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Boswellia for Crohn’s Disease and IBS
The resin of boswellia contains substances that may decrease inflammation and increase immune response.
Resins of Boswellia serrata contain boswellic acids such as acetyl-keto-β-boswellic acid which is a lipoxygenase inhibitor and may decrease inflammation and have anti-inflammatory properties . Boswellia supplements are produced from the resin of the tree containing carbohydrates, essential oils, and boswellic acids . Boswellia resins have been used in Europe (as frankincense) and in Ayurvedic medicine .
Boswellia extracts proved useful against collagenous colitis in one study but not others . A random double-blind control study showed Boswellia extracts to be useful in Crohn’s Disease but less efficacious than mesalamine. Another study found that 14 out of 20 people with Crohn’s disease who received boswellia supplements achieved remission. A study on children with Crohn’s Disease showed a diet including Boswellia was helpful in maintaining remission over several years. In a study in patients with chronic colitis, out of 20 patients treated with Boswellia gum resin, 18 patients showed an improvement, and Boswellia extracts were better than sulfasalazine for maintaining remission.
It is possible that Boswellia may be useful as a replacement for mesalamine and sulfasalazine in GI diseases, but its usefulness as an antioxidant may be of greater value.
My Experience with Boswellia
In my experience taking Boswellia over a 2 month period I did not notice any improvements or changes in my Crohns symptoms or reduction in my inflamation indicators in testing.
Looking at research, and anecdotally, Boswellia does seem to show improvements in some people with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases or IBS.
This would make sense to me, as the causes of these diseases are many factored and different in all individuals with these conditions, and therefore supplements helps will vary too. I think Boswelia is certainly worth trying, but for me it wasn’t successful in reducing disease/inflammation or controlling symptoms, unlike other supplements I take.
Boswellia is a natural extract, but it can still have side effects. It can potentially cause digestive side effects, such as nausea, acid reflux, and diarrhea.
Boswellia is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth for up to six months.
Some people may experience skin rashes and itching when using boswellia, particularly when applying it directly to the skin.
Because Boswellia may act as an anti-inflammatory, it may interact with similar drugs, such as NSAIDs. Boswellia may also interfere with the action of certain drugs, including some anticoagulant medications and antiplatelet drugs. It is important to talk to a doctor before taking boswellia alongside other medications.