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
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Burseraceae
Genus: Boswellia
Species: B. serrata
Binomial name
Boswellia serrata
Triana & Planch.

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]

Medical usage[edit]

In Ayurvedic medicine Indian frankincense has been used for hundreds of years for the treatment of arthritis.[3][4]

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.[5] Positive effects of Boswellia in some chronic inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, bronchial asthma, osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease have been reported.[6] A Boswellia extract marketed under the name Wokvel has undergone human efficacy, comparative, pharmacokinetic studies.[7][8][9] Some see Boswellia serrata as a promising alternative to NSAIDs, warranting further investigation in pharmacological studies and clinical trials.[10][11]

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",[12] which has been criticised as being ineffective.[13]

Active constituents[edit]

Boswellic acid and other pentacyclic triterpene acids are present. Beta-boswellic acid is the major constituent.

Mechanism of action[edit]

Animal studies performed in India show ingestion of a defatted alcoholic extract of Boswellia decreased polymorphonuclear leukocyte infiltration and migration, decreased primary antibody synthesis and almost totally inhibited the classical complement pathway.[14][15]


Shallaki has potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce the pain and inflammation of joints.[16]

External links[edit]


  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. ^ "USDA GRIN Taxonomy". Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "JOINT RELIEF". Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Cameron, M; Chrubasik, S (May 22, 2014). "Oral herbal therapies for treating osteoarthritis". Cochrane Summaries. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ Open, randomized, controlled clinical trial of Boswellia serrata extract as compared to valdecoxib in osteoarthritis of knee" Indian Journal of Pharmacology 2007; 39(1) 27-29
  8. ^ "Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee--a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial". Phytomedicine 10 (1): 3–7. Jan 2003. doi:10.1078/094471103321648593. 
  9. ^ "Pharmacokinetic study of 11-Keto beta-Boswellic acid". Phytomedicine 11 (2-3): 255–60. Feb 2004. doi:10.1078/0944-7113-00290. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ 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 3309643. PMID 22457547. 
  12. ^ Wrinkle breakthrough claim from L'Oreal
  13. ^ L'Oreal slammed over cream claims
  14. ^ Sharma, ML; Khajuria, A; Kaul, A; et al. (1988). "Effects of salai guggal ex-Boswellia serrata on cellular and humoral immune responses and leukocyte migration". Agents Actions 24: 161–164. doi:10.1007/bf01968095. 
  15. ^ Sharma, ML; Bani, S; Singh, GB (1989). "Anti-arthriticactivity of boswellic acids in bovine serum albumin (BSA)-induced arthritis". Int J Immunopharmacol 11: 647–652. doi:10.1016/0192-0561(89)90150-1. 
  16. ^ (Planta Med. 1971 Apr; 19(4): 333-41 for analgesic and psychopharmacological effects of gum resin of Boswalia Serrata by Memon MK)
  17. ^ 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.