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Boswellia Serrata

Due to the herb’s anti-inflammatory properties, boswellia may be effective in treating inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC).

A 2001 study compared H15, a special boswellia extract, to the anti-inflammatory prescription drug mesalamine (Apriso, Asacol HD). It showed that the boswellia extract may be effective in treating Crohn’s disease.

Several studiesTrusted Source found the herb could be effective in treating UC as well. We’re just beginning to understand how the anti-inflammatory and immune-balancing effects of boswellia can improve the health of an inflamed bowel.

Boswellia can play a role in reducing leukotrienes, which causes bronchial muscles to contract. A 1998 studyTrusted Source of the herb’s effect on bronchial asthma found that people who took boswellia experienced decreased asthma symptoms and indicators. This shows the herb could play an important role in treating bronchial asthma. Research continues and has shown the positive immune-balancing properties of boswellia can help the overreaction to environmental allergens that happens in asthma.


Boswellic acids act in a number of ways that may inhibit cancer growth. Boswellic acids have been shown to prevent certain enzymes from negatively affecting DNA.

Studies have also found that boswellia may fight advanced breast cancer cells, and it may limit the spread of malignant leukemia and brain tumor cells. Another study showed boswellic acids to be effective in suppressing the invasion of pancreatic cancer cells. Studies continue and the anti-cancer activity of boswellia is becoming better understood.


Boswellia products can differ greatly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and remember to speak to your doctor before using any herbal therapy.

General dosing guidelines suggest taking 300–500 milligrams (mg) by mouth two to three times a day. The dosage may need to be higher for IBD.

The Arthritis Foundation suggests 300–400 mg three times per day of a product that contains 60 percent boswellic acids.

Boswellia may stimulate blood flow in the uterus and pelvis. It can accelerate menstrual flow and may induce miscarriage in pregnant women.

Other possible side effects of boswellia include:

Boswellia extract may also interact with medications, including ibuprofen, aspirin, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).