The gummy resin of the boswellia tree has a long history of use in Indian herbal medicine as a treatment for arthritis, bursitis, respiratory diseases, and diarrhea.

Growing evidence suggests that boswellia has anti-inflammatory effects.5-8 On this basis, the herb has been tried for a number of conditions in which inflammation is involved, including painful conditions such as bursitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and tendonitis. For the same reason, it has also been tried forasthma and inflammatory bowel disease ( ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease). In addition, boswellia has shown promise for the relatively rare disease of the colon in which inflammation plays a role: collagenous colitis.14

Furthermore, extracts of boswellia have been studied as an aid to standard care for malignant glioma (a type of incurable brain tumor).9-11 Use of boswellia appears to decrease symptoms, probably by decreasing inflammation in the brain (as well as through other mechanisms). However, this has not been proven, and individuals with cancer should not use boswellia (or any other herb or supplement) except on physician’s advice.