Boswellia is the plant that is related to the incense tree family. Fragrant resin of the plant has been long known for its anti-inflammatory actions. Boswellia frereana only grows in Northern Somalia. Boswellia sacra (also known as Boswellia carteri, Boswellia thurifera) is the Arabian frankincense, mostly coming from the Oman and the Yemen and is more widely used in herbal medicine.
Boswellia prefers the dry, hot climates of the Near Eastern lands. It originates from the ancient Persia, in the place we now call Iran, but grows in the variety of other places in the world. Boswellia is harvested from trees in late October. The harvesting is done by the cutting away a flap of bark 15-20 cm wide. The gum is being then scraped away from this wound for about two weeks. After the collection the material is purified and used in healing.
In traditional and Ayurvedic medicine the Boswellia gum resin has been extensively used to treat a variety of conditions. Dried extracts of the resin of the Boswellia serrata tree have been used since antiquity in India to treat inflammatory conditions.
Boswellia serrata is widely used by herbalists to treat arthritis and other inflammatory conditions and is found in natural products stores. The remedies can be taken internally or can be applied as a component of anti-arthritis cream.
Commercially available boswellia is standardized as an extract with the 60–65% strength boswellic acid. Dosages depend on the patient’s condition. Creams based on boswellic acid are usually applied externally.
In medical studies compounds extracted from boswellia have demonstrated effective anti-inflammatory actions. They also reduced swelling in experimental animals as effectively as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Boswellia has been long and successfully used in the herbal medicine. Recently, the boswellic acids (component of the resin it produces) have shown some positive results in treatmenting asthma and various inflammatory conditions like arthritis and rheumatism.Other uses of boswellia include it being used as an antiseptic, anti-ulcer (treats ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the colon), cholesterol lowering, expectorant, and diuretic medication.
The medical conditions handled with the plant are asthma, bronchitis, jaundice ringworm and other skin diseases, syphilis and undescended testicles. Boswellia has also been proved to reduce the body weight. Taking boswellia may be associated with the stomach discomfort. It should not be used by the pregnant, breast-feeding women and children.