Boswellia [Salai guggal, Boswellia serrata] has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousand years.
Its gummy exudate, containing boswellic acids, may benefit various conditions such as diarrhea,
dysentery, pulmonary disease, ringworm, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. [1] Studies also
show its benefits on inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and colitis. [2-6].

A typical extract contains 37.5-65% ob boswellic acids.

Boswellia benefit - inflammatory conditions.
Researchers demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of ethanolic Boswellia serrata extract on
peritoneal neutrophils in rats. [8] And also,  mixture of acetylboswellic acids and pentacyclic
triterpenes of Boswellia serrata significantly inhibited the ionophore-stimulated release of the
leukotrienes B4 and C4 from intact human polymorphonuclear neutrophil leukocytes. [14]

In other studies, researchers isolated isomers of boswellic acids, 11-keto-beta-boswellic acid and
acetyl derivatives from the gum resin of Boswellia serrata. They found that boswellia extracts
decreased the formation of leukotriene B4 in rat peritoneal neutrophils. [9] These experiments
showed that boswellic acids are specific, non-reducing-type inhibitors of the leukotriene synthesis
either interacting directly with the 5-lipoxygenase or blocking its translocation. [9,11] In a study of
sheep, boswellia extract (boswellic acid) inhibits the in vitro immunohaemolysis of antibody-coated
sheep erythrocytes by pooled guinea-pig serum via inhibition of C3-convertase of the classical
complement pathway. Boswellic acid also exhibited weak inhibitory effects on individual components
of the complement system. [10]

Boswellia Benefits - Ulcerative Colitis
Extracts from the gum resin of Boswellia serrata and some of is constituents including boswellic acids
affect the immune system in different ways. Anyway, from their pharmacological properties, one would
expect the beneficial effects of Boswellia serrata extracts in some chronic inflammatory diseases
including rheumatoid arthritis, bronchial asthma, osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
have been reported.[Ammon HP., Phytomedicine. 2010 Sep;17(11):862-7]

Boswellia serrata gum resin extract (bosewellia dosage: 350 mg thrice daily for 6 weeks) were given
to patients suffered from ulcerative colitis,  parameters such as stool properties, histolopathology,
rectal biopsies, as well as blood parameters were improved. [12]

Boswellia dosage of 400 mg three times daily was supplied to patients with chronic diarrhea and
histologically proven collagenous colitis for 6 weeks, the proportion of patients in clinical remission
was higher in the boswellia extract group than in the placebo group. [Int J Colorectal Dis. 2007 Dec;22
(12):1445-51] However, a study reported boswellia serrata extracts were ineffective for treating
collagenous colitis. [Chande N et al, Am J Gastroenterol. 2009 Jan;104(1):235-41]

Boswellia Benefits - Arthritis (Boswellia joint support)
As it has anti-inflammatory activities, one may expect it may also have beneficial effect on arthritis.
Indian researchers evaluated a formula containing Boswellia serrata, Withania somnifera, Curcuma
longa and zinc complex in a study of patients with osteoarthritis. This formula produced a significant
drop in severity of pain and disability score.  However, side effects are present during the treatments.

Aflapin(®) (a boswellia extract) is a novel synergistic composition derived from Boswellia serrata gum
resin. In a study, dosage of 100 mg of Aflapin(®) daily were administrated to patients suffered from
osteoarthritis for 90 days. Aflapin conferred clinically and statistically significant improvements in pain
scores and physical function scores in the patients. A significant improvements in pain score and
functional ability were also recorded as early as 7 days after initiation of the study in the treatment
group supplemented with 100 mg Aflapin. [Sengupta K et al, Int J Med Sci. 2010 Nov 1;7(6):366-77.]
So, boswellia extracts potentially offer joint support.

Boswellia Benefits - Asthma
The gum resin of Boswellia serrata, known as Salai guggal in Ayurvedic system, contains boswellic
acids. This boswellia extract inhibits leukotriene biosynthesis. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled
study forty patients, 23 males and 17 females in the age range of 18 - 75 years having mean
duration of illness, bronchial asthma, of 9.58 +/- 6.07 years were treated with a preparation of gum
resin of 300 mg thrice daily (bosewellia dosage) for a period of 6 weeks. 70% of patients showed
improvement of disease as evident by disappearance of physical symptoms and signs such as
dyspnoea, and number of attacks. [15]

Boswellia Benefits - Liver Protection
With very limited support, holeo-gum-resin of Boswellia extracts (hexane) is believed to be beneficial
on liver injury. [17]

Boswellia benefits - cancer
Researchers found extracts of four major triterpene acids from the gum resin of Boswellia serrata
inhibited the synthesis of DNA, RNA and protein in human
leukemia HL-60 cells in a dose dependent
manner. Among them, 3-O-acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid significantly inhibited the cellular
growth of HL-60 cells. [13]

