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
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.
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.
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.