Also known by the term Indian frankincense, Boswellia Serrata (Shallaki) reduces inflammation and is useful for managing asthma and arthritis. Research reveals that this herb prevents the formation of leukotriene (inflammation-causing molecules) in the body. Studies on this herb have also reported that Boswellia Serrata (Shallaki) can be helpful in preventing breast cancer and leukemia.
Boswellia serrata, or Shallaki, is a tropical plant belonging to the genus Burseraceae. They are moderate sized flowering plants, both trees and shrubs. The plant produces fragrant resin, and is used to make frankincense. Boswellia is widely used in traditional medicine, and forms an important part of ayurvedic medicine.
Boswellia is rich in phytochemicals and alkaloids. Beta boswellic acid is the main constitutent. It also contains other pentacyclic triterpene acids. These phytochemicals provide Botswellia with its health benefits, mostly in treatment of disorders.
Boswellia is said to interfere with autoimmune response of the body. Combined with anti-inflammatory, this makes boswellia an effective treatment against rheumatoid arthritis.
Boswellia reduces leucotrienes which causes contraction of bronchial muscles, thus reducing the severity and onset of asthma and other bronchial inflammatory diseases. This also is effective in reducing coughing symptoms.
Benefits have been observed in female reproductive health upon usage of boswellia. It promotes normal and comfortable menstruation, clears congestion in the uterus, and enhances circulation in reproductive organs.
Boswellia reduces damage and destruction of connective tissues. This aids in maintaining healthy skin and preventing onset of wrinkles.
Boswellia may be used as a potent aphrodisiac to enhance sensual pleasure during sexual activities.
Boswellic acid is considered to act in a number of ways to inhibit cancer growth. It prevents some enzymes from acting upon genetic material. Research indicates that boswellia may be able to combat advanced breast cancer cells, and may limit the spread of malignant leukemia. It is also considered to be effective against pancreatic cancer cells.
Boswellia extract has been widely used as traditional medicines in the tropical countries of India and Africa. Today they are widely used by different pharmaceutical companies to make alternative drugs in the form of pills, capsules etc. Boswellia extract has also been traditionally used to make frankincense, the usage still prevalent today.
Boswellia may have some adverse side effects. It stimulates blood flow in the uterus and pelvic regions, hence improper usage may adversely affect the menstrual cycle, and may even induce miscarriage in expecting mothers. It may also induce nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, diarrhea and skin rashes. It may interfere with certain medications, including analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Boswellia serrata is native to the Indian subcontinent, and some regions of Pakistan. Some species are native also to Africa. It is a predominantly tropical plant, and although the greatest species diversity is found in India and Africa, it has spread to tropical regions all over the world.