As more and more people learn about the benefits of Boswellia and Turmeric, the number of companies that produce these herbs increases. Yet, not all Boswellia and Turmeric products are created equal. To make sure you get the best value for your money, make sure to read this article before you buy!
Boswellia is an herbal supplement taken to relieve pain. It is extracted from gum resin collected from trees in India known as "frankincense". The active ingredient in Boswellia is called boswellic acid which has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. The gum resin is put into a variety of brands and sold to people all over the world, including Canada (Evergreen Health and Herbal Research). It is sold as a dietary supplement to those looking for relief from arthritis, muscular pain, inflammatory bowel disease, fibromyalgia, cold and flu symptoms as well as those who suffer from headaches.
Turmeric comes from the root of a plant called Curcuma longa. It also contains an ingredient called curcumin. Curcumin is a well-known anti-inflammatory agent which helps to ease pain and reduce the swelling associated with arthritis. It has also been said to help prevent and/or slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV, and other inflammatory conditions. Turmeric is also used to reduce swelling in some cancers such as breast cancer (Herb Infusions).
What most people don't know is that these two ingredients when used together can have even more potent effects than when they are used separately. The combination of Boswellia and Turmeric is often referred to as the "Indian gum resin" or "healing gum". It contains equal amounts of Boswellia and Turmeric (about 1%-5% per formula).
The combination of these two herbs was first discovered by Dr. Shanti S. Bhanawat, MD in India, when she noticed a major difference in the outcome of her patients who had suffered from arthritis for years. After reviewing the medical literature, Dr. Bhanawat noticed that Boswellia and Turmeric were often used together as a toothache relief remedy or to relieve inflammation due to rheumatism or menstrual cramps (Indian Science Portal).
The gum resin and turmeric combination is being studied by scientists to determine what makes this combination so powerful. They have found that boswellic acid helps to inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory mediators by suppressing the activity of NF-kB, a protein complex that activates transcription and expression of stress-responsive genes. When boswellic acid is combined with curcumin; even greater results are achieved.
Curcumin has been found to inhibit the expression of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2), an enzyme associated with inflammation that is often over-expressed in rheumatoid arthritis. According to Dr. Bhanavat, even more research needs to be conducted on how these two ingredients interact when used in combination with one another (Indian Science Portal).
Dr. Bhanawat has spent a great deal of her personal time researching and treating autoimmune disorders. As a result, she came to the conclusion that both Boswellia and Curcumin work synergistically together to help reduce symptoms for arthritis, rheumatism, and other inflammatory conditions.
In Dr. Bhanawat's study on arthritic patients who had been taking the Turmeric and Boswellia gum resin for at least three months, they were able to eliminate their pain and improve their quality of life in only one month by using this combination (Indian Science Portal).
Still, there are a number of conditions that either do not respond to these natural remedies or become worse when taken in this fashion. The following are two such conditions:
Gout: Gout is caused by inflammation in the joints, and it is characterized by acute pain, swelling, redness, heat, and sometimes fever (High Blood Pressure Research). Although this condition responds to the usual anti-inflammatory drugs you would use for arthritis; taking Boswellia serrata gum resin along with curcumin has been shown to significantly reduce the severity of symptoms within four weeks without affecting blood pressure levels or bone mineral density (Indian Science Portal).
Gout is caused by inflammation in the joints, and it is characterized by acute pain, swelling, redness, heat, and sometimes fever (High Blood Pressure Research). Although this condition responds to the usual anti-inflammatory drugs you would use for arthritis; taking Boswellia serrata gum resin along with curcumin has been shown to significantly reduce the severity of symptoms within four weeks without affecting blood pressure levels or bone mineral density (Indian Science Portal).
Bronchitis: This chronic inflammation of the small airways is often accompanied by a cough. It occurs more frequently in smokers than in nonsmokers, and it usually occurs after exposure to cold weather or to damp conditions. Fly-strike, which is caused by the egg hatch of the blowfly, can occur in hens and roosters or other poultry but is most common in pullets. Sheep are most commonly affected by strikes on the face, ears, and nasal area. Fly-strike is also seen in dogs, but it most commonly occurs around the anus.