On the other hand, boswellic acid acetate, a compound isolated from the herb Boswellia carterii
Birdw, can also induce differentiation and apoptosis of leukemia cells. In one study, boswellic acid
acetate failed to induce erythroid leukemia DS-19 and K562 cells differentiation. However, only 20
microg/ml of boswellic acid acetate decreased viable cell number of myeloid leukemia HL-60 cells by
60% within 24 h. Morphologic and DNA fragmentation analysis proved that boswellic acid acetate
induced cell apoptosis. [16]

Boswellia side effects are mild. In a study of 44 patients with malignant cerebral tumors, minor
gastrointestinal discomfort are reported as side effects. However, boswellia serrata does not have a
significant impact on quality of life or cognitive function in the study. [Kirste S et al, Cancer. 2011 Aug

Safety and toxicological evaluation

The acute oral LD50 of Aflapin (a boswellia extract, gum resin) was greater than 5000 mg/kg in
female Sprague Dawley (SD) rats. Acute dermal LD50 of Aflapin was greater than 2000 mg/kg in SD
rats. A primary dermal irritation study conducted using New Zealand White rabbits indicated that
Aflapin is non-irritating to skin. Aflapin caused minimal ocular irritation in a primary eye irritation test
conducted on New Zealand Albino rabbits. A repeat dose 28-day sub-acute oral toxicity study in SD
rats demonstrated no significant signs of toxicity. Various evaluations including hematology, clinical
chemistry, gross necropsy, and histopathology did not show any significant adverse changes.
[Toxicol Mech Methods. 2010 Nov;20(9):556-63.]

Reference 1. Safayhi H, Sailer ER, Amnon HPT. 5-lipoxygenase inhibition by acetyl-11-keto-b-boswellic acid. Phytomed 1996;3:71–
2. 2. Safayhi H, Mack T, Saieraj J, et al. Boswellic acids: Novel, specific, nonredox inhibitors of 5-lipoxygenase. J Pharmacol Exp Ther
1992;261:1143–6. 3. Singh GB, Atal CK. Pharmacology of an extract of salai guggal ex-Boswellia serrata, a new non-steroidal anti-
inflammatory agent. Agents Actions 1986;18:407–12. 4. Gupta I, Parihar A, Malhotra P, et al. Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in
patients with ulcerative colitis. Eur J Med Res 1997;2:37–43. 5. Etzel R. Special extract of Boswellia serrata (H15) in the treatment of
rheumatoid arthritis. Phytomed 1996;3:91–4. [6] Reddy GK, et al, Studies on the metabolism of glycosaminoglycans under the
influence of new herbal anti-inflammatory agents. Biochem Pharmacol. 1989 Oct 15;38(20):3527-34. [7] Kulkarni RR, et al, Treatment
of osteoarthritis with a herbomineral formulation: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. J Ethnopharmacol. 1991 May-
Jun;33(1-2):91-5. [8] Ammon HP, et al, Inhibition of leukotriene B4 formation in rat peritoneal neutrophils by an ethanolic extract of the
gum resin exudate of Boswellia serrata. Planta Med. 1991 Jun;57(3):203-7. [9] Safayhi H, et al, Boswellic acids: novel, specific,
nonredox inhibitors of 5-lipoxygenase. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1992 Jun;261(3):1143-6. [10] Kapil A, Moza N. Anticomplementary
activity of boswellic acids--an inhibitor of C3-convertase of the classical complement pathway. Int J Immunopharmacol. 1992 Oct;14(7):
1139-43. [11] Ammon HP, et al, Mechanism of antiinflammatory actions of curcumine and boswellic acids. J Ethnopharmacol. 1993
Mar;38(2-3):113-9. [12] Gupta I, et al, Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with ulcerative colitis. Eur J Med Res. 1997 Jan;2
(1):37-43. [13] Shao Y, et al, Inhibitory activity of boswellic acids from Boswellia serrata against human leukemia HL-60 cells in culture.
Planta Med. 1998 May;64(4):328-31. [14] Wildfeuer A, et al, Effects of boswellic acids extracted from a herbal medicine on the
biosynthesis of leukotrienes and the course of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Arzneimittelforschung. 1998 Jun;48(6):668-
74. [15] Gupta I, 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 Nov 17;3(11):511-4. [16] Jing Y, et al, Boswellic acid acetate induces
differentiation and apoptosis in leukemia cell lines. Leuk Res. 1999 Jan;23(1):43-50. [17] Y J, et al Effect of hexane extract of Boswellia
serrata oleo-gum resin on chemically induced liver damage. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2006 Apr;19(2):129-33.
Discuss with your doctor before taking any alternative medicine. This article is for reference only, it is not a medical advice. All rights reserved. Do not
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boswellia side effects, boswellia benefits
Most Boswellia Extracts are standardized to contain a minimum of 65% Boswellic Acids, the active
constituents of the herb Boswellia serrata, also known as Frankincense.
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