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Traditional Remedy Lowers Cholesterol in Clinical Trials.

CHICAGO -- A natural treatment for lipid disorders, found in Ayurvedic materia medica, is holding up to promise in clinical trials.

Gugulipid, a derivative of resin from the Commiphora mukul tree, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine since at least 600 B.C. Sanskrit texts suggest that this herb, which originated in north-central India, was used to alleviate the effects of overeating or overindulgence, Dr. Philippe O. Szapary said at a conference on alternative and complementary medicine sponsored by the University of Chicago.

Some 20 clinical trials of the effects of gugulipid on cholesterol, four of which used standardized preparations, provided sufficient evidence of efficacy for the Indian government to grant it approval in 1987, said Dr. Szapary of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

In a subsequent double-blind study conducted at the Heart Research Laboratory in Moradabad, India, 61 patients were randomized to receive 50 mg of gugulipid or placebo twice daily for 24 weeks, Dr. Szapary reported. In patients in the active treatment groups, total cholesterol levels decreased by 12%, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels decreased by 13%, and triglycerides decreased by 12%. The total cholesterol/high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ratio also decreased by 11%, while the levels of lipid peroxides--indicative of oxidative stress--fell by 33%. No changes were seen in any lipoprotein levels in the placebo group (Cardiovasc. Drugs Ther. 8[4]:659-64, 1994).

A standard dose and a high dose of gugulipid are now being evaluated in a clinical trial of Americans with moderate hypercholesterolemia, said Dr. Szapary, who has been awarded a grant from the National Institutes for Health's National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine to study alternative dietary approaches to the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.

Dr. Szapary is the principal investigator for the study, which is still blinded so results are not yet known. He also is the recipient of a grant from the Sabinsa Corp., which holds an investigational new drug application on a proprietary formulation of gugulipid.

The active components in gugulipid are E- and Z-guggulsterones, both of which have demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects. Gugulipid is thought to lower lipid levels primarily by increasing bile acid secretion, although it also may directly inhibit hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis.
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Title Annotation:Ayurvedic herb gugulipid lowers blood cholesterol
Author:WALSH, NANCY
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2001
Words:365
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