable the body to make certain hormones: Cholesterol produces female hormones like oestrogen and progesterone in the body.
Types of cholesterol
Cholesterol moves throughout the body, carried by lipoproteins in the blood. These lipoproteins are of three types
- Low-density lipoproteins (LDL), often known as bad cholesterol.
- High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are often known as good cholesterol.
- Very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), which carry triglycerides in the blood.
Normal range of cholesterol
Total blood cholesterol
- Desirable < 200 mg/dl
- Borderline high 200-239 mg/dl
- High >240 mg/dl
- HDL > 45 mg/dl
- Optimal LDL level <100 mg/dl
- Triglycerides optimal level <150 mg/dl
Factors that increase your unhealthy cholesterol
- Diet: Food rich in saturated fat and trans fat (the fatty portion of meats and full-fat dietary products) increases your unhealthy cholesterol levels.
- Lack of exercise: Exercise boosts your body’s HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
- Smoking: Smoking lowers your HDL level.
- Age– Increased level of unhealthy cholesterol is more common above 40 years.
High cholesterol level causes dangerous accumulation of cholesterol inside the arterial walls (atherosclerosis). These deposits (plaques) reduces blood flow through the arteries causing complications like
- Chest pain (Angina)
- Heart attack
Gulgulu obtained as an exudate from the tapping of stem and branches of Commiphora wightii. The plant is commonly found in Rajasthan, Assam, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka.
The plant tapped. The resin is allowed to flow and collected after hardening. Gulgulu occurs in vermicular pieces of pale yellow or brown colored mass. It possesses an aromatic odor and bitter, astringent taste.
Properties of Gulgulu
Susrutha Samhitha explains Purana Gulgulu has the following properties
- Apakarshana (helps to reduce obesity, cholesterol)
- Poothi koshtaghna (helps in relieving intestinal gas)
- Anala Deepana ( helps to regulate digestion)
Gulgulu Sodhana (purification)
Ayurveda explains the Sodhana (purification) of the Gulgulu using different substances like cow’s milk, herbal juices, etc.
Gulgulu is used after Sodhana(purification) in different Ayurvedic formulations.
Ayurvedic formulations that contain Gulgulu
- Kashayam (decoctions)- Gulgulutiktham Kashayam
- Gulika (tablets)- Kaisora Gulgulu, Triphala Gulgulu, Yogaraja Gulgulu etc.
- Choornam (powders)- Gulgulupanchapala Choornam
- Ghritham (medicated Ghee)- Gulguluthikthakam Ghrutham
- Single herb Gulgulu is also available
Pharmacological activities of Gulgulu
Gulgulu reduces total cholesterol and LDL. Gulgulu minimizes the chance of complications like atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Gulgulu helps in increasing the level of HDL(good cholesterol).
The antioxidant property of Gulgulu helps to stop the oxidation of cholesterol and subsequent hardening of the arteries.
The combination of the antioxidant and lipid-lowering effect of Gulgulu makes it beneficial against atherosclerosis. Thus Gulgulu shows to be an effective cardio protector.
Studies also show that Gulgulu formulations are also effective in reducing body weight.
In Ayurveda, one of the properties explained for the drug Gulgulu is Medohara (reduce cholesterol level and body weight).
b)Anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic activities
Several studies confirm the anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic activities of Gulgulu.
The drug is widely used in Ayurveda for the treatment of arthritic and inflammatory conditions. The formulations reduce inflammation of joints and muscles.
Fumes of Gulgulu have an excellent antimicrobial effect. It is an ingredient of Aparajitha Dhooma Choornam, which is a known disinfectant.
- You must take Gulgulu only under medical supervision.
- In some persons, it causes allergic skin reactions.
The dose is as directed by the physician.
In a nutshell, Gulgulu possesses a wide range of medical uses. Gulgulu is anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti dyslipidemic.
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