Help your patients with boswellia
If you have patients who deal with respiratory diseases, in between their regular adjustments and lifestyle changes a powerful botanical may provide the additional relief they need. Boswellia serrata, also known as Indian frankincense, is an herbal extract uniquely qualified to reduce the inflammation associated with a variety of respiratory conditions because of its ability to inhibit 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) inflammation, something that synthetic drugs can’t do safely—and even other strong botanicals can’t do as well.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the number of American adults who have asthma is around 18 million and the number of children with the condition is about 6 million.1
There are multiple causes of asthma, and it can be triggered by a number of things, such as pollen and allergies, dust, cold air, nervousness or tension, exercise, and pollution. Because some individuals seem to be more prone to asthma than others, genetics may play a part in this, too.
Asthma attacks can be the cause of considerable anxiety for your patients, which is understandable. They may become stressed during an attack, or worry about the next occurrence, which can make even mild symptoms worse.
There certainly are conventional medications to alleviate symptoms, but they can also bring about a number of side-effects, including agitation, aggression and depression. While I wouldn’t advise people to throw away their inhaler and switch to boswellia, the botanical has strong evidence in its favor.
For example, in a six-week, doubleblind, placebo-controlled clinical study, boswellia was tested in 40 individuals with asthma, ranging from 18 to 75 years old and a mix of 23 men and 17 women. At the end of the study, 70 percent showed marked improvement.2
In another clinical study showing similar results, boswellia was one of three botanicals in a combination. In this placebo-controlled study, 63 patients were divided into two groups; one received the herbal combination (boswellia, licorice root and turmeric root), the other a placebo. At the end of the four-week study, the herbal group showed a statistically significant drop in leukotriene levels and other inflammatory markers compared to the placebo group.3
In some ways, these results are not surprising; boswellia has been shown to inhibit the “4-series leukotrienes” (LTB4, LTC4, LTD4, and LTE4), which are a primary cause of bronchoconstriction. And, because these inflammatory leukotrienes are activated in part by 5-LOX, boswellia works along two different fronts: it reduces the activity of 5-LOX and the leukotrienes at the same time.4-7
For many allergy sufferers, synthetic drugs can create conditions that are almost as bad as the malady’s symptoms. Here, too, boswellia presents a solution: It inhibits the action of histamine-producing mast cells, so it could be highly effective at reducing sinus pressure and swelling, without such side effects as the jitteriness or drowsiness of conventional treatments.8,9
If any of your patients deal with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), boswellia offers hope for them, too. That’s because it specifically inhibits human leukocyte elastase (HLE), a response that triggers emphysema, chronic bronchitis and other troublesome respiratory symptoms, including the sensation of “drowning” due to increased mucus and lung inflammation.
By reducing the influence and activity of HLE, boswellia can reduce bronchial inflammation, open bronchial airways, and keep them open. It can also mitigate damage to bronchi that occurs over time due to these conditions and their causes.10,11
While boswellia is an incredibly beneficial botanical, it requires special standardization. For example, Acetyl11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA) is one of the boswellia’s most powerful components. As a result, many extracts have artificially increased (or “spiked”) levels of AKBA, or are essentially all AKBA. But that isn’t necessary; there are other compounds in the plant that are beneficial, too.
However, an unstandardized boswellia is not the answer either. First, it has very little AKBA per milligram. Second, one of the naturally occurring compounds in boswellia—beta-boswellic acid—is actually pro-inflammatory. Leaving beta-boswellic acid at its natural levels as found in unstandardized extracts can mean that up to 25 percent of the herb would have an inflammation-causing compound.
A balanced approach is best. A boswellia standardized for at least 10 percent AKBA and virtually no beta-boswellic acids provides your patients with a true, complete boswellia with all of the beneficial components they need (but not at artificially high levels) and without potentially dangerous amounts of beta-boswellic acid.12,13
While certain times of the year are more prone to causing respiratory symptoms, many people struggle every with them every day and are seeking out a better alternative. You are well-qualified to point them in the right direction.
By incorporating a uniquely standardized boswellia into their daily regimens as a natural complement to regular adjustments and a healthy lifestyle, your patients can experience easier breathing without complications or side effects.
Terry Lemerond is a natural health expert with more than 40 years of experience. He has owned health food stores, founded dietary supplement companies, and formulated more than 400 products. A published author, he appears on radio, television, and is a frequent guest speaker. He can be contacted through europharmausa.com.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Asthma.” National Center for Health Statistics. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/ asthma.htm. Updated March 2017. Accessed August 2017.
2 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. Eur J Med Res. 1998;3(11):511-4.
3 Houssen ME, Ragab A, Mesbah A, et al. Natural anti-inflammatory products and leukotriene inhibitors as complementary therapy for bronchial asthma. Clin Biochem. 2010;43(10-11):887-90.
4 Ammon HP, Safayhi H, Mack T, Sabieraj J. Mechanism of anti-inflammatory actions of curcumine and boswellic acids. J Enthnopharmacol. 1993;38:113-119.
5 Ammon HP, Mack T, Singh GB, Safayhi H. Inhibition of leukotriene B4 formation in rat peritoneal neutrophils by an ethanolic extract of the gum resin exudate of Boswellia serrata. Planta Med. 1991;57:203-207.
6 Sharma ML, Khajuria A, Kaul A, et al. Effect of salia guggal ex-Boswellia serrata on cellular and humoral immune responses and leucocyte migration. Agents Actions. 1988;24:161-164.