Boswellia Serrata, a tree native to India, is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. Extracted from the tree’s gum resin, it has long been used in traditional medicine and is now being studied for its potential benefits in relieving joint pain caused by conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Some clinical trials have shown promising results in reducing pain and improving joint function in individuals using Boswellia Serrata extract as a supplement.

This natural remedy functions by targeting the body’s inflammatory responses, specifically by inhibiting the enzymes that produce inflammation-causing agents, thus reducing swelling and pain in the affected joints. In turn, its benefits for joint pain are well-documented, and people dealing with various forms of arthritis may find relief by adding Boswellia Serrata to their daily routines.

Key Takeaways

What Is Boswellia Serrata

Origin and Use in Ayurveda

Boswellia serrata is a tree native to India, known for its fragrant resin that has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. In Ayurveda, it is believed to aid in treating various health conditions, particularly those involving inflammation and joint pain. The tree grows predominantly in the dry, mountainous regions of India. The use of Boswellia serrata in Ayurvedic practices dates back thousands of years, showcasing its longstanding significance in holistic wellness.

Indian Frankincense and Resin

Boswellia serrata is also known as Indian Frankincense. This name is derived from the aromatic resin it produces, which is harvested by tapping the tree’s trunk. When the sap exudes from the incisions made in the bark, it hardens upon contact with air, forming a solid, gum-like substance. This resin is valued for its medicinal and aromatic properties and has been used in various forms, including as incense in spiritual rituals, as a natural remedy for inflammation, and even in the production of perfumes and cosmetics.

Boswellia Serrata Extract

The active component in the resin is the Boswellia serrata extract, which contains various boswellic acids. These acids are known for their potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Studies have shown that Boswellia serrata extract can be effective in reducing joint pain and inflammation, particularly in conditions like osteoarthritis (source) and rheumatoid arthritis (source). The extract is available in various forms, such as capsules, tablets, and topical creams, making it accessible for various therapeutic uses.

How Boswellia Serrata Works

Boswellic Acids

Boswellia Serrata is a plant known for its anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent resource for reducing joint pain. The primary active components in Boswellia Serrata are boswellic acids, which have been proven to have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. They work by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body, helping to reduce inflammation and ease joint pain.


Another important aspect of how Boswellia Serrata works is its inhibition of the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase. This enzyme is responsible for the production of certain compounds called leukotrienes, which have been implicated in the inflammation process. By inhibiting 5-lipoxygenase, boswellic acids from Boswellia Serrata can help to reduce inflammation and pain in joints affected by arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.


Leukotrienes are inflammatory mediators, playing a significant role in the inflammatory response and causing pain. By interrupting the production of leukotrienes, Boswellia Serrata is able to provide relief from joint pain. This natural remedy has been shown to be effective in improving knee-joint functions and considerably reducing pain in some cases.

In summary, Boswellia Serrata works by targeting the root cause of inflammation and joint pain through its active components, boswellic acids. These acids inhibit the production of inflammatory chemicals and leukotrienes in the body, reducing inflammation and providing relief from joint pain. Boswellia Serrata’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a promising and natural remedy for those suffering from joint pain.

Benefits of Boswellia Serrata for Joint Pain


Boswellia Serrata is known to help alleviate joint pain, particularly in individuals suffering from osteoarthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of this natural extract can reduce inflammation in the joints, leading to decreased pain and increased mobility.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

In addition to osteoarthritis, Boswellia Serrata has also shown potential in managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. This extract may help to regulate the immune response to inflammation, reducing the pain and swelling commonly associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Cartilage Health

Boswellia Serrata can also improve the health of the joint cartilage, which plays an important role in joint function and overall comfort. By promoting the production of proteins necessary for maintaining cartilage, Boswellia extract may help to slow down the degeneration of this essential tissue.

Physical Function and Movement

Improved joint health and reduced inflammation can lead to better physical function and movement. In addition to reducing pain, Boswellia Serrata is thought to improve the overall range of motion and flexibility in joints affected by arthritis, allowing individuals to engage in daily activities with greater ease.

