Boswellia serrata (Frankincense)

Boswellia serrata                                   Common name: Frankincense

Family: Burseraceae

Part used: Resin

Constituents: Volatile oil (pinene, dipentene, phellandrene), resins (alpha-boswellic acid, 3-acetyl-ß-boswellic acid), mucilage 

Actions: Inflammatory modulating

Medical uses: Boswellia inhibits pro-inflammatory mediators in the body, such as leukotrienes. In contrast to NSAIDs, long-term use of Boswellia does not lead to irritation or ulceration of the stomachCan be used in asthma, ulcerative colitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic prostatitis and almost any inflammatory syndrome.

Pharmacy:  Capsules: 150 – 300mg, TID.


  • Boswellic acids, the biologically active ingredients of the gum resin, have been shown to be specific, nonredox and noncompetitive inhibitors of 5-lipoxygenase, the key enzyme of leukotriene biosynthesis.

Contraindications: None known

Toxicity:  None known.

Interactions: May theoretically interfere with the absorption of drugs.


  • Preliminary double-blind trials have found Boswellia effective in relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.Two placebo-controlled studies, involving a total of 81 individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, reportedly found significant reductions in swelling and pain over the course of 3 months. Today, extracts are typically standardized to contain 37.5–65% boswellic acids. 150 mg of boswellic acids TID is the dose shown to be effective in these studies.

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