Boswellia Background and Benefits
The Boswellia genus of flowering trees contains four primary species, including B. frereana, B. papyrifera, B. sacra and B. serrata. They are native to the tropical regions of Asia and Africa, and their greatest distribution is in Africa and India.
Frankincense is an extract of the resin from Boswellia, which is valued for its strong fragrance when burned. B. sacra was the sole source of frankincense in Biblical times, although B. frereana is also used to make frankincense today. The grade of frankincense depends primarily on the time of year in which the resin is harvested, although the individual pieces of resin are still sorted by hand.
Boswellia oil has a long history of use in folk medicine, especially the Ayurvedic system used in India. Common uses of boswellia in this system include topical support for joint discomfort, heart health, and help support the immune system due to occasional seasonal conditions. Bowellia is also taken orally for general health support.
The most significant pharmacological effect in boswellia resin comes from boswellic acid, which inhibits the production of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). Boswellic acid’s primary biochemical action is to switch off cytokines and other mediators that initiate 5-LOX production to help support healthy inflammation management.
Uses of Boswellia
B. serrata is the primary source of boswellia oil used for health purposes. This source of boswellia is useful for managing conditions that affect the skin, joints, breathing and digestion.
Digestive health support
Boswellia may also be useful in managing digestive health and function.
At least one study has researched the effect boswellia on the knee joint. The subjects in this study reported a reduction of discomfort and improvement in knee flexion.
Breathing pattern support
You may benefit from oral supplements of boswellia if your lungs, sinuses and breathing patterns need some support due to occasional seasonal conditions.
Healthy inflammation management
Boswellia is most often used to support healthy inflammation management within the skin and connective tissue.
Signs You May Need Boswellia
Conditions characterized by itchy, red skin are the most common sign that boswellia may benefit you. These conditions primarily include discomfort in the joints, especially the knees. Poor circulation to the joints may also cause other conditions such as poor circulation that may indicate a need for boswellia. Additional signs that boswellia may help you include a compromised immune system.
Synonyms and Similar Forms of Boswellia
Boswellia oil, frankincense