AOR Maxi-Boz II Boswellia Serrata Research
There are many medicinal plants of great therapeutic value referred to in the ancient treatment system of Ayurveda. One particular plant of much repute is resin of the tree Boswellia serrata (BSE), or Frankincense, which the Ayurved materia medica claimed to have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties. Pharmacological properties include: Anti-inflammatory Activity Ethanolic extracts of the resin demonstrated reduced carrageenan-induced paw edema in normal rats and mice as well as in adrenalectomized rats. Further, extracts showed anti-arthritic activity in formaldehyde and adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats and BSA-induced arthritis in the rabbit. In addition, the researchers found the above extract to be more beneficial, less toxic and more potent than the standard drug of choice, Ketoprofen, a widely used prescriptive Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
More recently, a number of researchers have identified the anti-inflammatory activity of the ethanolic extracts of the resin to be due to Boswellic Acids, in particular the alpha and beta isomers. Recently, a more purified compound standardized for 65% Boswellic Acids has shown potent anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activity without any of the adverse effects (e.g. gastro-intestinal, CNS and cardiovascular). A study including 70 patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee has demonstrated the positive effects of Boswellic acids in humans. These patients received either 100mg or 250mg of boswellic acid containing extract, or a placebo, daily for 90 days. Patients receiving either dose of boswellic acids demonstrated significant improvements in both pain and functional ability of the knee joint. Even more impressive is that patients receiving the 250mg dose showed these improvements as early as 7 days following the start of treatment and required other pain medication 72% less often than patients taking placebos.
The mechanism of action of Boswellic Acids is similar to the action of NSAIDs. Prostaglandins and leukotrienes are two classes of arachidonic acid-derived mediators of inflammation. Leukotrienes, for which 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOx) is the key enzyme in synthesis, are considered to be involved in the initiation and maintenance of various inflammatory diseases, for example arthritis, Crohn`s disease, ulcerative colitis, asthma etc. Boswellic Acids are potent inhibitors of 5-lipooxygenase product, including 5-hydroxyeiconatetraenoic acid (5HETE), and leukotriene B4 (LTB4), which cause: bronchoconstriction, chemotaxis, and increased vascular permeability.
Other anti-inflammatory plant constituents, such as quercetin, also block this enzyme, but they do so in a more general fashion, as an antioxidant, whereas Boswellia seems to be a specific inhibitor of 5-LOx. It is known that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause a disruption of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) synthesis that can accelerate the articular damage in arthritic conditions. A recent in-vivo study examined BSE and ketoprofen for their effects on glycosaminoglycan metabolism. BSE significantly reduced the degeneration of GAGs compared to controls, whereas ketoprofen caused a reduction in total tissue GAG content. Boswellic acids have also been shown to decrease the prevalence of matrix metalloproteinases in the synovial fluid. These enzymes are often over expressed in osteoarthritis patients, and have been implicated in the degredation of cartilage in the joints. In addition, Boswellic Acids inhibited antibody production, as well as infiltration of polymorphonuclear leucocytes, thereby reducing inflammatory effect. In conclusion there is considerable research to support the highly beneficial properties of standardized Boswellic Acids in inflammatory conditions.
Anti-complement Activity BSE also demonstrated a marked inhibitory effect on both the classical and alternate complement systems. Analgesic Activity An investigation of BSE`s analgesic and psychopharmacologic effects noted that it "was found to exhibit marked sedative and analgesic effects" in animals. Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Leukotrienes are suggested to play a role in the inflammatory process of ulcerative colitis (UC). BSE 350mg three times a day was comparable to sulfasalazine (at 1g three times a day), a standard prescriptive drug in UC.
Other biological activities BSE has also been observed to inhibit human leukocyte elastase (HLE), which may be involved in the pathogenesis of emphysema. HLE also stimulates mucus secretion and thus may play a role in cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis, and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
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