Boswellia serrata (N.O. Burseraceae) is a large, much branched, deciduous tree that grows abundantly in the dry, hilly parts of India. It is known as “Dhup”, Indian Frankincense or Indian Olibanum. Since ancient times, resins have been important in the preparation of incense, medicines, cosmetics and perfumes.
The Egyptians, Hindus, Persians, Israelites, Greek, Romans and the Europeans of Queen Victoria’s times greatly valued these materials. Olibanum, the resin from the Boswellia species has been used as incense for centuries. However, its major use today is as a fixative in perfumes, soaps, creams lotions and detergents. In India, the gum resin exudates of Boswellia serrata, known in the vernacular as “Salai guggal”, has been used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine in the managements of several inflammatory conditions and as a topical anti-inflammatory agent.
The major use of Boswellia serrata in contemporary medicine is as an anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory pharmacological agent.
- The anti-inflammatory properties of the gum resin are attributed to the presence of “boswellic acids”. Boswellic acids were found to inhibit two pro-inflammatory enzymes, 5-lipoxygenase (which generates inflammatory leukotrienes) and Human Leukocyte Elastase (HLE). HLE is a serine protease that initiates injury to the tissue, which in turn triggers the inflammatory process
- This dual inhibitory action on the inflammatory process is unique to boswellic acids.
Sabinsa Corporation pioneers Boswellin® (a standardized extract containing boswellic acids isolated from the oleogum resin of Boswellia serrata) and introduced it to the US and European markets in 1991. Recently, Sabinsa Corporation has redefined the standards of Boswellin® based on the recent research findings.