Arthritic and Joint Conditions

Studies done at the University of Michigan Health system showed that boswellic acid has “an anti-inflammatory action much like the conventional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used for inflammatory conditions”. Boswellic acid prevents the creation of leukotrienes, which are compounds found in the blood that cause inflammation and allergic reactions

NSAIDs inhibits both COX-2, an enzyme which is responsible for inflammation and pain and COX-1, a beneficial enzyme, which is vital in maintaining the stomach lining. As a result, NSAIDs are known to cause stomach irritation and bleeding, toxicity of the kidneys , and peptic ulcers with long term use. Boswellia, on the other hand, has been found to inhibit COX-5, which is a pro-inflammatory enzyme and to have no effect on COX-1 – making it a safer and healthier natural alternative to NSAIDs. COX-5 is known to inter alia cause arthritis, rheumatism and joint inflammation.

Boswellia also inhibits the formation of another pro-inflammatory enzyme called HLE (human leukocyte elastase), which affects lung health and function and results in rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis of the knee

Researchers at the MS Orthopedics, Indira Gandhi Medical College in Nagpur, India treated 30 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee over a period of 16 weeks. Half the group received boswellia while the other half received a placebo. Half way through, the two groups were crossed over to receive the opposite medication. All the patients that received boswellia showed increased mobility with a reduction in pain. Furthermore, patients had fewer episodes of swelling in the knee joint.

Digestive Disorders

Studies were also conducted to assess Boswellia’s effectiveness in treating Crohn’s disease. The Klinikum Mannheim der Universität in Heidelberg, Germany compared mesalazine, an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat digestive inflammations such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis with Boswellia and found that Boswellia appeared to be superior in treatment with fewer risk factors.


Current studies have discovered a compound called incensol acetate in Boswellia, which shows potential to alleviate depression and anxiety and they project that boswellia could well become the future choice antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication.


A six-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted at the Pharmakologie für Naturwissenschaftler at the Pharmaceutical Institute at the University in Tübingen, Germany showed that a preparation of 300mg of boswellic acid, three times a day resulted in a 70% improvement in reducing the frequency of attacks and physical symptoms.