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Boswellia

Also indexed as:Boswellia serrata, Salai Guggal, Frankincense
Boswellia: Main Image© Steven Foster
Common names:
Salai Guggal
Botanical names:
Boswellia serrata

How It Works

The gum oleoresin consists of essential oils, gum, and terpenoids. The terpenoid portion contains the boswellic acids that have been shown to be the active constituents in boswellia.16 Today, extracts are typically standardized to contain 37.5-65% boswellic acids.

Studies have shown that boswellic acids have an anti-inflammatory action17--much like the conventional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used for inflammatory conditions. Boswellia inhibits pro-inflammatory mediators in the body, such as leukotrienes.18 As opposed to NSAIDs, long-term use of boswellia does not appear to cause irritation or ulceration of the stomach. One small, controlled, double-blind trial has shown that boswellia extract may be helpful for ulcerative colitis.19

How to Use It

The standardized extract of the gum oleoresin of boswellia is recommended by many doctors. For rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, 150 mg of boswellic acids are taken three times per day.20 As an example, if an extract contains 37.5% boswellic acids, 400 mg of the extract would be taken three times daily. Treatment with boswellia generally lasts eight to twelve weeks. In the one clinical trial to date, people with ulcerative colitis used 550 mg of boswellia extract three times per day.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.