Q. Dear Terry, “I’ve been taking boswellia for my arthritis and it’s really been helping. I recently read an article that referred to boswellia as frankincense. I’m confused – should I be taking boswellia or frankincense?” — Randi C., Jefferson City, MO
A. Dear Randi, The boswellia tree creates a precious resin long used in perfumes and natural medicines. Oil produced from this resin is called frankincense oil. The resin can also be processed into an extract that can be used in supplements. There are over 20 species of boswellia and each species produces a slightly different medicine. Frankincense can come from any boswellia tree, but boswellia extracts can vary greatly in the medicinal properties they possess. The majority of clinical research has been on Boswellia serrata, which I believe is the most medicinal of the boswellia species, when it comes to oil or extract.
For frankincense oil, I recommend a supercritical CO2 extract. This process works by preserving sensitive plant constituents and avoiding the risk of biologically active components being destroyed by oxidation and heat.
When choosing a boswellia extract, I believe an extract standardized for AKBA is essential. There is another compound in boswellia that is actually pro-inflammatory, which is called beta-boswellic acid (BBA). The boswellia extract I recommend is standardized to high levels of AKBA and virtually free of BBA.
I would continue to take boswellia either by itself, or in combination with frankincense oil (from B. serrata) that is indicated for internal use, on a daily basis.
Terry . . . Naturally
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