Boswellia — Nature’s Anti-Inflammatory

The ancient herb boswellia has natural benefits similar to arthritis painkiller medicines but without harmful side effects. All of us want the pain to stop. We know it’s harmful to keep taking drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen or prescriptions that only mask the problem.

Clinically-proven boswellia extract is an anti-inflammatory alternative health medicine for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

My husband and I have successfully taken a supplement containing this natural herb for osteoarthritis pain relief since 2003. Not only does it significantly reduce pain, it promotes flexibility and comfortable movement even after overexertion.

What is boswellia?

Boswellia is a tree found in India known for its gum resin which has many pharmacological uses, particularly as an anti-inflammatory. It’s also known as Indian frankincense, salai guggal, and boswellin. Its proper botanic name is boswellia serrata.

As a side note, the Biblical incense frankincense was probably an extract from the resin of the tree, boswellia sacra.

Boswellia has been used for thousands of years to treat many types of conditions. Recent research has determined many of the conditions were caused by inflammation.

Modern science has demonstrated that boswellic acids contained within the resin can inhibit leukotrienes--harmful inflammatory eicosanoids responsible for inflammation in the body. Leukotrienes are thought to directly influence the disease process in a number of different disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

Clinical studies of boswellia serrata extract

The most convincing study for the beneficial affect of boswellia for osteoarthritis is a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial, Boswellia Serrata Supplement Human Research Update: Efficacy and tolerability in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee.

Published in Phytomedicine in January, 2003 this research examined thirty patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Half of the patients received daily supplementation with 333 mgs of boswellia. The other half received a placebo. After the first intervention, washout was given and then the groups were crossed over to receive the opposite intervention for eight weeks.

All patients receiving boswellia reported decrease in knee pain, increased knee flexion and increased walking distance. The frequency of swelling in the knee joint was decreased. Radiologically there was no change, meaning the disease had not progressed (there is no cure for arthritis; at best, one can hope to forestall progression).

The observed differences between boswellia-treated and placebo being statistically significant, were clinically relevant. Boswellia serrata extract was well tolerated by the subjects except for minor gastrointestinal symptoms.

Study conclusion: Boswellia serrata extract recommended for osteoarthritis and other arthritis types

The conclusions were: “Boswellia serrata extract is recommended in the patients of osteoarthritis of the knee with possible therapeutic use in other arthritis.”

Other boswellia studies have demonstrated its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Disease studies with good reports include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and bursitis.

Boswellia is recommended for rheumatoid arthritis. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it inhibits pro-inflammatory mediators in the body, such as leukotrienes. There are no known significant side effects. Long-term use of the herb, as opposed to NSAIDs, does not appear to cause irritation or ulceration of the stomach. Minor stomach discomfort is an occasional complaint.

Supplement industry has had history of unregulation until 2007

Between 1994 and 2007 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received tens of thousands of adverse event reports concerning issues with some dietary supplements. In response the FDA announced July, 2007 the final rule on the current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) ending 13 years without regulation of the dietary supplement industry.

The new rules require manufacturers to test the purity and composition of their products. They were promulgated in response to dietary supplement quality issues.

The cGMP standards were phased in over three years (large companies effective June, 2008, small companies June, 2009 and very small companies June 2010). Believe it or not, the new rules do not require pre-market testing of a product being marketed, nor clinical studies to prove that the product actually works!

Examples of problems the new regulations hope to prevent are:

  • dietary supplements that contain much more than listed (rarely occurred) on the label and may be harmful
  • dietary supplements that contain less ingredients (far more likely) than listed on the label (or no active ingredient at all)
  • wrong ingredient
  • drug contaminant
  • other contaminant (e.g., bacteria, pesticide, glass, lead, foreign material in a dietary supplement container)
  • improper packaging, and
  • mislabeled

Shop around for reputable brands made by large reputable companies

Dietary supplements that have no scientific research to validate that their effectiveness in the human body may be legally sold in the U.S..

Most companies do not do not clinically test because it's expensive to do so and it's not required. This means a significant percent of the dietary industry’s products currently for sale have been made with no clinical studies. That’s why it’s important to become a savvy consumer and shop around for reputable brands (usually made by large well-established companies).

The new FDA rules that test for ingredient purity are an improvement, but they lack “teeth” to regulate the industry the way the FDA regulates pharmaceuticals.

Industry’s new regulations do not address efficacy factor

Simply stated, the new FDA regulations don’t require dietary supplement companies to prove that their products work. Critics of the new cGMPS question a consumer’s lack of assurance that supplements containing boswellia, for example, are effective for the purpose of their purchase.

This lack of an efficacy factor has existed since 1994 within the dietary supplement industry. It continues today.

That’s why it’s important to choose a bowellia herb product carefully.

An explosion of public interest is occurring in using herbal supplements to treat arthritis and other diseases. This has flooded the market with new products by new manufacturers. At the same time, there’s interest in natural products among physicians and scientists.

Boswellia is well researched, effective and safe. It’s clear that a high quality, pure extract of this herb in a natural product can do the job, which begs the question:

How can you be sure that the product you buy is from a reputable company?

