I was doing research the other day for a new product that is in developement, and came across Boswellia. I had read about it in school while studying herbs, but never really paid much attention to it. I wish I had. I thought I would share what I have found.
Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) is an ancient herb and has been used for thousands of years to treat inflammation. It is also known as Indian Frankincense.
Boswellia is native to Africa, China, and the Middle East.
The herbal healing extract is derived from the sappy resin of the Boswellia tree.
During the 1970’s, scientists in discovered that Boswellia produces similar therapeutic effects to those of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) family. NSAID’s are ibuprofen (Advil) and aspirin.
NSAIDs work by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzymes. Unfortunately, medications that inhibit COX-2 often inhibit COX-1, which is needed to maintain a healthy stomach lining and common side effects include gastrointestinal bleeding.
Boswellia totally differs from the NSAIDs in the way it works. Boswellia works by blocking the pro-inflammatory enzyme 5-lipoxygenase other wise known as 5-LOX. 5-LOX, is the first enzyme released in the biological process leading to the chemical action of the immune system cytokines known as leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are harmful inflammatory substances thought to directly influence the disease process in a number of different disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and asthma. By blocking these pro-inflammatory chemicals Boswellia reduces symptoms of inflammation and helps taper the autoimmune mechanism. Boswellia has been shown to reduce inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and cancer.
The active ingredients of boswellia is the boswellic acids. They decrease the activity of another pro-inflammatory enzyme known as human leukocyte elastase (HLE). HLE and leukotriene levels are increased in many inflammatory diseases and allergic reactions.
Researchers have found that boswellia helps prevent the deterioration of cartilage and joint tissue. Studies in both humans and dogs show after as little as two weeks of boswellia therapy include reduced pain, stiffness, and lameness.
In patients with rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease, boswellia can help reduce the immune cells that promote inflammation while increasing the number of immune cells that inhibit inflammation (anti-inflammatory cells). In studies of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease boswellia reduced gastrointestinal inflammation and tissue damage.