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.
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.
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.