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Boswellia serrata (Frankincense) - from traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) to evidence-based medicine.

Boswellia Symposium in honour of the 75th birthday of Professor Dr. H.P.T. Ammon, Emeritus Department of Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Institute of the Eberhard-Karls University of Tubingen (Germany)

For thousands of years, frankincense has been used for medical purposes. In traditional Indian medicine, frankincense is an ingredient of medicine applied by diseases of the nervous system; frankincense was furthermore used for the therapy of different diseases of the gastro intestinal tract, and for gynecological purposes. In the spotlight of research are the anti-inflammatory effects of the boswellic acids, the most important properties of frankincense, which show the mentioned anti-inflammatory effects in different pharmacological target systems. The inhibition of various enzymes of the arachidonic acid cascade, among these the lipoxygenases and the cyclooxygenases, might be a possible target. Lyosomal proteases and other mediators of human organism like tumor cells or like leukocytes are also influenced by frankincense. In vitro, apoptosis of tumor cells could be successfully realized.

Clinical trials, partly pilot studies, showed the effectiveness of frankincense against diseases like rheumatism. inflammatory diseases of the gastro intestinal tract, asthma and even the treatment of edema in the case of brain tumors. Presently, the attention is also drawn to the external use of frankincense, e.g. in the case of inflammatory diseases of the skin like atopic dermatitis or psoriasis. Further clinical trials and research is needed to give solid proof of its effectiveness.

The following abstracts overview the latest results concerning oral and topical use of frankincense.

Carsten Dohling

University of Tubingen, Department of Pharmaceutical Technologie, Auf der

Morgenstelle 8, 72076 Tubingen, Germany

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Author:Dohling, Carsten
Publication:Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jun 1, 2008
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