An Overview of the Ayurvedic herb: Boswellia

An Overview of the Ayurvedic herb: Boswellia

The Ayurvedic herb and the history of its use

The Boswellia tree resin was used as an important remedy in Ayurvedic medicine. It was also used in several other traditional medical practices like traditional Chinese Medicine or Middle Eastern Medicine. It is an age-old natural remedy and was used in spiritual ceremonies. People used it for relieving pain, healing inflammation, improving joint health, and improving blood flow. Boswellia serrata or frankincense has been used since ancient times in China, Africa, India, and the Middle East for the prevention and treatment of several illnesses. It was known to be highly efficient in treating chronic inflammatory diseases. 

Resins from Boswellia serrata were traditionally used to treat rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and other inflammatory diseases. 

Boswellia - Uses, Benefits and Dosage


The Ayurvedic herb and its relevance today

Boswellia serrata contains certain compounds that might help decrease swelling and increase the body’s immune response. It is used widely for osteoarthritis. Some of the other uses of Boswellia serrata include asthma, diabetes, and stroke. It is also used in making Frankincense which is applied to the skin or inhaled as a part of aromatherapy. 

Boswellia serrata has caught the attention of Modern medicine and pharmacology for its anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and liver-protecting properties.

The Ayurvedic herb and clinical studies

  • A 32-week randomized, placebo-controlled clinical evaluation of a polyherbal combination containing BSE in OA of the knee reported it to be significantly better than placebo, without any significant adverse effects.

Oral herbal therapies for treating osteoarthritis

Melanie Cameron, Sigrun Chrubasik

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2014; 2016

  • Studies report that BSE prevented the degradation of articular cartilage, which could be one of the mechanisms for arresting the progression of OA.

Biosynthetic diversity in triterpene cyclization within the Boswellia genus

Ahmed Al-Harrasi, Abdul Latif Khan, Najeeb Ur Rehman, René Csuk

Phytochemistry. 2021; 184: 112660

  • Reports show that BSE inhibited human leukocyte elastase, which could be of help in autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.

Microbial transformation of acetyl-11-keto-boswellic acid byCunninghamella elegans

Xiu-Lan Xin,Hua Huo,Liang Chen,Jian Li,Jiang-Hao Sun,Peng-Wu Zheng,Yue Sun, Zhi-Ming Wu, Ying-Hua Xiong

Journal of Asian Natural Products Research. 2013;: 1

Clinical evidence of the benefits of Boswellia

Benefits of Boswellia

Helps in the treatment of osteoarthritis

A constituent from Boswellia serrata Acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA) has an anti-inflammatory effect by inhibiting tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) expression, leading to a decline in receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) ligand. This results in a reduction in osteoclast activity.

Helps heal ulcers

Boswellic acid is a great alternative to the treatment of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs-induced peptic ulcers. Boswellia has also been shown to improve symptoms of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, in three clinical trials. It is also safer than mesalazine. 

Help protect skin

Boswellia is highly effective in reducing the skin damage caused during radiation treatments for cancer. It helps support elastin and hyaluronic acid to improve skin firmness, elasticity, and lower wrinkles. 

Helps with Asthma

Boswellic acid is beneficial in the treatment of asthma by ameliorating allergic responses. Boswellia has been found to inhibit the production of inflammatory prostanoids overexpressed in patients with asthma. It also inhibits TH1 cytokines, increases the production of TH2 cytokines, and regulates vascular responses to inflammation.

Helps improve cognitive function

Boswellia resins attenuate memory deficits and the major component of Boswellia serrata, beta boswellic acid, increases neurite outgrowth and branching in the hippocampal neurons. 

Helps fight diabetes

Boswellia serrata is one of the herbs that has shown its antihyperglycemic and lipid-lowering properties in animal studies. It has also shown a glucose-lowering effect in patients with diabetes by increasing insulin secretion in a clinical study report. The supplementation of Boswellia serrata has also been shown to be beneficial in the augmentation of HDL and reduction of total LDL levels among patients with type 2 diabetes. 

Might help fight cancer

Boswellic acid in Boswellia serrata inhibits cancer growth in several ways. Recent studies have found that Boswellia might help fight advanced breast cancer cells, along with limiting the spread of malignant leukemia and brain tumor cells. The effects of Boswellic acid in suppressing the invasion of pancreatic cancer cells have also been recognized in another study. 


Boswellia serrata holds high medicinal properties that have been studied and proven to be beneficial over the years. Indian tradition and Ayurvedic practices are equipped with wonderful herbal remedies that not only are more effective than some of the modern medicines but are also easily available to us. India is one of the most resourceful countries to have an abundant supply of Ayurvedic herbs. BBETTER’s Joint Support supplements are enriched with Boswellia serrata along with other herbal ingredients, making it a nutrient-packed supplement not only for better joint health but also to fight inflammation in the long run. They are naturally extracted, highly purified of heavy metals, and are Non-GMO. 

Making old Ayurvedic remedies a part of our modern lives can only improve our longevity & quality of life.