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The History & Benefits of Boswellia
HERBAL MEDICINE

The History & Benefits of Boswellia

The resin from Boswellia trees has been an important remedy used in Ayurvedic medicine for antiquity, it may also be known as Indian Frankincense. Other traditional medicine systems, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Middle Eastern medicine have also used Boswellia resin as an aromatic substance or medicine for centuries.

According to the Bible, baby Jesus was gifted gold, frankincense and myrrh by the three wise men. All three gifts were highly prized, however frankincense would have been abundantly available with Boswellia trees growing widespread across the lands described in the Bible. Some species of Boswellia grow wild in Somalia, Ethiopia and South Arabia, while Indian Frankincense can be founding growing in the dry, mountainous regions of India.

A small to large deciduous tree which can grow up to 8 metres, the Boswellia tree has a papery bark and a light crown of small leaves. Some liken its appearance to that of a large bonsai tree. The tree is so hardy that it can be found growing out of rocky ledges and in the driest of conditions.

There are various species of Boswellia trees within the Burseraceae family. The resin from some species of Boswellia, are used as aromatics for perfumes, essential oils or burned as incense, this is known as frankincense, while other species such as Boswellia serrata, are used medicinally for inflammation and joint complaints.

To harvest the tree’s medicinal resin, an incision is made into the trunks of the tree where the sap is extracted and dried into a resin. The resin from the Boswellia trees is still popular in complementary medicine and perfumes today.

Like most plant medicines, Boswellia naturally contains several active compounds. The particular compounds found in Boswellia are known as boswellic acids. One of these is referred to as 3-O-Acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA). This particular compound has developed popularity in Western Herbal Medicine for its benefits for joint health, particularly for the symptoms of mild osteoarthritis and joint inflammation. Boswellia is quite unique in its actions, providing not only support for the joint cartilage by reducing wear and tear and decreasing further cartilage loss, but also for the relief of symptoms such as swelling, pain and stiffness.

The value of Boswellia has been recognised since ancient times, so if you suffer from the symptoms of mild arthritis such as aches and pain or inflamed joints, why not try the ancient remedy for yourself? 

Diana Uribe
Author

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