Boswellia serrata is Indian frankincense or Salai. It is found in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in India. Its aroma is generally considered to be far inferior compared to B. sacra or B. frereana.
Extracts of Boswellia serrata have been clinically studied for osteoarthritis and joint function, particularly for osteoarthritis of the knee. A Boswellia extract marketed under the name Wokvel has undergone human efficacy, comparative, pharmacokinetic studies.
There are four main species of Boswellia which produce true Frankincense and each type of resin is available in various grades. The grades depend on the time of harvesting, and the resin is hand sorted for quality. Anyone interested in frankincense would be well advised to first obtain a small sample of each type from a reputable dealer in order to ascertain the difference between each resin.
Boswellia has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine. Recently, the boswellic acids that are a component of the resin it produces have shown some promise as a treatment for asthma and various inflammatory conditions (Gupta I, Gupta V, Parihar A, et al. Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with bronchial asthma: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week clinical study. European Journal of Herbal Medicine 1998; 3:511-14.) In West Africa, the bark of Boswellia dalzielii is used to treat fever, rheumatism and gastro-intestinal problems (Arbonnier 2002. Arbres, arbustes et lianes des zones sèches de l'Afrique de l'Ouest)
Dr. Satish Phadke
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