Boswellia is a tree that falls in the order Sapindales. Boswellia trees are well known for their fragrant resins that have many clinical and pharmacological uses, especially as an anti-inflammatory agent. The Biblical incense which is also known as Frankincense, is an extract from the resin of the same genus of trees and is known as Boswellia sacra. Frankincense is also now produced from B. frereana, which is tree native to north Somalia.
Boswellia are moderate sized dioecious flowering plants, which includes both shrubs and trees and are native to tropical regions of Asia and Africa. It has been recorded that the greatest diversity of Boswellia species is present in Africa and India.
Boswellia extract has long been used in India as an Ayurvedic medicine. In Western parts of Africa the extract from the bark of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Boswellia dalzielii’ is even used for the treatment of fever, gastrointestinal problems and rheumatism. It has also been noted that the incense produced from Boswellia extract may even help to treat depressions.
The Boswellic acids, which are the primary chemical ingredient found in the Boswellia resin extract, is a group of naturally found acids which works to inhibit an enzyme called 5-LOX (5-lipoxygenase) that is instrumental in the synthesis of ‘Â leukotrienes in our body. It has been clinically found that 5-lipoxygenase is a potential anti-inflammatory agent that has been used over the centuries for curing pain.
Here are some of the major benefits of using Boswellia extract:
It has been noted in several clinical research studies done on Boswellia extract that this resinous extract of the Boswellia plant is an effective cure against colitis. In 2007 a study done on 31 people suffering from colitis (an inflammatory bowel disease that results in chronic inflammation in digestive tract) in Texas, USA showed that only 2% of the patients went into remission after ingesting 400 mg of Boswellia extract than those who took a placebo.
It has been clinically believed that Boswellia extract is an effective cure against chronic asthma. According to a 1998 study done on Boswellia extract in India, it has been seen that more than 70% of the asthma patients who took 300 mg of Boswellia extract three times for six weeks showed improvement in their symptoms compared to 27% of the asthmatic patients in the controlled group.
For treatment of arthritis
Boswellia extract is an effective medicine against arthritis. In a study published in 2008, conducted in Maryland USA, it has been suggested that Boswellia extract when applied on the affected areas may reduce pain and boost mobility and physical functioning in people with osteoarthritis of knee. In an earlier report which was released in 2006, it was also noted that Boswellia extract may also be useful for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Inhibits cancer growth
The main ingredients of Boswellia extract which is known as Boswellic acids have shown to prevent certain enzymes from negatively affecting our DNA.
Studies done on Boswellia have also shown that medicines made out of Boswellia extract may help in fighting against advanced breast cancer cells and prevent the spread of brain tumor cells and malignant leukemia.
In another study it has been recorded that medicines prepared out of Boswellia extract can also effectively suppress the invasion of carcinoma in the pancreatic cells.
Burning Boswellia extract creates an awesome and divine aroma, which is the reason as to why Boswellia extract is burn in several holy places both in India and in the Western world and was one of the three types of gifts that the wise men gave to young baby Jesus.
Apart from the above stated benefits Boswellia extract is also used for reducing wrinkles, reduce platelet aggression and is well known for its anticoagulation properties.