Using Boswellia Serrata as a Supplement

Boswellia Serrata, a plant native to India, has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It can be a helpful addition to your regimen if you’re dealing with joint pain.

Safe Dosage and Administration

When using Boswellia Serrata as a supplement for joint pain, it’s crucial to adhere to the recommended dosage. The active ingredient in Boswellia Serrata is acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA), which contributes to its anti-inflammatory effects. Many supplements contain standardized extracts with a certain percentage of AKBA, such as Aflapin and 5-Loxin. The suggested dosage of Boswellia Serrata extract typically ranges from 100 to 250 mg per day, taken in divided doses.

As with any supplement, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before adding Boswellia Serrata to your routine, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking medications.

Combining with Other Supplements

Boswellia Serrata can be combined with other supplements to further support joint health. Some complementary options include:

  • Ginger: Ginger possesses anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce pain associated with arthritis.
  • Chondroitin: Chondroitin is a glycosaminoglycan that supports cartilage health and may contribute to joint pain relief.
  • Curcumin: Curcumin, an active compound found in turmeric, also has anti-inflammatory properties and can support joint health.
  • Vitamin D: Adequate levels of Vitamin D are crucial for maintaining bone health, which indirectly affects joint function.

Topical Applications

Apart from oral supplements such as capsules and pills, Boswellia Serrata can also be used as a topical application in the form of creams or gels. These products can be applied directly to the affected area, such as the knee, to provide localized pain relief. However, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for usage and be aware of possible skin irritation or allergies.

In conclusion, incorporating Boswellia Serrata as a supplement in your routine may provide joint pain relief and improve overall joint health. Make sure to follow recommended dosage guidelines, consult a healthcare professional as needed, and consider combining it with complementary supplements for additional support.

Clinical Research and Effectiveness

Key Clinical Trials

Several clinical trials have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of Boswellia serrata for joint pain relief. One open, randomized, controlled clinical trial compared the efficacy of Boswellia serrata extract to valdecoxib in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Results demonstrated a reduction in pain, stiffness, and difficulty in performing daily activities in the Boswellia serrata group.

Another double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial assessed the safety and efficacy of a novel Boswellia serrata extract in managing osteoarthritis of the knee. Participants experienced a significant decrease in pain scores and physical function.

In a study evaluating the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, a special extract of Boswellia serrata (H 15) showed promising results in reducing joint swelling and pain.

Lastly, a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study found that Aflapin® – a Boswellia serrata extract – resulted in an early reduction of joint pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Meta-Analysis Studies

While few meta-analysis studies focusing specifically on Boswellia serrata for joint pain have been conducted, the available evidence suggests that it has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties with promising potential in treating various forms of arthritis. These clinical trials offer support for Boswellia serrata’s effectiveness as an alternative to traditional treatments.

However, more comprehensive meta-analysis studies are needed to solidify the evidence-based support for using Boswellia serrata as a go-to treatment for managing joint pain.

Possible Side Effects and Precautions

Boswellia serrata is widely used in treating joint pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties. However, there are a few side effects and precautions to consider when using this herbal remedy.

Common Adverse Effects

Although generally considered safe for most people, Boswellia serrata can cause some mild side effects, such as nausea and diarrhea. These symptoms typically occur when the supplement is taken in high doses. It is crucial to consult a healthcare provider if you experience any adverse effects while using Boswellia serrata.

Potential Drug Interactions

Boswellia serrata might interact with certain medications, which could lead to complications. These potential interactions include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, Boswellia serrata may have additive effects in conjunction with these medications. As a result, they could increase the risk of side effects, such as gastrointestinal issues.
  • Capsaicin: Topical capsaicin has been reported to interact with certain Boswellia extracts. This interaction could result in increased risk of inflammation and skin reactions.

It is essential to consult your doctor before combining Boswellia serrata with any other medications, especially if you are taking prescribed medications for chronic conditions.

