Many of us have probably heard of the many benefits of turmeric, and in particular, the compound curcumin, and their amazing anti-inflammatory benefits. But you may not have heard about this newer herb called Boswellia, which some have suggested is even better than turmeric for relieving inflammation.
Otherwise known as Indian frankincense, the herbal extract is from the Boswellia serrata tree, which is native to India. Boswellia’s anti-inflammatory qualities are primarily derived from boswellic acids as well as the antioxidant compound, terpene, which can also be found in other plants such as eucalyptus and citrus fruits. Boswellic acid has been shown to prevent leukotrienes (a major source of inflammation) from forming in the body.
The Wonderful Health Benefits of Boswellia
While it is relatively new to the Western market, Boswellia has long been utilised in ayurvedic medicine. For several thousand years, it has served as a pain-reliever and also to treat an array of health conditions that include arthritis, fever and cardiovascular problems. The resin has also been used medicinally in other parts of Asia and Africa for several hundred years to treat various ailments.
Boswellia was, in the past, considered to be quite sacred, and was thought to be more (or as) valuable than gold. In fact, according to biblical texts, frankincense was one of the precious gifts that the three wise men had presented to Jesus when he was born. The herb was also highly revered and valued as currency in the Middle East. While Boswellia is no longer as venerated as it was back in the day, it is definitely getting well-deserved attention for its incredible healing properties today.
It seems Boswellia not only works similarly to turmeric, but research also shows that the two combined can offer a synergistic effect that ends up stronger than when either is used on its own. One study, for instance, showed that Boswellia and turmeric put together was actually more successful at pain reduction than the NSAID celecoxib, which is a drug that is prescribed for arthritis.
Let us look at are five terrific ways that Boswellia is beneficial to our health and well-being.
It Is Anti-Ageing
Boswellia has been used as a skin remedy for thousands of years. Today, you can quite easily find Boswellia cream and oil products online as well as in brick-and-mortar establishments. Boswellia is touted for its anti-ageing properties, in particular, its ability to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Used regularly, it can also help skin appear more youthful, softer and smoother. The herb is also known to help calm redness in the skin, creating a more even-toned complexion.
It Is Analgesic
Boswellia has been shown in studies to help reduce inflammation, relieve pain and improve physical function in people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis; in fact, the herb may actually be as equally effective as that of prescription medications for these particular conditions. It seems that Boswellia is also able to calm inflammation that is caused by tendonitis and bursitis.
The herb has also been shown to work more quickly than other forms of pain-relieving herbs. One arthritis study showed that participants who ingested Boswellia extract for a 30-day period began to experience positive results (less pain and improved mobility) within five days.
It Supports Gut Health
There is research to suggest that Boswellia can support digestive health by maintaining a healthy lining in the gastrointestinal tract and boosting antioxidant action in the gut.
It is also significant to note that Boswellia’s anti-inflammatory properties have shown to be as effective for treating Crohn’s disease as the prescription drug. In other research, it was found that more than 80 per cent of patients with ulcerative colitis went into remission when they took Boswellia.
It Helps with Asthma
Frankincense, which is a derivative of Boswellia, has long been used to treat various respiratory-related illnesses such as bronchitis and coughs.
More recently, research also indicated that thanks to the boswellic acids contained in frankincense, the herb can significantly improve asthma symptoms. In fact, one study, in particular, found that 70 per cent of participants that consumed 300 mg of Boswellia on a daily basis had fewer asthma attacks and were also able to breathe better.
It Can Fight Cancer
There has been some promising research showing how acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA) and other boswellic acids can potentially hinder cancer growth. Various studies have found that these acids can cause apoptosis or the death of cancerous cells, as well as slow down or stop tumour growth in certain types of cancer (e.g., prostate cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer, brain cancer and leukaemia cells).
These days, it is easy and affordable to access the benefits of Boswellia. Boswellia serrata extract is easily available as a supplement in the form of powders, tinctures and capsules. As always, do consult with your doctor or physician, especially if you are pregnant or are currently on other prescription medications.