The industry gold standard is double-blind placebo-controlled studies

The single most important factor that separates a high quality dietary supplement company from the others is double-blind, placebo-controlled scientific studies by the company on its own products. Results of such testing can reasonably guarantee ingredient purity, potency, dose accuracy and efficacy for the product line.

In doing my own research, I prepared a list of 30 questions to help me find out if there’s a notable standard-bearer in the industry.

The answers led me only to Shaklee Corporation, founded in 1956—a recognized leader in the natural nutrition industry. From what I can tell, the science behind each of their products is second to none. They’ve invested more than $250 million in clinical testing, research and development and have over 90 published studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals—more than any other nutritional company!

Even before the cGMPs, Shaklee was voluntarily operating as if regulated the same as a pharmaceutical company. I believe that's a testament to their integrity.

Their natural products are reputed to be always safe, always works, always green.

Supplements that guarantee you’ll feel a difference

As a dietary supplement industry leader, Shaklee guarantees each product’s purity and potency will remain intact from manufacturing, to warehouse, to shipper, to you. They guarantee the effectiveness of each product, and guarantee you’ll experience a difference or your money back.

In 2003, they introduced three pain products, two of which feature boswellia extract. The first is a boswellia (1,000 mg) and safflower (150 mg) complex called Pain Relief Complex that my husband and I use for natural pain relief for just about any kind of pain, whether caused by arthritis or not. It's gentle on the stomach, contains no aspirin, and provides wonderful results. We actually use the product daily, because it's herbal and works better over time--continual use of the recommended dosage keeps all our pain in check. It also helps with inflamed joints from our osteoarthritis and improves our overall comfortable joint movement.

The second is a boswellia (1,500 mg) and glucsoamine (1,500 mg) complex called New Advanced Joint Health Complex that we use specifically for arthritis symptoms of mobility, flexibility, joint swelling, stiffness and overall function. It also promotes long-term joint health through a unique blend of key joint health nutrients: zinc, copper, manganese, and vitamin C – each playing a unique and critical role in building healthy connective collagen and cartilage*.

My husband has knee osteoarthritis and I have neck arthritis. My husband used to have extreme swelling, stiffness and aching of his knees every day, especially on days after playing tennis. He used over-the-counter pain killers all the time. Now he’s able to play tennis four times a week, and is completely off the anti-inflammatory drugs.

Featured natural supplements with boswellia extract

These two featured supplements offer complementary patent-pending combination of clinically-tested natural ingredients and contain no artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, or preservatives.

We’re very satisfied with the results because we have the safety of a natural remedy, not an arthritis pain relief medicine (drug). In our minds, we’ve found the best boswellia serrata supplements available. We don’t have to worry about ingredient purity and potency--we’ve chosen the best company we could find.

In lieu of NSAID medicines for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, I confidently recommend both of these Shaklee products. For price and ordering information, click on the links below:

Pain Relief Complex

New Advanced Joint Health Complex

And here's a short video link on how Advanced Joint Health Complex has been clinically shown to help joints feel better in less than 5 days.

See also this "pain trio" link.

< font>Disclaimer: Health statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Safflower. This plant’s properties reduce pain and inflammation and provide natural alternatives for joint discomfort. Click here for more about the safflower herb

Osteoarthritis Relief. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It affects joints of the knees, hips, fingers, lower spine and neck. Click here for more on osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief. Many of the natural or herbal supplements for osteoarthritis are also recommended for rheumatoid arthritis. Click here for RA natural treatment options

Herbal Pain Relief. Herbal pain relief supplements are popular complementary or alternative treatments used effectively for all symptoms of various types of arthritis. Click here for more on herbal pain relief.

Arthritis Products. Three safe natural products scientifically designed to fight pain and reduce dependency on pharmaceutical medicines. Each is unique for rapid relief and joint health...Click here for details

Glucosamine Hydrochloride. The first authentic natural helper to appear in arthritis treatment in years. As a nutritional supplement it’s thought to help repair damaged cartilage. Click here for more on glucosamine

Borage oil. Several studies confirm borage oil GLA, an omega 6 fatty acid, as an effective treatment for joint pain, stiffness and grip strength in RA patients, with few side effects. Click here for details

Fish Oil. Studies validate that fish oil supplements reduce joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and other arthritis types. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Click here for more information

Ashwagandha. Dietary supplements containing ashwagandha provide natural herbal stress relief without the side effects of drug treatments. Click here for more

Menthol. In an arthritis pain cream, menthol replaces the pain message with a cooling sensation in order to provide temporary relief from localized pain. Click here for more details

St. John’s Wort. Helps life spirits of arthritis sufferers as a natural alternative treatment for mild depression, anxiety or ....Click here for more

Valerian. Sleep well tonight with this safe herbal choice as a natural dietary supplement for insomnia relief, restlessness and anxiety. Click here for more information

Alfalfa. Known as the “father of all foods,” the alfalfa leaf contains a wide range of healing properties that help reduce arthritic pain, swelling and stiffness in joints. Click here for more on alfalfa’s benefits

Joint Pain Relief. Wouldn't it be great if you could have a drug-free future with no harmful side effects and have complete control over your joint pain? It's not a dream--all of this is.... Click here for more on natural joint pain relief

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