Read on for more fascinating details on boswellia!
It’s not every day that scientists discover a natural source that fights inflammation as well as NSAIDs–much less one that exceeds them. Yet that’s exactly what scientists are discovering about Boswellia serrata.
Importantly, Boswellia extracts achieve these benefits without the damaging side effects caused by NSAIDs. This is because Boswelllia extracts appear to have several entirely different mechanisms of action than NSAIDs.
NSAIDs prevent inflammation by inhibiting an enzyme called COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2). The problem is that in the process, they also block COX-1, which is needed to maintain a healthy stomach lining. This is one of the primary causes of NSAID toxicity.
Boswellia extracts work differently than NSAIDs because they inhibit different enzymes involved in the inflammation process. COX-2 is involved in converting arachidonic acid into an inflammatory signaling molecule known as prostaglandin E2. In stead of inhibiting COX, Boswellic acids, most prominently one called AKBA, work by inhibiting the enzyme 5-LOX (5-lipoxygenase), thereby reducing the biosynthesis of inflammatory signaling molecules known as leukotrienes.
In addition to inhibiting 5-LOX, boswellic acids have been found to inhibit inflammation at a number of other points of action in the development of inflammation:
- Components of Boswellia, including a compound called incensole acetate, have been shown to regulate inflammatory responses at a very high level by inhibiting the master inflammatory regulatory complex, NF-kappaB. Reducing NF-kappaB is an efficient means of slowing the onslaught of chronic inflammation throughout the body.
- Incensole acetate is also credited with robust neuroprotection, at least in animal models of brain trauma, and has been shown to have antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and other beneficial behavioral effects in animals.
- Boswellia extracts inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines and mediators such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a), interleukin 1 beta (IL-1-b), and interleukin-6 (IL-6).
- Boswellia extracts have also been demonstrated to produce a marked down-regulation of interferon-gamma (NF-g), an activator of inflammatory T-lymphocytes.
Thanks to Life Extension Magazine for this important article…