WHAT IS BOSWELLIA EXTRACT?
Jun 5, 2010 | By Deb Powers
Boswellia serrata, a shrubby tree that yields a harvest of golden resin, grows across India, Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia. For thousands of years, residents of those countries have collected the tree's milky-white sap for medicinal, ritual and cosmetic uses. When dried, the sap becomes frankincense, the brownish-gold incense mentioned in the Bible.
In ancient times, the Persians, Assyrians and Babylonians used frankincense in religious and ritual ceremonies. In India, the dried sap of the boswellia tree was a mainstay of Ayurvedic medicine, used to treat asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism and wounds. The Greeks and Romans burned frankincense in their homes, their temples and their state ceremonies. The Egyptians crushed charred frankincense to make kohl, which they used as eyeliner, or melted it to use in their hair and to soften their skin.
Boswellia's active ingredients include boswellic acids, used in anti-wrinkle and anti-inflammatory preparations, including those used to support joint health. Standardized extracts of boswellia should contain 30 to 60 percent boswellic acids, according to "The Health Professional's Guide to Dietary Supplements." Most standardized extracts sold today include 37.5 to 65 percent boswellic acids, notes the University of Michigan Health System website.
Boswellia appears to reduce reduce joint inflammation in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties also appear to reduce the symptoms of bronchial asthma and inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. In addition, boswellia seems to reduce fine wrinkles and roughness caused by sun damage and age.
Many of the traditional uses of boswellia serrata appear to be confirmed by research. In one study reported in Phytomedicine, patients with osteoarthritis took either boswellia extract or a placebo for the first eight weeks of a 16-week study, then switched to the opposite for the second half of the study. In both parts of the study, those patients who took boswellia extract reported less knee pain, better mobility and improved walking distance.
Two studies published in 2001 measured the effects of boswellia extract against typical pharmaceutical prescriptions in treating chronic inflammatory bowel conditions. In both studies, the boswellia treatment was at least as effective as the pharmaceutical treatment.
In a 2010 study published in Dermatologic Therapy, 15 women applied a cream containing boswellia extract to one side of their faces every day for 30 days. The researchers reported significant improvements in tactile roughness, a reduction of fine lines and an increase in skin elasticity, one of the prime markers of youthful skin.
Boswellia extract may cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea and diarrhea, as well as skin rashes. Side effects are rare and transitory, according to "The Health Professional's Guide to Dietary Supplements."
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- Easy open flip-top cap
NYU Langone Medical Center: Boswellia
"Dermatologic Therapy"; Topical Boswellic Acids for Treatment of Photoaged Skin; January-February 2010
"The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook"; James A. Duke; 2000
"The Aromatherapy Bible: The Definitive Guide to Using Essential Oils"; Gill Farrer-Halls; 2005
"The Health Professional's Guide to Dietary Supplements"; Shawn M. Talbott, Kerry Hughes; 2006
Article reviewed by Christine Brncik Last updated on: Jun 5, 2010
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/140397-what-is-boswellia-extract/#ixzz2GhA4Wd3K