Phytochemistry of Commiphora mukul
Chemical investigations have focused on the
oleogum resin of Commiphora mukul due to its hypolipidemic properties. The
oleogum resin contains an essential oil mainly consisting of myrcene, dimyrcene, and
polymyrcene. The National Chemical Laboratory (Pune, India) in collaboration with the
pharmacology team of the Central Drug Research Institute (Lucknow, India) isolated and
chemically characterized the hypolipidemic compounds of the oleogum resin. A stepwise
extraction scheme shown in Figure 2 was used to separate the chemical constituents.
Solvent extract, using ethyl acetate, separates the oleogum
resin into two parts, gum and resin. The gum is insoluble in ethyl acetate, and it is
chemically characterized as a carbohydrate gum (substance belonging to the class of
sugars). Because the gum did not possess lipid-lowering activities and proved toxic to
experimental animals, it was not studied further. The resinous portion is soluble in ethyl
acetate and possesses both anti-inflammatory and lipid-lowering properties. It was further
separated into acidic, basic, and neutral fractions that comprised approximately 4%, 0.3%,
and 95% of the ethyl acetate-soluble resin, respectively. The basic fraction was devoid of
any activity. Thus, it was discarded. The acidic fraction possessed significant
anti-inflammatory activity. The neutral faction possessed lipid-lowering activity. The
neutral fraction was further separated into ketonic and non-ketonic fractions to pinpoint
the source of the hypolipidemic activity. The ketonic fraction possessed significant
lipid-lowering activity, while the non-ketonic fraction showed none. The ketonic fraction
is a complex mixture of chemical compounds that belong to the class of steroids as shown
Among the compounds listed, Z-Guggulsterone and
E-Guggulsterone are responsible for the hypolipidemic activity of the gum resin. In fact,
the hypolipidemic activity of Z- and E-guggulsterones has been determined to be
quantitatively comparable to that of the total ethyl acetate extract of the gum resin.
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