Many of today's most reliable and effective compounds, herbs, and supplements have a promising future thanks to a history that dates back thousands of years to ancient medical practices. Boswellia, which is sourced from the gum resin of the Boswellia serrata tree (found in the dry, hilly areas of India), is one of those time-tested compounds that has been commonly used over the centuries in Ayurvedic medical practices. It is known especially for its anti-inflammatory properties. Also known as frankincense, which was well known to the world in biblical times, boswellia, per livestrong.com, is an herb that was popular in ancient Egypt and India, not only for its value in medical treatments but also for its use in mummification and cremation. Boswellia's many other health benefits include its penchant for improving blood flow, as well as making it a natural healer for use in treating topical wounds. It also is believed to help increase human longevity.
Boswellia's Use Comes in Several FormsAlthough boswellia is readily available as an herb-based nutritional supplement, it also has proven useful in different forms. For example, the Boswellia serrata tree's resin, when allowed to harden, can also be processed into beverages, cosmetics, and soaps that have proven able to provide benefits for regular users. Per organicfacts.net, the gummy resin also is frequently burned for aromatic purposes.
Boswellia's Health Benefits SummarizedWe touched briefly on some of boswellia's health benefits above. Here's a deeper (and longer) dive concerning the herb's many benefits:
- Arthritis. Boswellia's anti-inflammatory characteristics make it suitable for alleviating the symptoms of conditions such as osteoarthritis. Studies, as cited at organicfacts.net, have found a connection between boswellia's use and the relief from joint pain and discomfort caused by cytokines and other inflammatory enzymes in the body.
- Asthma. A 2015 study cited at verywell.com found that inhalation therapy accompanied by an oral boswellia supplement reduced the quantity of inhalations needed by participants compared to use of the inhalation therapy itself.
- Digestion. Another benefit tied in to boswellia's ability to reduce inflammation, in this case in the gut.
- Hormone balance. This can help improve mood and stress levels, and optimize metabolism.
- Immune system. The regular consumption of boswellia can gird up the immune system in such a way as to enhance its ability to respond to foreign substances and pathogens that are infectious.
- Inflammatory bowel disease. Per livestrong.com, research studies conducted at Colorado State University found that boswellia, along with probiotics and acupuncture, proved effective in reducing inflammation in the bowels by slowing TH1 cytokine production while boosting the production of TH2. (TH1 cytokines spur the growth of unhealthy cells and the spread of inflammation of the bowels while TH2 proteins bolster the production of new healthy cells.)
- Pain relief. You don't have to be afflicted with arthritis to get pain-relief benefits out of boswellia. It has been shown to act as a natural form of aspirin or ibuprofen, per leaf.tv, to include providing relief from headaches.
- Skin health. Boswellic acid, per organicfacts.net, possesses antioxidant properties that can help provide a remedy for skin inflammation and irritation – it might also have a positive effect on age spots, blemishes, elasticity, and wrinkles.
- Stress. The herb has for centuries been used to reduce chronic stress hormones in the body when burned as an aromatic compound, per organicfacts.net.
- Weight loss. Boswellia contains a high level of what are known as gugglesterones, which have been identified as agents that can help people lose weight, per leaf.tv. It's no wonder boswellia can be found in several over-the-counter weight-loss supplements.
- Wound healing. This works in a pair of ways: first, as a topical form of treatment, boswellia can hasten healing by promoting circulation to the wound area while also protecting the area from infection; second, when consumed in the form of either a supplement or a beverage, it can help speed up recovery time for injuries or extended illnesses.