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Boswellia Serrata: natural anti-inflammatory from Ayurvedic medicine

Do you suffer from joint discomfort? Boswellia serrata will be of invaluable help. Due to its many ancestral uses, it is of growing interest to European doctors and phytotherapists. Several studies* have highlighted its excellent anti-inflammatory action. They have also demonstrated its unsuspected virtues against intestinal disorders, asthma and osteoarthritis. 

In this article, find out more about Boswellia, its use in Ayurveda, its benefits and the different ways you can use this plant for your well-being. 

What is boswellia serrata?  

Photo of a bowl containing boswellia serrata resin

Member of the Burseraceae family, the boswellia plant thrives in the dry, sandy soils of desert areas. Native to the arid lands of India, this medium-sized tree (2 to 8 meters) can be recognized by its deciduous leaves and large branches. The yellowish-white flowers are grouped in clusters, each with five petals. The fruit is capsule-shaped and contains several seeds.  

The branches and trunk of the boswellia are incised to extract its resin. Oily and rubbery, it has a balsamic, spicy, woody fragrance. It is one of the basic remedies used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Its properties are numerous: general anti-inflammatory, relief of joint pain, alleviation of osteoarthritis symptoms...  

The resin of the boswellia plant is composed of essential oils, antioxidants, incensol acetate and polysaccharides. It also contains acetyl-11-keto-ß-boswellic acid (AKBA).  

Boswellia Serrata and Ayurveda 

The doshas are one of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda. They represent the vital forces that govern all our body's physiological, mental and emotional processes. The three main doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and maintaining their balance is essential for the health and well-being of every individual. 

In Ayurveda, Boswellia serrata possesses the dual energy of being both warming (due to its property on blood circulation) and cooling (due to its ability to eliminate imbalances caused by excess heat).  

It can thus be used to balance all three doshas. Let's find out how:  

On Vata: Vata imbalances are often associated with joint and muscle pain, as well as reduced mobility. Boswellia serrata, with its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, can help relieve these symptoms, making it a useful choice for balancing Vata. 

On Pitta: Pitta imbalances are often characterized by increased inflammation and heat in the body. Boswellia serrata is known for its cooling properties, which can help soothe Pitta by reducing inflammation and alleviating excessive heat. 

On Kapha: Although Boswellia serrata can be used to balance Kapha due to its anti-inflammatory effects, it can also aggravate Kapha imbalances due to its drying potential. Consequently, it is often used with caution in people with excess Kapha, taking care to compensate with moisturizing and balancing measures. 

Boswellia benefits 

Photo of an elderly woman holding her neck

Boswellia resin has long been used for medicinal purposes. It is considered an important source of boswellic acid, a natural constituent of boswellia. Used in Ayurveda since time immemorial to soothe joint discomfort, this Indian plant has spread beyond India's borders for its benefits for the digestive system, joints and certain respiratory problems:  

 

1. A natural anti-inflammatory   

Boswellia serrata is renowned for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It contains active compounds, such as boswelliols and boswellic acids, which inhibit the production of inflammatory substances in the body. This anti-inflammatory action makes it an effective natural remedy for relieving joint and muscle pain associated with conditions such as arthritis and chronic inflammation.

2. Protecting the digestive system

Boswellia resin is appreciated for its positive effects on the digestive system. It is reputed to relieve intestinal pain and play a role in protecting the digestive tract. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help soothe inflammation of the intestinal mucosa and reduce associated symptoms, such as diarrhea and abdominal cramps. 

3. Joint support

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, boswellia is often used to relieve the symptoms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Boswellia serrata supplementation can help reduce pain, swelling and joint stiffness, improving mobility and quality of life for people with these conditions. 

This powerful natural anti-inflammatory inhibits the formation of leukotrienes and promotes blood circulation in the joints. In so doing, it preserves blood vessels, reduces swelling and eases pain. 

4. Breathing health

Also thanks to its anti-inflammatory virtues, boswellia has an action on the bronchial tubes and is reputed to reduce inflammation and relax the respiratory tract. In particular, it is said to soothe the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis, as well as colds and sinusitis, by relieving congestion and facilitating the expulsion of mucus from the lungs and nasal passages. 

How to enjoy the benefits of boswellia?  

Photo of a woman holding her leg

The benefits of Boswellia serrata can be enjoyed in a variety of forms, such as boswellia extract capsules, one of the most common ways of relieving joint pain.  

Boswellia joint gel is also a practical and effective way of soothing joint pain, applied locally to inflamed or painful areas.  

Finally, boswellia serrata-based ayurvedic massage oils can be used to massage tense or aching muscles to bring comfort, a moment for oneself and optimal well-being. 

 

* https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9810030/ 

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