Boswellia, Indian Olibanum tree, Sallaki (Sanskrit) - Boswellia Serrata (Burseraceae)

Medicinal Use of Boswellia, Indian Olibanum, Sallaki (Sanskrit) – Boswellia Serrata (Burseraceae)


Deciduous tree, growing to about 49 ft (15 m), with pale papery bark, compound leaves, and clusters of small white flowers. The gum resin exudes from the bark and is transparent gold in color.

Habitat & Cultivation

Boswellia grows in dry, hilly regions of central and northern India.

Parts Used

Gum resin, bark.


Boswellia contains triterpene acids (including beta-boswellic acid), essential oil, terpenols, monosaccharides, uronic acids, sterols, and tannins.

History & Folklore

Boswellia, a close relative of frankincense (B. sacra), has been used for many thousands of years as an astringent and anti-inflammatory.

Medicinal Actions & Uses

Boswellia makes an effective mouthwash and gargle, the antiseptic and astringent resin helping to heal and tighten inflamed mucous membranes. Sore throat, laryngitis, canker sores, and gum disease will all benefit. Boswellia is also markedly anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic. This makes it potentially useful in chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and psoriasis. Other conditions that may benefit include gout, asthma, hay fever, and nettle rash.


Research into Boswellia is ongoing and has expanded in recent years. Clinical trials (mostly in India and Germany) indicate that Boswellia counteracts inflammation in conditions such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. The majority of trials noted that symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and poor grip strength all improved. There is increasing evidence that Boswellia has marked pain-relieving activity, and that it promotes stable blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.