Commiphora mukul: The Plant Source of Gugulipid

Commiphora mukul
Engl. (synonyms: Commiphora wightii and Balsamodendron mukul), is a small tree of the Burseraceae family that is indigenous to India. It grows wild in the semi-arid states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Karnataka in India. The Commiphora mukul tree has an ash-colored bark that comes off in large flakes exposing the under bark that also peels away.

The gum resin of the Commiphora mukul tree is revered in Ayurveda for its medicinal properties. It is commonly called guggulu or guggul. The gum resin resides in the ducts located in the soft bark of the tree. It is obtained through a process called tapping. Circular incisions are made on the main stem, not beyond the thickness of the bark. From these incisions, a pale yellow, aromatic fluid exudes that quickly solidifies to form a golden brown or reddish brown agglomerate of tears or stalactic pieces. The dried resin has a bitter aromatic taste and a balsamic odor.

(A) The Commiphora mukul tree

(B) Yellow gum resin from incision

(C) The dried gum resin



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