Boswellia

Botanicals

18/Description

About

Boswellia is a tree that is native to India, Africa, and Arabia. It is commonly used in the traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda.

Olibanum is another word for boswellia. It refers to a resin or "sap" that seeps from openings in the bark of several Boswellia species, including Boswellia serrata, Boswellia carterii, and Boswellia frereana. Of these, Boswellia serrata is most commonly used for medicine.

Boswellia is taken by mouth for brain injury, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, swelling of the fluid-filled pads in the joints (bursitis), and swelling of tendons (tendonitis). It is also taken by mouth for ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease that affects the colon (collagenous colitis), Crohn's disease, and abdominal pain. It is used for asthma, hay fever, sore throat, syphilis, painful menstruation, pimples, bruises, headache, diabetes, and cancer. Boswellia is also used as a stimulant, to increase urine flow, and for stimulating menstrual flow.

Boswellia is applied to the skin to tone the skin and decrease wrinkles. It is also used to reduce skin damage caused during radiation treatments for cancer.

In manufacturing, boswellia resin oil and extracts are used in soaps, cosmetics, foods, and beverages.

How it works

The resin of boswellia contains substances that may decrease inflammation and increase immune response.

Effectiveness

Possibly Effective
Osteoarthritis

Some research shows that taking certain extracts of boswellia (5-Loxin, Wokvel, ApresFLEX, formerly known as Aflapin) can reduce pain by up to 65% and improve mobility in people with osteoarthritis in joints. Other research shows that taking combination products containing boswellia and other herbal ingredients can also reduce pain and improve function in people with osteoarthritis.

Skin damage caused by radiation therapy

Some research shows that applying a skin cream containing 2% boswellia (Bosexil by Indena SpA) during radiation treatment helps prevent severe skin redness from developing.

Ulcerative colitis

Taking boswellia seems to improve symptoms of ulcerative colitis in some people. For some people, boswellia seems to work as well as the prescription drug sulfasalazine. Some research shows that it can induce disease remission in 70% to 82% of people.

Concerns

Likely safe

Boswellia is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth for up to six months

Possibly safe

Boswellia is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin for up to five weeks. It usually does not cause important side effects. However, some people who took it reported stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, heartburn, itching, headache, swelling, and general weakness. When applied to the skin, it can cause allergic rash.

18/Warnings

Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Boswellia isLIKELY SAFEwhen used in amounts commonly found in foods. But don't use it in the larger amounts needed for medicinal effects. Not enough is known about the safety of using boswellia in these amounts duringpregnancyorbreast-feeding.Are there any interactions with medications?

"Auto-immune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other immune system conditions: Boswellia might make the immune system more active. This could worsen the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. Avoid using boswellia if you have any of these conditions.

Interactions

Always consult with your doctor.
Moderate
Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Boswellia might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking boswellia along with some medications that are changed by the liver might increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking boswellia, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include clozapine (Clozaril), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fluvoxamine (Luvox), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), mexiletine (Mexitil), olanzapine (Zyprexa), pentazocine (Talwin), propranolol (Inderal), tacrine (Cognex), zileuton (Zyflo), zolmitriptan (Zomig), and others.Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Boswellia might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking boswellia along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of your medication. Before taking boswellia, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.Some of these medications changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), carisoprodol (Soma), citalopram (Celexa), diazepam (Valium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), phenytoin (Dilantin), warfarin (Coumadin), and many others.Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Boswellia might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking boswellia along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking boswellia, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications that are changed by the liver include celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), fluvastatin (Lescol), glipizide (Glucotrol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), phenytoin (Dilantin), piroxicam (Feldene), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), tolbutamide (Tolinase), torsemide (Demadex), and warfarin (Coumadin).Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Boswellia might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking boswellia along with some medications that are changed by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of your medication. Before taking boswellia, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), codeine, desipramine (Norpramin), flecainide (Tambocor), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), ondansetron (Zofran), paroxetine (Paxil), risperidone (Risperdal), tramadol (Ultram), venlafaxine (Effexor), and others.Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Boswellia might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking boswellia along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking boswellia, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), amiodarone (Cordarone), citalopram (Celexa), felodipine (Plendil), lansoprazole (Prevacid), ondansetron (Zofran), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), sertraline (Zoloft), and many others.Boswellia seems to make the immune system more active. Taking boswellia along with medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of these medications.Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), and other corticosteroids (glucocorticoids).

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