Boswellia serrata

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Boswellia serrata
Boswellia serrata (Salai) in Kinnarsani WS, AP W2 IMG 5840.jpg
in Kinnerasani Wildlife Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Burseraceae
Genus: Boswellia
Species: B. serrata
Binomial name
Boswellia serrata

Boswellia serrata is a plant that produces Indian frankincense, Salai, referred to in Sanskrit as shallaki and in Latin as Olibanum Indicum.[1] the plant is native to much of India and the Punjab region that extends into Pakistan.[2] Boswellia serrata Roxb., is also known as ‘Indian olibanum’, ‘Indian frankincense’, ‘dhup’ and ‘salai’ or ‘salai guggul’ is found in Eastern India.[3]

Medical usage[edit]

In Ayurvedic medicine Indian frankincense has been used for hundreds of years for the treatment of arthritis.[4][5]

Extracts of Boswellia serrata have been clinically studied for osteoarthritis and joint function, particularly for osteoarthritis of the knee, with the research showing a slight improvement of both pain and function compared to a placebo.[6] Positive effects of Boswellia in some chronic inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, bronchial asthma, osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease have been reported.[7] Some see Boswellia serrata as a promising alternative to NSAIDs, warranting further investigation in pharmacological studies and clinical trials.[8][9] It is also used in Iranian traditional medicine for diabetes.[10]

Topical application[edit]

Boswellia serrata has been recently developed for topical use in a patent-pending formula in Sano Relief Gel. Boswellia serrata is used in the manufacture of the anti-wrinkle agent "Boswelox",[11] which has been criticised as being ineffective.[12]

Active constituents[edit]

Boswellia serrata contains chemical constituents mainly β-boswellic acid, acetyl-β-boswellic acid, 11-keto-β-boswellic acid and acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid.[13] Acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA) is the most potent 5-lipoxygenase enzyme inhibitor which is responsible for inflammation.[14] AKBA is a compound associated with stopping 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) inflammation.[15]


  1. ^ European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (2009). E/S/C/O/P Monographs: The Scientific Foundation for Herbal Medicinal Products. Second Edition, Supplement 2009. European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. p. 184. ISBN 9781901964080. 
  2. ^ "Boswellia serrata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Siddiqui, M. Z. (May 2011). "Boswellia serrata, a potential antiinflammatory agent: an overview". Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 73 (3): 255–261. doi:10.4103/0250-474X.93507. PMC 3309643Freely accessible. PMID 22457547. 
  4. ^ "JOINT RELIEF". Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Cameron, M; Chrubasik, S (May 22, 2014). "Oral herbal therapies for treating osteoarthritis". Cochrane Summaries. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  7. ^ Ammon, HP (2010). "Modulation of the immune system by Boswellia serrata extracts and boswellic acids". Phytomedicine. 17 (11): 862–7. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2010.03.003. 
  8. ^ Abdel-Tawab, M; Werz, O; Schubert-Zsilavecz, M (Jun 2011). "Boswellia serrata: an overall assessment of in vitro, preclinical, pharmacokinetic and clinical data". Clin Pharmacokinet. 50 (6): 349–69. doi:10.2165/11586800-000000000-00000. PMID 21553931. 
  9. ^ Siddiqui, MZ (2011). "Boswellia serrata, a potential antiinflammatory agent: an overview". Indian J Pharm Sci. 73: 255–61. doi:10.4103/0250-474X.93507. PMC 3309643Freely accessible. PMID 22457547. 
  10. ^ "The Effects of Boswellia serrata Gum Resin on the Blood Glucose and Lipid Profile of Diabetic Patients: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial". doi:10.1177/2515690X18772728. PMID 29774768. 
  11. ^ Wrinkle breakthrough claim from L'Oreal
  12. ^ L'Oreal slammed over cream claims
  13. ^ Dragos, Dorin; Gilca, Marilena; Gaman, Laura; Vlad, Adelina; Iosif, Liviu; Stoian, Irina; Lupescu, Olivera (2017-01-16). "Phytomedicine in Joint Disorders". Nutrients. 9 (1). doi:10.3390/nu9010070. ISSN 2072-6643. PMC 5295114Freely accessible. PMID 28275210. 
  14. ^ Siddiqui, M. Z. (May 2011). "Boswellia serrata, a potential antiinflammatory agent: an overview 7". Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 73 (3): 255–261. doi:10.4103/0250-474X.93507. PMC 3309643Freely accessible. PMID 22457547. 
  15. ^ Meka, B. Z. (Feb 2017). "Synthesis of new analogs of AKBA and evaluation of their anti-inflammatory activities 7". Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry. 25 (4): 1374–1388. doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2016.12.045. PMID 28110820.