There are several different forms of the Boswellia tree. The Biblical incense frankincense was probably an extract from the resin of the tree Boswellia sacra. Boswellia serrata is the form that is best known for its healing properties. The beneficial compounds are found in the resin that is secreted naturally to protect the tree from parasites and other insects and pathogens. This resin is easily tapped and purified for use in both an oil and powder form. This resin consists of essential oils, gum and terpenoids.
Boswellia contains unique acids (boswellic acids) that have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Boswellic acids block the overproduction of cytokinetic activity in damaged tissues while enhancing blood flow to joints. This combination has been shown to increase joint mobility and ease stiff joints.
Boswellia Better than NSAID’s
Many studies have shown that Boswellia is just as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), which are the most commonly used treatment for issues of inflammation and chronic pain. NSAID’s work by inhibiting the inflammatory promoting cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzymes. Unfortunately, these drugs also inhibit COX-1, which is essential for a healthy stomach lining. This is why these medications cause stomach bleeding. They also deplete the body of anti-oxidant trace minerals like selenium and zinc as well as key b vitamins needed to naturally reduce inflammation.
Boswellia works to reduce inflammation through a different mechanism. It acts to modulate the pro-inflammatory enzyme 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). 5-LOX is the first enzyme released in the cytokine metabolic pathway. This pathway creates leukotrienes, which are strong inflammatory substances thought to influence many disease processes including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, & asthma. The immune modulation reduces inflammatory chemicals and symptoms of inflammation.
These boswellic acids also reduce another inflammatory enzyme called human leukocyte elastase (HLE). HLE and 5-LOX are both classically elevated in inflammatory conditions and diseases. Boswellia is the only known substance to reduce both HLE and 5-LOX.
Boswellia also reduces the expression of the cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a). In fact, it is thought that boswellia’s success in relieving symptoms of arthritis is due to its ability to inhibit the breakdown of connective tissue caused by TNF-a induced expression of matrix metalloproteinase enzymes.
Boswellia has shown tremendous success at reducing inflammatory conditions in challenging cases such as Crohn’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, allergies, osteoarthritis, & ulcerative colitis among others. Additionally, the powerful anti-inflammatory factors are being suggested for cancer and heart disease prevention.
Boswellia can be taken as a dried herb, a standardized extract and as a pain-relieving gel. All three work effectively. Experts recommend about 400mg taken 3x per day for relief from arthritic, asthmatic, or auto-immune symptoms. The dried herb can be put in smoothies and shakes and used throughout the day. Research has shown a greater absorption rate when taken with other forms of food.
Super De-Inflaming Shake:
1 cup of organic coconut milk
1/2 – 1 cup of frozen organic blueberries
1-2 scoops of non-denatured, grass-fed whey protein
1 Tbsp of ground flax/chia
1 Tbsp of turmeric
1 Tbsp of Boswellia
1 Tbsp of cinnamon
1 Tbsp of Ashwagandha
Pinch of Pink salt
About the author:
Dr. David Jockers owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Ga. He is a Maximized Living doctor. His expertise is in weight loss, customized nutrition & exercise, & structural corrective chiropractic care. For more information go to www.exodushc.com To find a Maximized Living doctor near you go to www.maximizedliving.com