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Chemistry and incense.

We became interested in incense and boswellic acids in 1996 through an article in "Schwabisches Tagblatt" where the research of Prof. Ammon was highlighted. At that time, I started independent scientific work at TU Munchen in the field of antiviral natural products. Our own research on boswellic acids had to wait until the antiviral project was almost finished. Up to this point, all researchers around the world isolated boswellic acids from incense according to a laborious procedure from Winterstein and Stein which dates back to 1932 and leads only to mg-amounts of AKBA. For elucidation of all the fascinating pharmacological activities, above all the anti-inflammatory effect, first a method had to be developed to prepare boswellic acids in large quantities. Thus, we developed our so-called "focussing synthesis" which makes use of all boswellic acids found in incense extracts. We simply convert all boswellic acids through well-known reactions into AKBA or any other boswellic acid and thus obtain e.g. 35 40% of AKBA, in comparison to the natural content of ca. 1%. With large quantities of AKBA in hand, we were able to chemically modify the parent molecule to find others with improved inflammatory activities. In cooperation with Prof. Dr. O. Werz, we elucidated other cellular targets for boswellic acids and synthesized new derivatives with exciting pharmacological activities. Parallel to our synthetic endeavours, we isolated new compounds from incense extracts, which also show interesting pharmacological effects.

J. Jauch

Organische Chemie II, University of Saarland,

66041 Saarbrucken, Germany

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Author:Jauch, J.
Publication:Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jun 1, 2008
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