Boswellia serrata belongs to the family Burseraceae and genus Boswellia. The tree is native to India and is found mostly in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. It also grows in Middle East and North Africa. Boswellia serrata is also known as Indian frankincense and is commonly known by its local names Guggal, Salai Guggal and Sallaki. It's a deciduous tree and grows to a height of 12 inches and has dark gray, greenish or peppery bark. The fruit bears seeds, its leaves are green and flowers are white in color. The most important derivative of the tree is its gum extract or Gum Resin. Boswellia is the gummy resin and has immense medicinal value. The tree is susceptible to attack by fungi, insects and beetles. Read the following content to know the details.
Boswellia Serrata Gum Extract
The gummy oleoresin extacted from the bark is widely used in medicines. It is obtained by peeling the bark and then collecting the sap. It then hardens to yellowish lumps. It has anti-inflammatory and anti analgesic effect. It is used as a treatment for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also used in the treatment of asthma.
The gum oleoresin contains sugars, terpenoids and essential oils. The terpenoid contains boswellic acids and the essential oil contains p-cymene, alpha-thujene and four pentacyclic triterpene acids. These acids have anti-carcinogenic, anti-tumor, blood lipid lowering and anti-inflammatory activities. Boswellic acids inhibit leukotrienes synthesis by inhibiting the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase, that causes inflammation of the immune system. Boswellia serrata acids also contain high levels of gugglesterones, that help to lose weight and increase efficiency of the thyroid gland. It increases the blood flow of the joint tissue thereby relieving the pain and thus, prevent breakdown of connective tissues. The extracts of Boswellia are good substitutes of drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin. The gummy resin is also used for treatment of pulmonary diseases, diarrhea and ringworm inside intestine. Boswellia serrata extract has been used since ages by Ayurvedic doctors due to its medical properties. Wokvel is an anti-inflammatory cream that contains the gum extract.
The dosage must be accurate and prescribed by doctors. The normal dosage should be 150 milligrams of Boswellia extract, taken thrice a day for 8 to 12 weeks. Side effects are rare although sometimes nausea, skin rash, burning and stomach pain may happen. Other possible side effects of Boswellia treatment may sometimes cause chest pain, tightness in throat, breathing problems and swollen skin. If you face these symptoms under Boswellia treatment, you should consult your doctor.
Other Uses of Boswellia
Apart from medicinal utilities, Boswellia extract is also used to scent homes and rituals. It is burned as an incense and the aroma is used in scent. Boswellia serrata extract is used in cosmetics and soaps. It is one of the main ingredients of the anti-wrinkle cream Boswelox.
Natural propagation of Boswellia shows good result. It can grow even in poor locations in terms of soil conditions. The species can regenerate as well as can reproduce from seeds. Artificial propagation is carried out by collecting the seeds. The seeds are collected and immersed in water before sowing. Folating sterile pyrenes are separated from the water. It takes 7 to 15 days for seed germination. They also have the ability to sprout from stem cuttings. The seeds can be stored under viable conditions for 6 to 9 months although they have poor viability.
Boswellia serrata is a valuable species. Its multiple uses make the tree so popular and efforts are also being made to preserve this rare species.