Boswellia Serrata, also known as Indian Frankincense, is promoted to reduce inflammation and joint pain with many benefits associated with arthritis, ulcerative colitis and many conditions related to inflammation.
What is Boswellia Serrata?
Boswellia Serrata, also known as Indian Frankincense, is a gummy resin that is extracted from a category of trees and shrubs that are native to India and Africa. It is an herb that has notorious history, even dating back to biblical times.
Frankincense was used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to treat arthritis, regulate menses and improve circulation in the organs. This herb was thought to support circulation and cool down inflammation. It was first discovered by healers when watching elephants eat it.
Today, this supplement has gained a lot of interest and popularity for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. It may have the potential to be just as effective, less toxic and eliminate the side effects that are associated with prescriptive medications (NSAID’s) for inflammation.
Boswellia is used as an alternative medicine for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to have many beneficial effects on Osteoarthritis (OA) and Ulcerative colitis.
It is also believed to be used for a wide range of conditions including asthma, headaches, Crohn’s disease and even aging skin but there is insufficient evidence to support it’s effectiveness for these uses.
There are also claims that not only is Boswellia Serrata a powerful anti-inflammatory but may even prevent cancer and growth of tumors.
This supplement is widely available and considered safe.
Boswellia Serrata Effects
Boswellia Serrata is found to be associated with controlling levels of an enzyme called 5-Lox (5 lipoxygenase). This enzyme is responsible for inflammations and may potentially reach high levels in the body as we age that may cause health issues.
Inflammation is one of the primary roots of many diseases and Boswellia is thought to contain 4 acids that inhibit 5-lox among other compounds. This helps the body lower the levels which reduces inflammation and potentially fights against autoimmune diseases.
The most important acid believed to be contained in this resin is Boswellia Acid, which is the potent inhibitor of 5-lox.
5-Lox produces the formation of leukotrienes. These send signals to cells to regulate immune responses. When leukotrienes are over produced, they can cause severe inflammation and it is one of the primary causes of asthma.
What is Boswellia Serrata Used for?
The most studied benefits of Boswellia Serrata, are as an anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and pain killing resin. Research suggests it to be effective at reducing inflammation, joint pain and improving mobility in people suffering from OA (Osteoarthritis) which most commonly affects the knee joints.
The pain relievers found in this resin are thought to be more effective than NSAID medications (standard anti-inflammatory) and it is believed to minimize the side effects that come along with them.
This resins active components are believed to be used for many conditions associated with inflammation;
- Ulcerative colitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Crohn’s disease
- Chronic colitis
- Inflammation in the nasal passages
Boswellia oils and extracts can be found in food, cosmetic products and soaps. It is also believed to improve skin health and stimulate the immune system to speed up recovery from infections.
Other reported uses are;
- Reduce menstrual cramps and stimulate menses
- Sore throats
- Cluster headaches
- Increase urine flow
- Increase healing time from colds and flues
Also, this extract contains Boswellia acid. This compound is thought to stimulate the immune system and prevent certain enzymes from damaging DNA. This may potentially help fight in the prevention of cancers including breast, brain, skin, colon, prostate and stomach cancers.
In in vitro tests, Boswellia has reduced the speed of cancer cell growth and even caused some cell death. This may make it a very promising anti-cancer resin and is still being investigated to be used for this purpose.
Side Effects of Boswellia
Boswellia is considered fairly safe within the recommended dosage. Research suggests that it is considered safe to take in clinical trials where it was used for up to 6 months.
Some side effects reported may be based on over usage, however they have been;
- Stomach pain
It s not recommended to take Boswellia supplements for longer than 6 months or to overuse it outside the suggested dosage. High dosages may cause liver toxicity.
This supplement is not recommended for pregnant women as it may stimulate blood flow in the uterus and may cause a miscarriage. This supplement is more potent than the Boswellia contained in common foods. Those foods are considered likely safe while pregnant or breast feeding.
Boswellia Serrata is available in softgel or powdered capsules. Depending on what you are taking it for the recommended dosage can vary.
The general suggested dosage of Boswellia taken for arthritis, asthma and ulcerative colitis is between 300mg-400mg 2-3 times per day. Lower dosages of 100mg or 250mg in total for the day have been taken for osteoarthritis.
If you are taking Boswellia for Crohn’s disease, the suggested dosage can be up to 800mg taken 3 times per day.
Boswellia is sometimes taken as an alternative to NSAID’s. If you are currently taking any NSAID’s it is best to speak to your doctor first before taking this supplement.