10 Amazing Boswellia Benefits

Naturally obtained materials are always best not only for health but also for the environment. That’s why everyone shifted toward plant-based products. Everyone feels to consume or use herbs, plants, or tree products.

The importance of herbs for healthcare1 is not popular these days, it has been very famous since ancient times. Ayurvedic medicines are an excellent example of the use of herbs or herbal plants. Despite herbal plants, various types of trees have medicinal value.

Out of these medicinal trees, Boswellia serrata2 is native to India. Its extract has a variety of beneficial effects. If Boswellia benefits 3are unknown to you then this article ’10 Amazing Boswellia Benefits’ is going to be useful for you.

Here we cover everything regarding the Boswellia serrata tree and its benefits.

Indian frankincense is a natural medicine used for its anti-inflammatory effects. This natural medicine is extracted from the Boswellia tree. As a result, this tree becomes so important. And also it has various health benefits. That is a must for everyone to know.

Let’s begin with the ten Boswellia benefits, but before that get an idea about Boswellia. Then it will be easy for you to understand the Boswellia benefits mentioned in this article.

1. What Is Boswellia?

Boswellia is a tree with medicinal benefits. It belongs to the genus Boswellia and the family Burseraceae. Generally, there are four main species of the genus Boswellia, out of them, the Boswellia serrata species is mostly found in India. In India, it is known as Indian frankincense.

The remaining three species are such as:

  • Boswellia carterii, mainly found in China and East Africa regions
  • Boswellia frereana occurs in the Somalia region
  • Boswellia sacra are found in Arabia.

All four species are popular just because of their resin extract which has medicinal importance. The resin herbal extract collected from the Boswellia tree is known as frankincense4. This extract has been used in Ayurvedic medicine preparations, just because of its medicinal importance. Usually, the resin or gum extract is obtained from the Boswellia serrata tree.

Do you know from where the name of this genus came? The name of this genus was taken from Scottish botanist, John Boswell. Boswellia tree mainly grows in a dry and harsh environment.

It is always clear that Indian culture revolves around Ayurvedic rituals and medicines. From that point of view, it has been used in every Indian state, most frequently in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, and Chattisgarh.

The main origin of frankincense is from the Horn of Africa and the southern Arabian peninsula. It has a spiritual meaning as a symbol of deity, in the bible. Do you know? Somalia is the largest producer of frankincense or Boswellia resin. Most of the economic activity of the Somaliland of Somalia depends on the production of edible Boswellia resin gum.

2. Boswellia Serrata Extract

Although every part of the Boswellia tree is useful, the most important part is sap or extract collected from tree bark. From this extract, the resin has been made which is later used as medicine. In most of Asia and Africa region, the Boswellia serrata gum resin, a herbal extract is used for the treatment of illnesses and health conditions.

The resin or the herbal extract collected from the Boswellia plant has a unique flavor and odor. In India, this resin extract is known as “Guggal” or “Sallaki” in Sanskrit. It is the best anti-inflammatory agent.

This Ayurvedic plant-derived formulation of Boswellia serrata contains resin, phenols, terpenes, amino acids, polysaccharides, and Boswellia acids. The most important one is Boswellic acid because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Generally, four types of Boswellia acids are found in Boswellia serrata or Indian frankincense. These are such as beta Boswellic acid (BA), acetyl beta Boswellic acid (ABA), 11 keto beta (KBA), and 3-o-acetyl 11 keto beta-Boswellic acid.

The use of Boswellia extract as traditional medicine is very popular in India, China, and Africa against various chronic inflammatory disorders.

3. Boswellia Serrata: 10 Amazing Benefits of Boswellia Serrata Extract

Now, let’s see what are those Boswellia benefits that give it medicinal importance mostly in Indian Ayurveda5. Boswellia benefits become the reason for its increased demand in the world.

3.1. Healthy Bones and Joints

In this list of Boswellia benefits, healthy bones, and joints are important. Boswellia extract has various beneficial components that are useful for joint pain and joint inflammation. The main component of Boswellia serrata extract is terpenes and Boswellic acid which has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It is very effective in arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. The antioxidant properties of Boswellic acid make it effective for healthy bones and joints.

