Boswellia Extract: Does It Work?

Anti-inflammatory Herbs Guide

Bark - Root - Fruit - Stem - Gum - Seed - Oil and Leaf (Bonus)

Gum: Boswellia

(Boswellia serrata)

The boswellia extract in the supplement market today mostly comes from the Boswellia serrata (Indian frankincense) species.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the other related boswellia species, Boswellia carterii (African frankincense) is mainly used instead.

Boswellia trees are found in India, Northern Africa and the Middle East. A medium sized tree with stiff low branches, boswellia has ash-colored and papery-peeled bark which is uniquely blotchy.

The trunk is wide to support the wide, outward-growing branches.

The author of the book, “Fantastic Trees,” Menninger, describes it rather interestingly, i.e. “like a decomposing animal!”

Not a sightly tree here, you may think; but under the skin of this anti-inflammatory herbal tree is where its medicinal properties reside.

What’s In It?

boswellia tree Like rubber tree, the bark of boswellia has to be tapped to access the gummy sap (resin), a milky white liquid, which contains oils, terpenoids (~43%), volatile oils (~12%), sugars, proteins, and other inorganic compounds.

The frankincense essential oil used in aromatherapy is produced from the volatile oils.

On the other hand, the active constituents of boswellia are the terpenoids, which are made up of more than eight tri-terpines.

They are collectively known as boswellic acids, of which six are important.

The Alphas (α)

▪ alpha-boswellic acid
▪ acetyl-alpha-boswellic acid

The Betas (β)

▪ beta-boswellic acid
▪ acetyl-beta-boswellic acid

The Keto-Betas (Kβ)

▪ 11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (KBA)
▪ acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA)

Standardized boswellia extracts in the market usually contain 37.5 to 75% boswellic acids.

Although the standardization process is to guarantee batch to batch consistency of a particular marker compound, a variation in the actual individual components, in particular the Betas and keto-Betas can still occur.

Let’s take the “65% boswellic acids” as example. Questions to ponder:

Does the supplier guarantee a potency of say, 20-25% of Betas, including the keto-Betas?

What about the percentage of the keto-Betas, (KBA and AKBA) themselves?

These two ketos are found to be the key anti-inflammatory compounds. A quantity of around 2-3% is what you expect to see, not less than 1%!

However, this is not usually shown on the product label; you will have to rely on the principles and core values of the company and trust that they are getting high quality raw ingredients from the best sources.

Here are TWO must-do's:

Check their history and background. Find out if you’re assured of products with uncompromised quality.

Now, don’t let this statement scare you off taking health supplements, but there are indeed MANY dishonest supplement hucksters hanging around, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. So beware.

NOTE: Although a higher than 3%, i.e. 10% or even 30% AKBA Boswellia extract supplements are now available in the market (naturally, you’ll find the latter heavily promoted), but are they really as potent as claimed?

More about this in a moment but if you’re getting impatient, click here.

Boswellia Tames the Flame!

Boswellia have been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine for centuries to reduce chronic inflammation in the lungs, joints and intestines.

Research data from animal models and clinical studies on humans have even confirmed the anti-inflammatory potential of boswellia extracts.

So what exactly do boswellic acids do?

They do a really good job in blocking and decreasing the activity of TWO key pro-inflammatory chemicals namely, 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor (5-LOX), and human leukocyte elastase (HLE).

The dual inhibition of 5-LOX and HLE is unique to the boswellia plant. (link)

Leukotrienes are one of the key chemicals in immune cells involved in triggering the inflammatory process; and 5-LOX are the key enzymes needed to synthesize them.

In fact, the boswellic acids (especially AKBA) did more than that … they actually took control of 5-LOX’s two main production factories, 5-HETE and LTB4!

Get acquainted with our fiery squads here.

In fact, the boswellic acids (especially AKBA) did more than that … they actually took control of 5-LOX’s two main production factories, 5-HETE and LTB4!

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