Loha Guggulu: Uses, Ingredients, Benefits, Side Effects

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay)
Loha Guggulu is one of the Guggulu Kalpas (set of medications prepared with Guggulu or Commiphora mukul as the main ingredient along with Loha (purified iron) explained in the context of Shula (abdominal colic) Prakarana (prakarana means chapter or context) of Yogaratnakara text of Ayurveda. 

Meaning –
Loha means purified iron, Guggulu means Commiphora mukul
Thus Loha Guggulu is a herbal compound prepared using Loha and Guggulu as chief ingredients along with other beneficial herbs

Indications and Benefits of Loha Guggulu:
It is used to treat the below said conditions:

  • Shula – Abdominal colic
  • Annadrava Shula – Peptic ulcers, mainly gastric ulcers (painful sores occurring in the stomach and intestines)
  • Pandu roga – Anaemia and other liver disorders
  • Kamala – Jaundice
  • Haleemaka – Variant of Jaundice

Loha Guggulu

Ingredients and method of preparation of Loha  Gulgulu –
Below mentioned ate the ingredients of Loha Guggulu –

  • Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) – 1 pala quantity (48 grams approximately)
  • Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica) – 1 pala quantity (48 grams approximately)
  • Amalaki (Phyllanthus Emblica / Emblica officinalis, Indian gooseberry) – 1 pala quantity (48 grams approximately)
  • Musta (Cyperus rotundus) – 1 pala quantity (48 grams approximately)
  • Pippali (Piper longum, Long Pepper) – 1 pala quantity (48 grams approximately)
  • Maricha (Piper Nigrum, Black Pepper) – 1 pala quantity (48 grams approximately)
  • Shunti (Zingiber officinale, Ginger) – 1 pala quantity (48 grams approximately)
  • Vidanga (Embelis ribes) – 1 pala quantity (48 grams approximately)
  • Pushkara (Inula racemosa) – 1 pala quantity (48 grams approximately)
  • Vacha (Acorus calamus) – 1 pala quantity (48 grams approximately)
  • Chitraka (Plumbago zeylanica) – 1 pala quantity (48 grams approximately)
  • Madhuka (Glycyrrhiza glabra) – 1 pala quantity (48 grams approximately)
  • Ayo bhasma (loha bhasma, ash of purified iron) – 8 pala quantity (384 grams approximately)
  • Guggulu (Commiphora Mukul ) – 8 pala quantity (384 grams approximately)

Note:

  • Haritaki, Bibhitaki and Amalaki together are called Triphala.
  • Pippali Maricha and Shunti together are called Trikatu or Vyosha.

How to prepare?
The above said medicaments should be taken (other than Loha bhasma and Guggulu) and pounded into soft powders individually.
All the powders of individual herbs are mixed thoroughly
To this, the powders of Loha Bhasma and Guggulu are added and once again mixed thoroughly by pounding them so as to make a homogenous mixture
Ghee is adequately added to the compound mixture of the above said herbs and once again pounded to obtain their homogenous paste
Small tablets / pills of 1 karsha quantity (approximately 12 grams is equal to 1 karsha) are prepared

The final preparation is called Loha Guggulu
Note that the quantity of Loha and Guggulu is 8 times that of the individual quantity of each herb. Since they are taken in large proportions, the compound is named as Loha Guggulu.
Tablets thus formed should be stored in air tight containers.

Dose:
1 tablet per day either before or after food, along with a cup of water, according to the strength of the patient or / and disease or as directed by the Physician

Side effects of Loh Guggul:
People with sensitive stomach should take care while taking this, as it may cause burning sensation in some people.
It is best to avoid this medicine during pregnancy.

Specialty of Loha Guggulu and probable mode of action –
When many herbs are used in the compound preparation, the compound will be acting in totality i.e. by the virtue of the combined effect of all the herbs in the combination rather than individual herbs. We need to remember that the action of individual herb or medicine will be totally different in comparison to the compound in which it is a part. It is the prabhava or overall effect of the ingredients which will be effectively aborting the disease process. It is not different in case of Loha Guggulu.

Loha Guggulu has many useful ingredients effectively designed to eradicate abdominal pain associated with peptic ulcers and other types of colic. The ingredients are also highly effective to remove the blocks in the liver and cure the liver ailments.

Analgesic effect of the compound – Shula, Annadrava Shula, Pandu and Kamala are all caused due to morbid Pitta. The compound has a potential pitta-alleviating property by the virtue of its prabhava. Excess pitta is flushed out of the system by the presence of Triphala in the combination. Vata is the chief culprit in causation of pain in Shula is also controlled by the combination. Guggulu, pippali, yasthimadhu, pushkara have good analgesic effect so as Loha.

