Boswellia is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for its mild pain-relieving properties. In the form of resin sap from the Boswellia serrata tree, it may help reduce inflammation and pain for people with inflammatory diseases.

Find out more about the uses of Boswellia extract here, from its benefits on mild osteoarthritis to pain relief.

About Boswellia

Boswellia, or Indian frankincense, is a plant used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine for mild pain and inflammation relief. Now, studies have proven that Boswellia extract and Boswellic acid have mild pain-relieving uses. It can be especially useful for easing mild symptoms of osteoarthritis.

The plant is native to India, the Middle East, and North Africa. It’s collected by farmers ‘tapping’ the Boswellia serrata tree to release its golden sap. While most Boswellia sap is gold, it can also be dark brown or have a green tinge. Sap colour depends on factors like the location of the tree, the season, the tree's size, how sap is stored and more.

The trees are usually 'wounded' (cut) to release sap in March and April, while harvesting happens in summer and autumn. Trees can produce good quality sap for up to three years – after this period, they should be left to rest for a few years before another round of harvesting.

The sap dries into gummy resinous rocks, which have a rich aroma and are often used as incense. It’s traditionally used in religious ceremonies for its scent as well as in medicine. Boswellia essential oil is also used in aromatherapy, varnishes and paints for its fragrance.

In our guide below, we’re focusing on the health benefits of Boswellia for pain relief. Find out more about its effects in recent studies.

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The health benefits of Boswellia

What is Boswellia used for in a medicinal sense? Discover the benefits of Boswellia for different health conditions here.

Mild osteoarthritis

Many studies focus on Boswellia’s benefits for mild osteoarthritis (OA), a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints. One 2019 clinical trial found that Boswellia serrata extract reduced pain and stiffness in patients’ knees affected by mild OA. This helped to significantly improve their range of movement.

Researchers in 2018 studied a combination of Curcumin extract and Boswellic acid for helping ease mild OA symptoms. They found it improved the physical performance of participants with mild OA after three months of treatment.

Pain management

Modern studies have found strong evidence of Boswellia’s analgesic (pain relieving) properties. One clinical trial in India showed that Boswellia extract provided pain relief in mild OA patients. It also improved knee joint function within seven days. This study was the first to combine Boswellia extract with Boswellic acid for mild OA treatment.

boswellia flower

How is Boswellia taken?

Boswellia can be taken in many forms. Its resin and acids are added to capsules and tablets as an easy way for people to get Boswellia benefits. Some people buy raw chunks of resin and extract the active ingredients before putting them in capsules.

You can also buy Boswellia complex tablets and capsules. These are supplements containing Boswellia extract and other medicinal ingredients. For example, Rhuleave-K in PanaNatra Muscle Pain Relief is a combination of curcumin/curcuminoids, Boswellia and sesame used to ease muscle pain. Apresflex in PanaNatra Joint Pain Relief is a blend of Boswellia extract enriched with both boswellic acid and Boswellia oil.

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