The effectiveness of Boswellia extract has been proved through a study made on mice in 2014. Through that study, it has been cleared that it helps in reducing cartilage loss which is the ultimate reason for joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. Cartilage is a connective tissue that connects bones. It also acts as a cushion and provides support to bones.

Any kind of swelling or pain in the joint will be the reason for cartilage damage. When your cartilage gets damaged it will lead to arthritis or any other bone-related problems. In all those issues Boswellia extract is recommended to consume for 3 months as per the patient’s condition.

Many people use Boswellia serrata extract powder on per daily basis and get amazing results. Many other Boswellia extract supplements will be helpful for any joint or bone-related issues. In European countries, the use of frankincense oil has been increasing for knees due to its anti-arthritic activity.

boswellia benefits
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash Copyrights 2019

3.2. Mental Health

Next on the list of Boswellia benefits is improving mental health6, and reducing stress, and anxiety. Although Boswellia serrata works effectively against inflammatory diseases it is also very effective for mental health. The reason is that any cognitive impairment happens because of inflammation in brain cells. It has been observed that Boswellic acids show amazing results in cognitive ability.

For any person who has difficulty learning or inability to learn, Boswellia gum resin extract improves mental health. Boswellic acid is a very effective agent for any kind of inflammatory condition. Along with that it also has antioxidant activity, which is effective against neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Dementia, and Ataxia.

This resin gum extract is also used in the synthesis of essential oils. Frankincense essential oil is used in aromatherapy to reduce stress and anxiety.

3.3. Menstrual Cycle

The worst part of a menstrual cycle is period cramps. The reason behind menstrual cramps is the contraction of the uterus muscle. The breakdown of the uterine lining during menstruation results in dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea is a menstrual pain that mainly occurs due to the release of the hormone prostaglandins, secreted by the uterus lining.

Not only does abdominal pain occur during menstruation, but sometimes you feel pain in the lower region, hips, thighs, or back as well. To relieve dysmenorrheal pain, Boswellia extract is the best option. It is a natural herb and also has anti-inflammatory components that help in relieving menstruation pain.

The Boswellic acid7 in Boswellia resin is an effective ingredient that is used for making anti-inflammatory drugs. These anti-inflammatory drugs are highly beneficial in relieving menstrual pain, or cramps.

The most important thing is to use Boswellia extract in place of any painkillers is best because, it is completely natural, safe for long-term use, and more importantly very effective. So, whenever you have cramps or period pain, try Boswellia extract instead of, painkillers.

Many studies have also shown that the use of Boswellia resin with ginger enhances its effectiveness and gives so much relief during the menstrual period.

3.4. Skin Health Benefits

The herbal extract of Boswellia serrata is widely used in cosmetics or beauty products. It has been observed that the use of 2% of Boswellia in skincare products is good for skin health. It protects the skin from sun damage, dryness, fine lines, and wrinkling.

From a study, it is observed that the use of Boswellic acid-containing cream helps in the improvement of skin elasticity and sebum production. Many essential oils, it has been used as well.

The main active agent in Boswellia is Boswellic acid which is very beneficial for dry to sensitive skin. If your skin is dry or sensitive then switch to using Boswellia-containing cosmetics. Well, the use of Boswellia serrata gum resin is not restricted to essential oils and creams, it is also used in various perfumes and incense.

Some Boswellia species have produced aromatic resin, Boswellia sacra is one of them that is used in perfumes due to its aroma. Those aromatic resins and gums are widely used in perfumery and incense industries. In some countries, Boswellia resins and gums have therapeutic and delousing importance. Hence, it is clear that it also has cleansing and fumigating properties.

3.5. Very Effective for Asthma Patients

Any kind of inflammation in the air passage and lungs result in “Asthma“. The best ayurvedic plant-derived formulation to reduce inflammation is Boswellia serrata extract. When the muscles of air passage get swelled up or tighten, then a sufficient amount of air cannot reach the lungs. As a result, you will observe chest pain, breathing difficulty, or shortness of breath.

It is clear from a study that the use of Boswellia serrata in medications or inhalers as supplements for Asthma patients reduces breathing problems and inflammation in the lungs. In the case of bronchial asthma, bronchioles are affected by pollution or poor air quality.

