Guggal or Mukul myrrh or Gugal is a flowering plant from the Burseraceae family. It is generally found in northern Africa and central Asia. The name Commiphora comes from Greek words 'kommis' and 'phora' meaning gum-bearer. This is a threatened and vulnerable species due to its over-exploitation.
It is a slow growing plant and does not require much attention once established.
The plant prefers full sun. Although you can grow it in partial shade, the plant does the best in full sun conditions after all it is essentially a desert plant.
The flowers are pink to red in colour and occur singly or in groups of 2-3. Fruits are green and berry-like. The plant exudes an oleo 'gum' resin during the summer months. Pruning the plant is early stages could lead to better growth including the thickness of the girth leading to better gum yield.
The plant prefers arid to semi-arid climates so it is quite drought resistant. Watering is required during the first 2-3 years but after that, it does not require frequent watering. Over-watering can kill the plant as it is very susceptible to root-rot.
The plant can survive in a wide range of soils but the most preferable are sandy or sandy loamy soils with pH ranging from 7.5 to 9. Soils should be well-drained. They are quite resistant to saline soils. In fact, the plant does well in coarse-textured soil, poor in organic material.
Guggal usually grows up to two to three meters.
The plant is not a big-feeder. It does not require regular application of fertilizers. Apply a high-potassium liquid fertilizer if the gum content is not as expected. You can also use Farmyard Manure while planting.
The plant can get infested with termites especially during the summer season. Drying and yellowing of leaves is a sign of the same. Treat them as soon as they are detected. You can Chlorpyrifos mixed in with water and farmyard manure. Pay attention to regular weeding.
The resin collected by tapping the bark has medicinal uses. According to Ayurveda Guggul is used for a wide variety of conditions including rheumatism, obesity, and atherosclerosis. The gum is also used in the preparation of incense and burnt over coal. The smoke from the same is said to ward off evil spirits.