Boswellia and Curcumin as Anti-Inflammatories

Boswellia and Curcumin as Anti-Inflammatories

August 31, 2015

In a lot of ways, the fight against arthritis looks like a no-win war. Suffering through crippling stiffness and pain isn’t an option—but conventional solutions offer relief at a price that puts your digestive health, your heart health and possibly even your lifeon the line.

In reality, however, there is a third choice… one that offers clinically demonstrated, risk-free relief. Boswellia serrata—orIndian frankincense, as you may know it—is a regular staple of Ayurvedic medicine, where it enjoys a long-standing reputation as a powerful natural anti-inflammatory. The resin of this botanical is rich in boswellic acids, which researchers have identified as the active constituents responsible for balancing key inflammatory leukotrienes and enzymes like 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX).

Not surprisingly, one of boswellia’s primary traditional uses is as a safe and effective foil for arthritis pain—and, as it turns out, an abundance of modern research shows that it works better than anything you’ll find in the average medicine cabinet.

Clinically Demonstrated to Rival Popular Pain Meds

According to a report presented at the 2011 World Congress on Osteoarthritis this past September, recent clinical research shows that a combo of boswellia and curcumin might actually offer pain relief that’s superior to the popular prescription NSAID celecoxib.

As part of a four-month study, researchers separated subjects into two groups: one that took 100 mg of celecoxib twice daily, and another that took 500 mg of a blend of boswellia and curcumin extracts twice daily. At the end of the trial, data indicated that not only was the boswellia blend comparable to celecoxib when it came to restoring range of motion and reducing creaky joints, but it performed better in treatment measures, including pain relief, walking distance and joint tenderness.

In fact, results showed that 93 percent of the subjects in the boswellia combo group could walk more than 1,000 meters upon the conclusion of the study, and reported either improvement or elimination of pain—while only 86 percent and 79 percent of the celecoxib group benefited from the same effects, respectively.1

This isn’t the first trial to pit boswellia against COX-2 inhibitors in the quest for arthritis relief. A 2007 study published in theIndian Journal of Pharmacology showed that Boswellia serrata extract outperforms valdecoxib in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee—and that although not quite as fast-acting, its effects are longer-lasting.2 A 2003 study published in the journalPhytomedicine showed similar promise, with boswellia supplementation delivering significant improvements in knee pain, ability to bend the knee and walking distance when compared with placebo.3

Preserve Your Gastric Lining

These results are even more promising when you consider the well-known risks that accompany NSAIDs—and especially COX-2 inhibitors—including ulcers, GI bleeding and heart failure. Boswellia doesn’t require the same compromises to your health… and believe it or not, studies show that it might even furnish your GI tract with critical natural protection.

In a 2007 study of 26 patients with chronic diarrhea and collagenous colitis, researchers found that Boswellia serrata extract yielded higher rates of remission than placebo after six weeks of supplementation. At the conclusion of this initial phase, seven placebo group patients with persistent diarrhea supplemented with boswellia for an additional six weeks—and of these patients, five achieved complete remission as well.4

Research on rodents—including a study published in Phytomedicine in 2008—further supports boswellia’s gut-nourishing properties, with results showing that this powerful botanical can inhibit gastric ulcer formation by as much as 51 percent.5 And clinical trials show that active components in boswellia can fight deadly inflammation in the colon, lungs and brain, too.6

As you can see from the studies above, boswellia is a multitasking botanical, addressing joint pain, GI concerns and general inflammation.


1. Kizhakkedath AR, et al. Poster presentation at the Osteoarthritis Research Symposium Internationale (OARSI) Annual World Congress on Osteoarthritis, September 15-18, 2011. San Diego, CA.

2. Sontakke S, et al. Indian J Pharmacol. 2007;39:27-9.

3. Kimmatkar N, et al. Phytomedicine. 2003 Jan;10(1):3-7.

4. Madisch A, et al. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2007 Dec;22(12):1445-51.

5. Singh S, et al. Phytomedicine. 2008 Jun;15(6-7):408-15.

6. Ammon HP. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2002;152(15-16):373-378.


(this article was obtained by vitamin research products)

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Dietary Supplements, Herbs and Herbal Supplements