Boswellia is an herbal medicine native to India, North Africa and the Middle East. It has been used for centuries as a kind of incense that is used for religious and cultural ceremonies. It is also used as a treatment for chronic inflammatory illnesses.
However, it is not yet part of conventional medicine nor is it one of the most popular herbal medicines out there. However, it contains some properties that could provide many health benefits.
It is known by other names such as the following:
- Indian frankincense
- boswellin serrata resin
- Indian olibanum
- Resina boswelliae
According to health professionals, the plant also has a relatively low risk of side effects associated with its use.
Users of this herb claim that it has a lot of health benefits. However, like most herbs that have been used for thousands of years, the boswellia is fairly new to the field of research and it needs to be further studied. The following are some of reported health benefits:
- Counteracts inflammation
- Reduces pain and improves mobility from osteoarthritis
- Treats rheumatoid arthritis and asthma
- Inhibits the synthesis of pro-inflammatory enzymes
- Treats colitis
- Has anti-aging properties
- Helps restore blood vessels around inflamed connective tissue
- May help to protect the pancreas
- May reduce wrinkles
- May have the ability to fight different types of cancer cells, including brain cancer cells
- Helps reduce cerebral edema occurring in people with brain tumors
- Helps prevent leukaemia
- Modulates the immune system
The key component of the boswellia is its oleogum resin extract, which is responsible for the plant’s anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Unlike anti-inflammatory drugs, the plant has a totally different mechanism. Its resin is composed of boswellic acids that work by inhibiting lipoxygenase enzymes. By doing so, this effectively blocks leukotriene synthesis. Leukotrienes are known for causing a wide range of age-associated, inflammation-related diseases such as joint problems, intestinal disorders, cancer and lung related disease.
According to several clinical trials that studied the plant’s effect on asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, osteoarthritis, and collagenous colitis, the oleogum resin extract from the plant is found to be clinically effective. Although the results found are encouraging, there is no compelling evidence yet that suggests the plant extracts consistently treats these conditions.
Simply put, boswellia is found to have many health benefits, but more studies need to be conducted to find out all potential advantages of the plant. Nevertheless, if you are experiencing any inflammations, the plant may be an effective anti-inflammatory agent as suggested by multiple sources.