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Also known as Indian frankincense

Boswellia serrata

What is Boswellia serrata?

Boswellia serrata extract, also known as Indian frankincense, is a resin herbal extract from the boswellia tree native to India, North Africa, and the Middle East. The gum resin from the tree has a history of traditional use in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases, including osteoarthritis (1).

What are the proposed benefits of Boswellia serrata?

The principal bioactive compounds in Boswellia are boswellic acids, including one known as AKBA (acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid). AKBA has been shown to be a potent inhibitor a key enzyme involved in the inflammation (1). This anti-inflammatory effect is proposed to provide symptomatic relief of mild osteoarthritis through reducing pain and enhancing joint function (2).

What is the clinical evidence?

One clinical trial of 75 participants demonstrated that 100mg 5-Loxin ® Boswellia extract per day improves joint pain and functional outcomes in participants with diagnosed knee osteoarthritis, when compared to a group taking a placebo. This pain-relieving effect was observed within 7 days of participants commencing treatment and strengthened continued throughout the 90-day treatment (3).

A second randomised-controlled trial showed similar findings (2).

Treatment with 100mg 5-Loxin ® for 90 days demonstrated clinically significant improvements compared to placebo with regard to pain and stiffness scores. Again, improvements in pain were observed by day 7 with a reduction in pain of around 30% over the 90-day treatment period, while stiffness improved by over 40% (2).

1. Siddiqui M. Z. (2011). Boswellia serrata, a potential antiinflammatory agent: an overview. Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences, 73(3), 255–261. https://doi.org/10.4103/0250-474X.93507
2. Sengupta, K., Krishnaraju, A. V., Vishal, A. A., Mishra, A., Trimurtulu, G., Sarma, K. V., ... & Raychaudhuri, S. P. (2010). Comparative efficacy and tolerability of 5-Loxin® and Aflapin® against osteoarthritis of the knee: a double blind, randomized, placebo controlled clinical study. International journal of medical sciences, 7(6), 366.
3. Sengupta, K., Alluri, K. V., Satish, A. R., Mishra, S., Golakoti, T., Sarma, K. V., ... & Raychaudhuri, S. P. (2008). A double blind, randomized, placebo controlled study of the efficacy and safety of 5-Loxin® for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Arthritis research & therapy, 10(4), R85.