As a result, the bronchial tubes become swell up and lead to bronchial asthma. Regular use of Boswellia serrata will improve breathing. As it contains anti-inflammatory components, that will prevent the production of leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are responsible for the tightening of respiratory muscles.

Boswellic acid presence has been observed in all those asthma patients who are recovering from asthma. Hence, this will prove the effectiveness of Boswellia serrata extracts for the treatment of asthma.8

3.6. Cure for Cancer

Cancer is a very severe and deadly disease, that occurs due to the uncontrollable division and growth of cells. As a result, the number of abnormal cells aggregates to form a tumor, a mass of tissue. It occurs in any body part and damages the natural functioning of that body part.

One of the major components of Boswellia serrata extract is Boswellic acid which is also beneficial to reduce cancerous cell activity. But how does it work on cancerous cells? Well, the answer is that Boswellic acids can inhibit DNA synthesis by cancer cells. This will in turn decrease the growth of the cancerous cells. The anticancer effects of Boswellia serrata increase the use of frankincense to kill cancer cells and for cancer treatment.

It is not only beneficial for curing cancer but also, for relieving the side effects of cancer treatment including chemotherapy, radiation, or anti-cancer medications. Various research has shown, that the anticarcinogenic activity of the resin extract of frankincense makes it a suitable supplement for the treatment of different types of cancers.

Major types of cancer that can be treated by Boswellia supplements are brain tumors, breast cancer, fibroadenoma, pancreatic cancer, and leukemia.

3.7. Prevent Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The very common inflammatory bowel diseases are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both of them are related to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The major difference between these two is that Crohn’s disease occurs due to the inflammation in tissues of the GI tract, whereas ulcerative colitis occurs because of the inflammation in the inner lining of the large intestine, especially the colon and rectum region.

Inflammatory bowel disease occurs mainly in two situations, a weak immune system, and inflammation in cells or tissues. And the best cure for them is the resin extract of Boswellia serrata.

It is an effective anti-inflammatory herb for the inflamed GI tract. It prevents the synthesis of leukotrienes, which are associated with the cause of cell swelling or tightening. For the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases, Boswellia extracts are combined with other medicinal supplements to enhance their effectiveness.

3.8. Act as a Natural Healing Agent

Boswellia benefits
Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash Copyrights 2021

The direct application of gum resin extract of Boswellia serrata on a wound, not only quickens the healing process but also protects the wound from infection. In Ayurveda, any wound can be cured with herbal therapy. The presence of Boswellic acid in Boswellia resin is the reason behind its antibacterial and antiviral activity. Due to this, it can heal internal as well as external wounds.

Its use has been increasing in the modern medical system due to its healing features. The healing properties of Boswellia acids are the reason for their use as a supplement with other drugs to fasten the healing or blood clotting process of any injury. It also improves the immune system.

The functioning of lymphocytes and T-cells becomes fastened with the intake of the herbal extract of Indian frankincense. It has been reported, that the intake of Boswellia serrata regularly will boost the immune system and improve its response activity against any infection.

3.9. For Oral Health

It is already clear that the gum resin extract of Boswellia serrata Roxb is very effective for various chronic inflammatory disorders. So, without any doubt use it for oral health including gum inflammation.

Acetyl 11 keto beta Boswellic acid (AKBA) is present in the gum resin extract of Boswellia serrata Roxb or Indian frankincense. This compound is essential for oral health. It acts as an antibacterial agent to kill all oral pathogens.

Due to these benefits of Boswellia, it is used in mouthwashes and toothpaste. This will be helpful to reduce inflammation in the gums.

3.10. For Diabetic Patients

An experiment was conducted on some diabetic rats, to check the effectiveness of Boswellia serrata on diabetes. Through that experiment, it is clear, that Boswellia serrata is very effective in reducing blood glucose or sugar levels. The reduction of blood glucose, triglycerides, or cholesterol is completely controlled by Boswellic acid.

However, this benefit still needs more research to ensure the importance of Boswellic acids in controlling blood sugar levels or diabetes. However, it doesn’t mean that it can cause harmful effects on diabetic patients, after consumption.

Well, these Boswellia benefits are amazing and very informational. If you are suffering from any of the above-mentioned health issues or chronic inflammatory diseases, then Boswellia gum resin extracts and their products are good for you to use.

