Medicinal benefits of Boswellia Serrata

Medicinal uses of Gummi Boswellii

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Gummi Boswellii consists of the dried gum resin of Boswellia serrata Roxb. ex Colebr. (Burseraceae)

A medium to large deciduous tree, up to 18m in height and 2.4m in girth. Leaves imparipinnate, leaflets ovate or ovate-lanceolate, variable. Flowers small, white, in axillary racemes or panicles. Drupes 12 mm long, trigonous, scarlet when young, turn white at maturity. Bark thick and aromatic. When cut, a secretion exudes and becomes gum-like after exposure to air

Synonyms: Boswellia glabra Roxb., B. thurifera (Colebr.) Roxb

Gummi boswellii

Major chemical constituents

Contains 5–9% essential oil with major constituents being A-thujene (50– 61%), sabinene (5%), A-pinene (8%) and A-phellandrene (2%). Major triterpene constituents of biological interest are members of the boswellic acids (more than 12) including 11-oxo-B-boswellic acid, 3-O-acetyl-11oxo-B-boswellic acid, A-boswellic acid, B-boswellic acid, 3-O-acetyl-Aboswellic acid, and 3-O-acetylB-boswellic acid.

Uses supported by clinical data: Orally for the management of arthritis, bronchial asthma, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents: Orally for the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis

Uses described in traditional medicine: Treatment of abdominal pain, asthma, coughs, dysentery, fever, jaundice, kidney stones, pimples, sores and stomach disorders. Also used as an antivenin and an emmenagogue

Analgesic activity

Intragastric administration of the gum at doses ranging from 100.0– 500.0mg/kg body weight (bw) had no analgesic effects in dogs, rabbits or rats (26–28). However, administration of a non-phenolic fraction of the crude drug produced analgesia in 60% of rats treated with a dose of 60.0 mg/kg bw. A dose of 150.0 mg/kg bw induced analgesia in 70% of rats. The degree of analgesia was comparable to a dose of 3–4.5 mg/ kg bw of morphine. A dose of 150.0 mg/kg bw also caused a 70% reduction in spontaneous motor activity that lasted for 2 hours

Anticomplementary activity

Boswellic acids exhibited anticomplementary activity in vitro, as assessed by the reduction of immune-induced haemolysis of antibody-coated sheep erythrocytes by pooled guinea-pig serum. The decrease in immune-induced haemolysis was due to inhibition of C3-convertase of the classical complement pathway. The threshold concentration for inhibiting C3-convertase was found to be 100.0 μg/ml

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Toxicology

The gestation period or parturition time in pregnant rats and the onset time of castor oil-induced diarrhoea were unaffected by the extract and no significant effect was seen on cardiovascular, respiratory and central nervous system functions. Intragastric administration of the crude drug to dogs, rabbits or rats, at a dose of 500.0 or 1000.0 mg/kg bw, did not have ulcerogenic effects. The oral and intraperitoneal median lethal doses were greater than 2.0 g/kg bw in mice and rats. Intragastric administration of the crude drug to monkeys (500.0 mg/kg bw), mice (2.0 g/kg bw) or rats (1.0 g/kg bw) for 6 months produced no observable behavioural, biochemical or histological abnormalities.

Reference

WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants; Volume 4, 2009

The Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia of India, Part I, Vol. IV. New Delhi, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy, 1999. Database on medicinal plants used in Ayurveda

New Delhi, Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, Department of ISM and H, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, 2000.

 Horhammer L, eds. Hagers Handbuch der pharmazeutischen Praxis, 4th ed. Berlin, Springer Verlag, 1975 [in German].

Bedevian AK. Illustrated polyglottic dictionary of plant names. Cairo, Medbouly Library, 1994.

Farnsworth NR, ed. NAPRALERT database. Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL (an online database available directly through the University of Illinois at Chicago or through the Scientific and Technical Network [STN] of Chemical Abstracts Services), 30 June 2005.

Nadkarni KM. Indian materia medica. Bombay, Popular Prakashan, 1954.

Kapoor LD. Handbook of Ayurvedic medicinal plants. Boca Raton, CRC Press, 1990.

Hahn-Deinstrop E, Koch A, Müller M. Guidelines for the assessment of the traditional herbal medicine olibanum by application of HPTLC and DESAGA ProViDoc video documentation. Journal of Planar Chromatography, 1998, 11:404–410.

Ganzera M, Khan IA. A reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography method for the analysis of boswellic acids in Boswellia serrata. Planta Medica, 2001, 67:778–780.

Hairfield EM, Hairfield HH Jr. McNair HM. GC, GC/MS, and TLC of B-boswellic acid and O-acetyl-B-boswellic acid from B. serrata, B. carteii and B. papyrifera. Journal of Chromatographic Science, 1989, 27:127–133.

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