The gummy resin of the boswellia tree has a long history of use in Indian herbal medicine as a treatment for arthritis, bursitis, respiratory diseases, and diarrhea.
Growing evidence suggests that boswellia has anti-inflammatory effects. 5-8
Furthermore, extracts of boswellia have been studied as an aid to standard care for malignant glioma (a type of incurable brain tumor).
According to a review of unpublished studies, preliminary
have found boswellia effective in relieving the symptoms of
A more recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study that enrolled 78 people with rheumatoid arthritis found no benefit.
A 6-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 80 people with relatively mild
In a double-blind study of 30 people with
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
An 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 102 people with
A typical dose of boswellia is 300 to 400 mg 3 times a day of an extract standardized to contain 37.5% boswellic acids. Some studies have used dosages as high as 1,200 mg 3 times daily.
In clinical trials of pharmaceutical grade standardized boswellia extract, no serious side effects have been reported. Crude herb preparations, however, may not be as safe as the specially manufactured extract. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
3. Sander O, Herborn G, Rau R. Is H15 (resin extract of Boswellia serrata, "incense") a useful supplement to established drug therapy of chronic polyarthritis? Results of a double-blind pilot study [in German, English abstract]. Z Rheumatol. 1998;57:11-16.
4. Gupta I, Gupta V, Parihar A, et al. Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with bronchial asthma: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week clinical study. Eur J Med Res. 1998;3:511-514.
7. Wildfeuer A, Neu IS, Safayhi H, et al. Effects of boswellic acids extracted from a herbal medicine on the biosynthesis of leukotrienes and the course of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Arzneimittelforschung. 1998;48:668-674.
8. Safayhi H, Boden SE, Schweizer S, et al. Concentration-dependent potentiating and inhibitory effects of Boswellia extracts on 5-lipoxygenase product formation in stimulated PMNL. Planta Med. 2000;66:110-113.
13. Kimmatkar N, Thawani V, Hingorani L, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee—a randomized double blind, placebo controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2003;10:3-7.
14. Madisch A, Miehlke S, Eichele O, et al. Boswellia serrata extract for the treatment of collagenous colitis. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2007 Sep 2. [Epub ahead of print]
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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