Boswellia Extract (Boswellia serrata)

Boswellia Extract (Boswellia serrata)

Introduction

Boswellia is the gummy resin of the boswellia tree. It is native to India and used for centuries by Ayurvedic doctors. It is an Ayurvedic plant that contains anti-inflammatory terpenoids called boswellic acids.

Local Names: Guggal, Salai Guggal, Sallaki

Plant Anatomy

Boswellia Serrata is a medium sized tree with ash coloured papery bark. The leaves are like neem plant and have small white flowers

Cultivation, Conservation & Preservation

It is tapped from the incision made on the trunk of the tree, which is then stored in specially made bamboo basket.

The semi-solid gum-resin is allowed to remain in the basket for about a month during which its fluid content locally known as ‘ras’ keeps flowing out. The residue, semi-solid to solid part, is the gum-resin which hardens slowly into amorphous, tear-shaped products with an aromatic scent.

Then, it is broken into small pieces by wooden mallet or chopper and during this process all impurities including bark pieces etc. are removed manually.

The gum-resin is then graded according to its flavour, colour, shape and size. Generally four grades i.e. Superfine, Grade I, Grade II and Grade III are available in the market. The fresh gum obtained from the tree is hot with pleasant flavour and slightly bitter in taste.

Bark yields gum of quality after 8 years. A mature tree yields about 1-1.5 kg of gum a year. It is said to be a good substitute for imported guggal.

Location

It  is a moderate to large sized branching tree that grows in dry mountainous regions of India, Northern Africa and the Middle East.

In India, the main commercial sources of Boswellia serrata are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

Chemical constituents

The oleo gum-resins contain 30-60% resin, 5-10% essential oils, which are soluble in the organic solvents, and the rest is made up of polysaccharides.

The gum resin of Boswellia serrata contains three triterpenic acids known as α, β,γ Boswellic acids, ursan type compound with pentacyclic triterpens

The terpenoid portion contains the boswellic acids that have been shown to be the active constituents in boswellia. Today, extracts are typically standardized to contain 37.5–65% boswellic acids. 

Uses

  • It is an ayurvedic herb that has been traditionally used in India in folk medicine as a remedy for several inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis and bursitis.
  • Largely used as incense because of its very unique fragrance.
  • Boswellia has been shown to be as effective and, in many cases, better than drugs like Phenylbutazone and other anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Boswellia Serrata Gum Resin is the only non-coniferous source of turpentine and resin in India.
  • Widely used in ayurvedic formulations for treating Asthma and Arthritis.
  • The oil obtained from the resin is used for skin disorders, anti-fungal activity.
  • The extract of gum resin has been demonstrated to possess anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory activity.  It also found to exhibit sedative and analgesic effects.
     

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