4. Boswellia Extract Dosage

As per the clinical trials, the suggested dosage of taking Boswellia serrata is about 300-500 mg 2-3 times a day. There will the variations in dosage according to the health issue. In the case of the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, 300-400 mg thrice a day will be good. While, in chronic colitis conditions, a high amount of intake of Boswellic acid is sufficient for a healthy intestine.

The intake of Boswellia extract is generally in the form of capsules, tablets, or its bark decoction orally. Bark decoction is an extraction method used to extract chemical components of bark through simple boiling.

But wait, firstly check out the side effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin extract or Indian frankincense.

5. Side Effects of Boswellia Serrata

Some people have seen some adverse effects after taking Boswellia. Hence, it is necessary to be aware of its side effects. This piece of information will be helpful for you to use Boswellia products efficiently and to consume them just for health benefits by avoiding their negative impact.

5.1. Skin Inflammation, Irritation, and Redness

Due to the anti-inflammatory effects of Boswellia, it is used in various beauty products or cosmetics. Although it is not harmful to the skin. But, in some people, it may cause skin irritation, burning, or rashes.

Well, there are no major side effects have been observed on the skin. It may cause itching or irritation on certain kinds of skin tones. In most cases, the side effects of Boswellia on the skin are due to its direct application to the skin.

5.2. May Cause Damage to Liver Cells

In some people, it has been observed, that excessive consumption of Boswellia extract leads to the malfunctioning of the liver. In those people, the liver’s health and functioning become worse due to the Boswellic acid of Boswellia serrata extract.

5.3. Negative Impact on Stomach

Boswellia serrata is considered to be an effective herb for inflammatory bowel diseases. It has so many benefits, but excess consumption of Boswellia9 causes stomach problems. For example diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and cramps. All of these gastrointestinal problems occur because of excessive consumption of Boswellia. Hence, it is very important to consume it in a limited or prescribed amount for its benefits, otherwise, it may lead to side effects.

5.4. Not Good for Pregnant Women

There are no Boswellia benefits that have been reported regarding the use of Boswellia during pregnancy. Many doctors suggest pregnant women avoid the use of Boswellia resin during the pregnancy period. Because it becomes the reason for premature birth or miscarriage. Taking Boswellia during pregnancy time increases blood flow and ultimately affects blood pressure. It is also not recommended for children.

Some of the common side effects caused by Boswellia products are allergic reactions, nausea, diarrhea, heartburn, irritation, acid reflux, and bloating. All the possible side effects mainly occur when you take it for a longer time or in a large amount.

Boswellia belongs to the category of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs due to its effectiveness against inflammatory conditions or inflammatory disorders. After reading about all these amazing Boswellia benefits, everyone wants to consume them to gain their benefits.

Due to the Boswellia benefits, many countries including Germany, France, Italy, and Belgium allowed the use of Boswellia serrata gum in food products to a limit.

Well, there is no problem with the consumption of Boswellia extract but consulting your doctor before that will be good for you. Professional medical advice is very important before adding Boswellia products to your lifestyle.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

6.1. Is Boswellia safe to take every day?

Yes! Boswellia is safe to be consumed by adults. However, do not take it in excess amounts and it is advisable to seek professional help before starting to take Boswellia.

6.2. Does Boswellia repair joints?

Yes! Boswellia has been proven to be effective on bones and joints. It reduces cartilage loss and hence, enhances joint functioning.

6.3. Who should not take Boswellia?

Boswellia is beneficial in so many ways but certain side effects might not be good for certain people. They involve pregnant women, children, or people who are allergic to Boswellia. It is always advisable to seek a doctor’s help, especially for these people, before consuming Boswellia in any way.

Hope this piece of information regarding Boswellia benefits will be beneficial for you. How much of it do you know about Boswellia’s benefits? Let us know in the comment section.

Also, read another article, the benefits of chamomile, here.

Marilyn Rose A. Lacorte, RN (Medical Professional, Proofreading)

6 Best Ayurvedic Herbs & Their Surprising Health Benefits
Icy Health
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  8. Bacharier, L. B., et al. “Diagnosis and treatment of asthma in childhood: a PRACTALL consensus report.” Allergy 63.1 (2008): 5-34. ↩︎
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