Boswellia is a plant extract.


Boswellia serrata


Boswellia serrata is a large branching  tree  found in India, Northern  Africa,  and  the  Middle  East. […] It has been  traditionally  used  in  the Ayurvedic  system  of  medicine  as  anti-arthritic, astringent, stimulant, expectorant, and antiseptic.


Active constituents

Boswellia contains oils, terpenoids, sugars, and volatile oils. Four pentacyclic  triterpene  acids  are  also  present,  with  beta-boswellic acid being the major constituent.


Mechanism of action

Studies performed in India show ingestion of a defatted alcoholic extract of Boswellia decreased polymorphonuclear leukocyte  infiltration  and  migration,  decreased  primary  antibody  synthesis, and  almost  totally  inhibited the Classical Complement Pathway.[…] In vitro testing reveals boswellic acids, isolated from the gum resin of Boswellia, in a dose-dependent manner, block the synthesis of proinflammatory 5-lipoxygenase products, […]which cause bronchoconstriction, chemotaxis, and increased vascular permeability. […]

Nonsteroidal  anti-inflammatory  drugs  (NSAIDs)  can  cause  a  disruption  of glycosaminoglycan  synthesis,  accelerating articular damage in arthritic conditions. […] Boswellia significantly reduced the degradation of glycosaminoglycans compared to controls; whereas, ketoprofen caused a decrease in total tissue glycosaminoglycan content.

Clinical indication


In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, Boswellia demonstrated beneficial effects on knee osteoarthritis. […] Patients in the  Boswellia  group  experienced  a significant decrease in pain and swelling and increase in range of motility compared to the placebo group.

Side Effects and Toxicity

Toxicity studies  of Boswellia showed no pathological  changes  in  hematological, biochemical, or histological parameters at doses higher than 1,000 mg/kg. […]

Boswellia serrata. Alternative Medicine Review Volume 13, Number 2 2008.