Anti-infective, ulcer healing, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and ppi (modern drugs used to reduce acids in the stomach) like role of the compound – Loha, Guggulu, Vacha, Trikatu, Chitraka, Vidanga, and Musta are potent anti-helmenthics. They destroy the micro-organisms and help in healing infections. They are the best medicines having wound and ulcer (stomach and intestinal sores occurring in peptic ulcers) healing property. We know that peptic ulcers (duodenal ulcers and gastric ulcers) are caused by H. Pylori infections (most of the times). These ingredients of Loha Guggulu help in eradicating the gut and stomach infection and thus heal the ulcers. At the same time, they can eradicate the infections occurring in liver disorders and jaundice. This enables good healing in conditions like anaemia and jaundice. Krimi or microorganisms in the gut are also chief causes for anaemia and blood loss. By correcting the liver functions, eradicating infections and healing ulcers, these medicines prevent micro bleeding taking place in the intestines. Ghrita being used to prepare tablets is a potential pitta-vata alleviating medicine apart from being a good appetizer and digestant.

Pushkaramula and Vacha, helped by vyosha, triphala, guggulu, ghrita and loha acts as potent anti-inflammatory agents along with ulcer healing property.

Yashtimadhu is known for its pitta alleviating property. It heals the inflammation and ulcers of the stomach and intestines and also acts as an antacid along with pushkara, vacha and triphala and loha. Ghrita or ghee in the formulation also comes handy and supports the role of these medicaments.

By stabilizing the agni (rectifying metabolic errors) the compound effectively heals diseases like Pandu, Kamala and Haleemika.

Metabolic corrections – The depleted agni is the main source of many diseases in the body including Pandu and Kamala. Agnimandhya or depletion of digestion activities will lead to systemic and cellular ama (improperly formed circulating nutrients which due to their sticky nature tend to block and clog the channels of the body hence blocking the free flow of nutrients and essential substances to the cells and organs). This ama in due course of time gets converted into amavisha (stubborn endotoxins). Amavisha gives rise to many systemic illnesses which are difficult to treat.

Correction of metabolism (including cellular) is necessary to get rid of diseases like Pandu and Kamala, also shula. The agni should be balanced and kept in a controlled level. This is possible by the virtue of Deepana (appetizers, enhance the fire or digestion power) and Pachana (ama destroying, digestants) medicines like Vyosha, loha, guggulu etc in the compound Loha Guggulu. Many of these medicines also destroy amavisha.

Loha bhasma corrects metabolism, heals ulcer, forms haemoglobin and supports blood forming process in the liver and spleen, detoxifies liver and gall bladder, prevents organ damage, helps in proper circulation of blood, checks bleeding in the gastro-intestinal tract, acts as a disease modifying medicine and immune-modulator in peptic ulcers, promotes health and longevity of cells and organs, cures anaemia and jaundice and other liver related disorders.

Detoxification role – In chronic diseases as listed above, regular detoxification of the body and flushing of excreta and metabolic wastes is needed. This is achieved by potent laxative property of Triphala, assisted by Vacha, and Vidanga.

Immune-modulation role – Loha, Triphala, Vidanga, Guggulu, Ghrita are potent Rasayanas (immune modulators) and help in preventing relapses.

Thus Loha Guggulu can be skilfully used to tackle the stomach, duodenal and liver ailments.

Limitations of Loha Guggulu –

Loha Guggulu is well tolerated but has to be used with caution or under supervision in pregnancy, kids, people suffering from chronic metabolic disorders like diabetes, hypertension etc

Tolerance for iron should be checked as all people do not tolerate iron preparations

Loha Guggulu is an excellent remedy for colic and ulcers but the causes of pain abdomen should be identified before the start of medicine

Peptic ulcers, anaemia and jaundice all can lead to serious complications. Their nature, intensity and chronicity should be thoroughly known. Let your doctor take a call if he needs to give you this compound or anything else suits you the most.

Loha Guggulu is one such comprehensive formulation. It is a wonderful combination of ulcer-healing, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antibiotic, laxatives, haematinics, metabolic-correcting and immune-modulating herbs and medicines. It not only heals ulcers and reduces associated pain and other symptoms, it also cures anaemia and jaundice. The compound is thus hepato-protective in nature. It restores the health of stomach, liver, intestines and spleen.

The nature of your problem (colic or liver disorders), extent of damage, prognosis, etc shall be known in detail. Some other medicine may be suitable to your condition. Thus a thorough examination of the patient by a qualified Ayurveda doctor is mandatory before taking any medicine.

Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)


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