The resin from a tree in India, the guggul tree, contains a substance effective in controlling high cholesterol. The compound, guggulsterone, blocks the action of a cell receptor, FXR, which helps to regulate body cholesterol levels.

Studies using two types of mice—one with a normal FXR receptor and the other without FXR—have shown cholesterol levels dropped in the livers of mice that had the normal FXR receptor, but not in the others.

Scientists believe this proves the compound works by affecting the FXR receptor and also suggests a new drug pathway for controlling cholesterol. This is good news for people with high cholesterol who experience side effects with statin drugs.