Boswellia and Its Health Benefits

Boswellia, also known as “The Indian Frankincense” or “Salai Guggal,” is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a diverse range of conditions. A genus of trees from the plant family of Burseraceae, Boswellia is native to tropical America, but a few species occur in Africa and Asia as well. The oleo-gum resin of Boswellia, popularly known as frankincense, was used in biblical times as incense and medicine.

A gummy resin of the boswellia tree, the plant is native to India and has been extensively used in the traditional practices of Ayurveda. Plants of this family are characterized by leaves that alternate along the stem and are composed of many leaflets, solitary or clustered flowers, and fleshy fruits.

Boswellia supports the overall flexibility of the body & provides a sense of well being. It further contributes to the healthy functioning of the joints. The herb also acts as COX-2 inhibitors and alleviates inflammation and pain without affecting the gastric mucosa. It soothes the joints and also assists in treating levels of synovial fluid, thereby lubricating the joints and making movement easier. Boswellia is also known to support normal respiratory function.

The resin of Boswellia has anti-septic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties that help in treating a number of health conditions.  The herb helps in reducing joint inflammation in people suffering from Arthritis and is also used to counter fever and convulsions.

Studies show that Boswellia may be beneficial for people suffering from asthma. A study conducted in 1998 revealed that 70 percent of patients who took 300 mg of boswellia three times daily for six weeks showed improvement in their symptoms (including number of attacks), compared with 27 percent of patients in the control group.

Boswellia is also known to boost physical functioning of people suffering from Arthritis of knee as well as rheumatoid arthritis. It’s anti-inflammatory properties are efficacious in reducing swelling and pain and consequently bringing relief.

Latest studies show that Boswellia possesses certain active anti-inflammatory ingredients, which are commonly referred to as Boswellic acids. In animal studies, Boswelllia was observed to significantly reduce inflammation. The herb prevents inflammatory white cells from infiltrating damaged tissues. They are also known to improve blood flow to the joints.

The most active ingredient of Boswellia is the Boswellic acid which works as an ointment to relax facial muscles and eases micro-contractions, helping to reduce and prevent the appearance of wrinkles. The acid also has strong anti-inflammatory actions which help in relieving swelling and pain. Boswellia has no known side-effects. Research shows that the herb is superior to over-the –counter drugs, in terms of effectiveness as well as minimum side-effects.  Some of the many forms of the herb include pills, capsules and tablets as well as a number of topical creams that can be applied directly to the affected skin areas.