Posted on Nov 09, 2018, 1 a.m.
Boswellia serrata also called Indian frankincense may just be even better than turmeric with its anti-inflammatory benefits for easing pain, reducing inflammation, and protecting against cancer.
Ayurvedic medicines have been using boswellia for thousands of years to treat arthritis, pain, fever, and heart disease. Boswellia sacra, boswellia frereana, and boswellia carteri are known to have similar effects.
Boswellia is very similar to the mechanisms of turmeric of actions and conditions treated, together boswellia and curcumin may have synergistic effects that make them worth combining to make them more powerful than use alone. In one study the combination was more effective in reducing pain than the prescription celecoxib NSAID. Boswellic acid and terpenes are responsible for its anti-inflammatory benefits and antioxidant compounds that are also found in citrus fruits and eucalyptus. Boswellic acids are suggested to work by inhibiting synthesis of 5-lipoxygenase proinflammatory enzymes.
Studies have shown that its anti-inflammatory actions help to ease pain, reduce swelling, and improve mobility in arthritis and osteoarthritis. Profound effects have been shown including reduction in arthritis symptoms by 45-67% and a 35% reduction in inflammation which is similar to prescription medications. Boswellia appears to work quickly and to be especially helpful in osteoarthritis of the knee, reducing knee jerking, swelling, and pain to help improve knee joint functions quickly.
Due to its anti-inflammatory action it may also be effective in treating inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Studies suggest that it can help to improve gastrointestinal health by promoting immune activity digestive tract lining and offering antioxidant protection. In one study it worked just as well as anti-inflammatory prescription drugs in helping to manage Crohn’s disease, and in other studies 82% of patients with ulcerative colitis went into remission who were taking boswellia extracts.
Traditionally it has been used to treat respiratory system ailments such as bronchitis, coughs, and breathing disorders. Studies show the boswellic acids can help to modulate inflammatory process that drive asthma to improve symptoms, 70% of those who took 300mg three times daily showed significant improvements in numbers of attacks and breathing. Another study using a cocktail of curcumin, boswellia and licorice root had significant decline in levels of inflammatory compounds and markers of oxidative stress.
Boswellic acids appear to act in several manners to help inhibit cancer growth, and they may help to prevent changed to DNA and induce cancer cell apoptosis. Triterpenoid compound within boswellia have demonstrated to have antitumor properties. Cell culture studies show it can help to slow aggressive tumor growth in breast cancer cells; help suppress pancreatic cancer progression and metastasis; help inhibit prostate tumor growth; and help to stop cancer cell viability and induce bladder cancer cell death.
Boswellia serrata extract can be found in supplement capsules, powders, tinctures, as well as often being included in anti-inflammatory formulas with turmeric and other herbs. Typical dose in 300mg, although recommendations vary. It is thought to be safe, and side effects during clinical trials did not occur more commonly than placebo including nausea, diarrhea, and heartburn. It is best to consult with a medical professional before using if you are taking any other medications or are pregnant.
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