Use During Pregnancy

While the safety of Boswellia serrata during pregnancy is not well-established, some studies suggest potential risks for pregnant women. In animal studies, high doses of Boswellia serrata have been linked to changes in liver function. As the effects on human pregnancy are not fully understood, it’s best to avoid taking Boswellia serrata during pregnancy or discuss the potential risks with a healthcare provider before using it.

In summary, Boswellia serrata can provide relief for joint pain but should be used with caution. Be aware of the potential side effects, drug interactions, and precautions when using this herbal remedy. Always consult a healthcare provider or doctor for professional advice on dosage and safety, especially during pregnancy or when taking other medications.

Boswellia Serrata for Other Health Conditions

Apart from its benefits in treating joint pain, Boswellia serrata has potential therapeutic effects for various other health conditions. This section explores its effects on asthma and respiratory issues, inflammatory bowel disease, and its cancer-fighting and antioxidant properties.

Asthma and Respiratory Issues

Boswellia serrata has been found to possess anti-inflammatory effects that can be beneficial in treating asthma and various respiratory issues. Its active compounds have the potential to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, reducing inflammation and improving breathing in individuals with asthma. Boswellia serrata might also help reduce the need for conventional medications, such as NSAIDs and steroids, in managing respiratory issues.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Boswellia serrata has shown promise in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms of these conditions. Studies suggest that it may provide a natural alternative to conventional treatments for inflammatory bowel diseases, reducing the reliance on steroids and other medications with potential side effects.

Cancer and Antioxidant Effects

Boswellia serrata has also been researched for its potential cancer-fighting properties and antioxidant effects. Some studies have shown that the extract may inhibit the growth of cancer cells, particularly in skin cancer. Furthermore, its antioxidant properties may help protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals, thus reducing the risk of chronic diseases and supporting overall health. As Boswellia serrata is a natural medicine, its use could provide a complementary approach to conventional cancer treatments, although further research is needed to fully establish its efficacy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the side effects of using Boswellia for joint pain?

Boswellia has been shown to be generally safe for use in managing joint pain. However, like any supplement, some individuals may experience mild side effects. These can include stomach discomfort, diarrhea, and skin rashes. If you notice any unusual symptoms, discontinue use and consult your doctor.

Is there a difference between turmeric and Boswellia for treating joint pain?

Turmeric and Boswellia are both natural supplements known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has been studied for its potential in reducing inflammation and joint pain. Boswellia, on the other hand, contains boswellic acids that have also shown promise in reducing joint pain and inflammation. Both supplements can be helpful in managing joint pain, but their individual effectiveness may vary amongst individuals. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

How long does it usually take to feel relief from joint pain after taking Boswellia Serrata?

The time it takes for Boswellia to provide relief from joint pain may vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience improvement in symptoms within a couple of weeks, while others might take longer (up to a few months) to notice a significant reduction in pain. Keep in mind that results may vary, and it’s important to be patient and give the supplement time to work.

Can Boswellia cause liver damage?

While there have been a few cases of liver damage reported in individuals taking high doses of Boswellia, it is generally considered to be safe when taken as directed. Most studies have found no significant adverse effects on liver function. However, if you have pre-existing liver conditions or are taking medications that may affect your liver, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before taking Boswellia.

Has Boswellia been linked to causing anxiety?

There is limited evidence to suggest that Boswellia causes anxiety. Some studies have even suggested potential anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects. However, individual experiences may vary, and if you notice an increase in anxiety while taking Boswellia, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional.

Which form of Boswellia is most effective for joint pain?

Boswellia supplements come in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and topical creams. The most commonly studied and used form for joint pain is the oral supplement (capsules or tablets), which typically contain a standardized extract of Boswellia serrata. When choosing a Boswellia supplement, look for one that contains a higher concentration of the active compounds (boswellic acids) for maximum effectiveness. It’s also important to follow the recommended dosage guidelines provided by the manufacturer or your healthcare provider.