Posted on Oct 29, 2018, 3 a.m.
The often overlooked herbal extract boswellia is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help to prevent cancer, among other benefits.
Frankincense or olibanum may be more recognizable as names for this herb that has been used in traditional medicines for gastrointestinal relief and to help ease ulcers and arthritis. Boswellia is being studied for ability to fight inflammation, it has been observed to work differently than conventional medications which isn’t a bad thing given the side effects of many current anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals.
Standard non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication block the production of pro-inflammatory enzymes that also blocks production of enzymes needed to keep stomach lining healthy, which is why those taking NSAIDs often experience stomach problems such as irritation and bleeding, kidney issues, and peptic ulcers.
Boswellia blocks different pro-inflammatory enzymes called 5-lipoxygenase that triggers creation of leukotrienes and contributes to diseases such as cancer, asthma, arthritis, and atherosclerosis; while stopping activity of human leukocyte elastase linked to respiratory problems such as emphysema, bronchitis, and cystic fibrosis. Currently boswellia is the only known substance to inhibit both HLE and 5-LOX.
Boswellia extract was found to be more effective than standard chemotherapy drugs such as camptothecin, amsacrine, and etoposide in regards to stopping enzymes that help support the growth of cancer in a study in the journal Molecular Pharmacology.
Boswellia has been shown to help fight melanoma skin cancer by interfering with melanoma cell ability to metastasize. Boswellia was shown in another study to alter expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha that promotes tumor cell growth and spread of cancer.
Boswellia extract has also been shown to help kill cells found in leukemia, brain cancer, and prostate cancer. Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic have shown boswellia extract to be effective against meningioma cells that form tumor in the brain’s coverings.
Benefits of the herbal extract are also excellent for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, boosting digestive system health, along with alleviating diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcerative colitis, as well as warding off liver problems such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, boost immunity, help relieve chronic stress and anxiety, and help to improve gum health.
Boswellia is available is pills, creams, and resin formats with percentages of boswellic acid varying, thus it is recommended to speak to a knowledgeable herbalist for advice. It is always recommended to speak with a professional healthcare provider before taking any supplement. As a word of caution boswellia should not be used during pregnancy as it stimulates uterine blood flow and can cause a miscarriages.
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