Boswellia (INDIAN FRANKINCENSE) Overview Information
Indian frankincense is a tree that is native to India and Arabia. It is commonly used in the traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda.
Olibanum is another word for frankincense. It refers to a resin or “sap” that seeps from openings in the bark of several Boswellia species, including Boswellia serrata, Boswellia carterii, and Boswellia frereana. Of these, Boswellia serrata is most commonly used for medicine.
Indian frankincense is used for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain (rheumatism), bursitis, and tendonitis. Other uses include ulcerative colitis, abdominal pain, asthma, hay fever, sore throat, syphilis, painful menstruation, pimples, and cancer. Indian frankincense is also used as a stimulant, to increase urine flow, and for stimulating menstrual flow.
In manufacturing, Indian frankincense resin oil and extracts are used in soaps, cosmetics, foods, and beverages.
How does it work?
The resin of Indian frankincense contains substances that may decrease inflammation.
Possibly Effective for:
- Osteoarthritis. Some studies show that taking certain extracts of Indian frankincense (5-Loxin, Aflapin) can reduce pain and improve mobility in people with osteoarthritis in joints. Research shows that it might decrease joint pain by 32% to 65%.
- Ulcerative colitis. Taking Indian frankincense seems to improve symptoms of ulcerative colitis in some people. For some people, Indian frankincense seems to work as well as the prescription drug sulfasalazine. Some research shows that it can induce disease remission in 70% to 82% of people.
- Aging skin. In early research, applying Indian frankincense cream to the face reduced fine surface lines, roughness, and sun damage in women with sun-damaged skin. Skin coloring and wrinkling were not improved.
- Asthma. Developing evidence suggests that taking Indian frankincense extract might help asthma.
- Brain tumors. There is early evidence that suggests Indian frankincense might benefit people with brain tumors. In one study, taking 4200 mg of Indian frankincense daily reduced tumor size.
- Cluster headache. Limited evidence suggests that Indian frankincense might reduce the frequency and intensity of cluster headaches.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (collagenous colitis). In a small study, taking 400 mg of Indian frankincense three times daily for six weeks reduced disease symptoms.
- Crohn’s disease. There is some evidence that taking Indian frankincense extract might reduce symptoms of Crohn’s disease, but research findings have been inconsistent.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Research results are mixed so far about the effectiveness of Indian frankincense in the treatment of RA.
- Other conditions.
Boswellia (INDIAN FRANKINCENSE) Side Effects & Safety
Indian frankincense is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth for up to six months.
Indian frankincense is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin for up to 30 days. It usually does not cause important side effects. However, some people who took it reported stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea. When applied to the skin, it can cause allergic rash.h.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Indian frankincense is LIKELY SAFE when used in amounts commonly found in foods. But don’t use it in the larger amounts needed for medicinal effects. Not enough is known about the safety of using Indian frankincense in these amounts during pregnancy or breast-feeding.
Boswellia (INDIAN FRANKINCENSE) Dosing
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- Osteoarthritis: 100-250 mg daily of a specific extract (5-Loxin); 100 mg daily of another specific extract (Aflapin); 333 mg daily of another specific extract.
- Ulcerative colitis: 300-350 mg three times daily.