Boswellia serrata also known as boswellin or "Indian frankincense," comes from the Boswellia serrata tree that grows in the dry hills of India. For centuries, traditional Indian healers have taken advantage of the anti-inflammatory properties of the tree bark's gummy resin, called salai guggal. Boswellia is a significant herb in the Ayurvedic system of health and healing.
The active compound in Boswellia is boswellic acid, and it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. Boswellic acid is thought to exert anti-inflammatory effects by preventing the breakdown of connective tissue, and by increasing the blood supply to joint tissues.
Boswellia's active components are responsible for anti-inflammatory effects. In studies, these agents have been seen to reduce inflammation by deterring the inflammation of white cells and improving the flow of blood to the joints. In addition, these Boswellia acids have been shown to block the chemical reactions that can be precursors to inflammation.(1)
These acids effectively shrink inflamed tissue by stimulating the growth of cartilage, increase blood supply to inflamed joints, and enhance the repair of local blood vessels damaged by inflammation.(2)
They also block chemical reactions that set the stage for inflammation to occur in chronic intestinal disorders such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.(3)
In addition to these anti-inflammatory benefits, Boswellia is thought to reduce inflammation that can be associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Boswellia appears to provide this vital relief without the negative side effects often seen with traditional pain relievers. Unlike many other common pain relievers, Boswellia has not been shown to cause stomach upset and other digestive problems.(4,5)
Boswellia has been found, in clinical trials, to significantly reduce the number of asthma attack and improve breathing in people with acute bronchial asthma.(6)
Boswellia may help to ease symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Boswellia can be taken internally as well as applied topically to affected joints to relieve inflammation associated with these joint disorders. Especially Boswellia is thought to be effective against both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.(7,8,9)
These claims' axes are obviously given as an indication. Please note that the plant effect greatly depends on the amount implemented in the product. From a regulatory point of view, all claims appended on the labeling of all dietary supplements must be justified by pertinent bibliographical data file according to Regulation 1924/2006/EC.
1. Majeed, M., et al. Boswellin: The Anti-inflammatory Phytonutrient. Nutriscience Publishers: Piscataway, New Jersey, 1996.
2. Phyllis A. Balch, Prescription for Herbal Healing (2002)
3. Gupta I, Parihar A, Malhotra P, et al. Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with ulcerative colitis. Eur J Med Res. 1997;2(1):37-43.
4. Gerhardt H, Seifert F, Buvari P, et al. [Therapy of active Crohn disease with Boswellia serrata extract H 15]. Z.Gastroenterol. 2001;39(1):11-17.
5. Gupta I, Parihar A, Malhotra P, et al. Effects of gum resin of Boswellia serrata in patients with chronic colitis. Planta Med 2001;67(5):391-395.
6. Gupta I, Gupta V, Parihar A, et al. Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with bronchial asthma: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week clinical study. Eur J Med Res 1998;3:1-5.
7. Kimmatkar N, Thawani V, Hingorani L, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee--a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2003;10(1):3-7.
8. Kulkarni RR, Patki PS, Jog VP, et al. Treatment of osteoarthritis with a herbomineral formulation: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. J Ethnopharm 1991;33(1-2):91-95.
9. Kulkarni RR, Patki PS, Jog VP, et al. Efficacy of an Ayurvedic formulation in rheumatoid arthritis: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. Indian J Pharm 1992;24:98-101.