Boswellic acids (BAs), which are pentacyclic triterpenes, belong to the active pharmacological compounds of the oleogum resin of different Boswellia species, the main one being Boswellia serrata. The anti-inflammatory actions of BAs are caused by different mechanisms of action. They includeinhibition of leukotriene synthesis, and to a lesser extent, prostaglandin synthesis. They also inhibit the complement system. Additionally, a major target of BAs is the immune system, where the BAs have been shown to decrease the production of proinflammatory cytokines (substances that destroy tissue such as cartilage, insulin-producing cells, and others). There are a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases which respond to treatment with extracts from the resin of Boswellia species.
Although the number of cases is small in the related clinical studies that demonstrate the positive effects of Boswellia species, their results are convincing and supported by the preclinical data. These studies include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, colitis, and others. While it can’t be expected that Boswellia will produce a cure for any of these diseases, they can at least provide improvement of symptoms in about60-70 % of the cases. The number and severity of side effects of Bs has been shown to be extremely low. 2016 “Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27671822/
In 2011 scientists discovered 2 “new” enzymes as the possible molecular targets for Boswellia, and opined that while further clinical and pharmacological investigations were warranted, “Boswellia serrata was a promising alternative to NSAID’s.
”2011 “Clinical Pharmacokinetics” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21553931/
More recently, a 2014 study determined, by evaluating the antioxidant and antiarthritic activity of Boswellia serrata in collagen induced arthritis in rats, that “the protective effect of Boswellia serrata extract on arthritis in rats might be mediated via the modulation of immune system.” The Boswellia was effective in bringing significant changes on all the parameters studied, as well as significantly reducing the levels of inflammatory mediators. The protective effects of Boswellia were also evident from the decrease in arthritis scoring and bone histology. "2014“Phytomedicine” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24667331/