Cool Your Inflammation

Reduce Inflammation With Boswellia

Boswellia (Boswellia serrata), also known as Indian frankincense, belongs to a family of resinous trees renowned for their oil. This particular species grows only in the dry hills of western and central India. According to the earliest Ayurvedic texts, boswellia was traditionally used to treat respiratory ailments, digestive disorders, and joint diseases. Recent clinical studies have confirmed many of the traditional uses for boswellia as well as indicated its efficacy for treating asthma, arthritis, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

The boswellia tree, which often reaches up to 18 feet in height, has a thick, papery bark that yields a gummy substance when peeled away. This gum contains natural sugars, essential oils, and a compound of terpenoids that is believed to account for boswellia’s medicinal properties. The acids in this compound have been named boswellic acids, and their potent inflammatory actions inhibit the production of prostaglandins, fatty acids that have hormone-like effects.

One of the strongest studies done on boswellia compared the use of boswellia with the standard drug treatment for ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disorder. The study found that 82 percent of the patients taking the herb went into complete remission, compared with 75 percent on the medication. Although more scientific research is needed, it is encouraging that this safe and inexpensive herb has such potential benefits. And unlike most anti-inflammatory drugs, boswellia does not irritate the stomach.

The variety of health concerns that boswellia addresses is truly impressive. It also helps mobilize phlegm in respiratory conditions, normalizes menstrual irregularities, treats liver ailments, and enhances metabolic activity to aid in weight loss. As a paste, it can be applied to acne. As a poultice applied to joints, it can reduce the pain of injury. The underlying theme to all of boswellia’s applications is its ability to successfully treat conditions of excessive inflammation.

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