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Boswellia serrata is a tree native to India, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. It is commonly used in the traditional Indian medicine system, Ayurveda.

Boswellia serrata contains chemicals that might decrease swelling and increase the body's immune response. Extracts of the Boswellia serrata sap, bark, and other plant parts have been taken by mouth for therapeutic purposes.

People use Boswellia serrata for osteoarthritis. It is also used for many other purposes, including asthma, diabetes, and stroke, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses. There is also no good evidence to support using Boswellia serrata for COVID-19.

The sap from Boswellia serrata is sometimes used to make Frankincense. Frankincense is typically applied to the skin or inhaled as aromatherapy. For information on those uses, see Frankincense.

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
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  • Osteoarthritis.  Oral Boswellia serrata extracts, taken alone or in combination with other ingredients, appear to reduce pain and improve function in osteoarthritis. However, most clinical studies have been small and methodologically flawed.
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When taken by mouth: Boswellia serrata is likely safe for most adults. Boswellia serrata extract has been used safely in doses up to 1000 mg daily for up to 6 months. It usually doesn't cause major side effects. But some people have reported stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, heartburn, and itching.

For information on using Boswellia serrata on the skin or as aromatherapy, see Frankincense.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Boswellia serrata is likely safe when used in amounts commonly found in foods. But there isn't enough reliable information to know if Boswellia serrata is safe to use in larger amounts as medicine when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

There are no known interactions with medications. Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

There are no known interactions with foods.

Boswellia serrata has most often been used by adults in doses of 100-250 mg by mouth daily, for up to 6 months. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

For information on using Boswellia serrata on the skin or as aromatherapy, see Frankincense.

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