The clinical signs of fly-strike are depression and lethargy, weight loss, ataxia, reluctance to move and discharge from the eyes and nose. Therapy with Turmeric is often used to treat this condition (Fly Strike In Sheep).
Contraindications: There are a few contraindications for people with conditions such as Gout or who have been diagnosed with Bronchitis. If you have been diagnosed with Gout, then it is not recommended that you use this product. It can lead to a worsening of symptoms or cause damage to the joints (High Blood Pressure Research).
Fly-strike is most common in young animals that are under stress or those who have an inadequate supply of feed and water. Treatment for fly-strike involves washing the affected areas with a mild solution of either Aqueous Cream or Chlorhexidine, in order to remove some of the accumulated grime and dead skin. The animal should then be treated with systemic antibiotics. A special dressing consisting of an absorbent pad enclosed in a waterproof covering should then be applied to the affected area (Fly Strike In Sheep).
Turmeric has been studied for use in several conditions:
In 2000, a study by two Indian scientists found that turmeric is effective at preventing the buildup of plaque and reducing cholesterol (turmeric.com). More recently, another study has shown that turmeric can maintain good liver function in those with type II diabetes and added to the diet to reduce insulin resistance (Journal of Nutritional Science).
In addition, turmeric is used as an analgesic for many kinds of pain including joint pain (Indian Science Portal), as an antibacterial on the skin (Journal of Nutritional Science), and as an anti-inflammatory agent for those suffering from arthritis or osteoarthritis. It is also helpful for those dealing with the pain and swelling of bursitis (turmeric.com).
Turmeric has been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it is very effective for those with arthritis or rheumatism. It also contains an ingredient called curcumin, which helps to inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory mediators by suppressing the activity of NF-kB, a protein complex that activates transcription and expression of stress-responsive genes (Indian Science Portal).
Turmeric has been found to inhibit the expression of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2), an enzyme associated with inflammation that is often over-expressed in rheumatoid arthritis (Indian Science Portal). The acetylcholine hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease (ACh) is the theory that cholinergic mechanisms are critical for normal cognitive function and ACh deficiency contributes to cognitive decline. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests this theory may not be relevant for all cases of ACh deficiency, especially in the majority of patients with early-onset dementia (Indian Science Portal).
Turmeric has also been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the central nervous system. It is effective in reducing joint swelling and other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints (June Holistic Health).
Boswellia Serrata Gum Resin Extract has been used for centuries to treat a number of inflammatory conditions. A recent study looked at the effects of this herb on patients with arthritis and concluded that it was effective when combined with curcumin.
Curcumin has many properties that are beneficial to people as well as various health conditions. It can act as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiviral, and it is also a metal chelator (Indian Science Portal). There is a direct correlation between the amount of curcumin in turmeric and that in the blood. Since curcumin is not readily absorbed by the gut, it is necessary to increase its bioavailability by using piperine (Indian Science Portal).
Recent research has shown that piperine appears to enhance the bioavailability of curcumin even more than it enhances that of many drugs (June Holistic Health).
Turmeric and its active ingredient, curcumin, have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties in studies on rats with arthritis. Curcumin has been found to effectively alleviate the disease without adverse side effects, as compared to those seen with common anti-arthritic drugs (Indian Science Portal).
In addition, the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric have been shown in humans, and the most common finding is that it reduced the severity of pain associated with arthritis. The effect was seen with less medication being needed in those people who took turmeric (Indian Science Portal).
Curcumin also helps to decrease the production of prostaglandins, which can cause inflammation in bones, joints, and connective tissue. Since many people suffer from osteoarthritis as they age, this is always a benefit. In addition, curcumin has also been found to be helpful for skin conditions such as psoriasis (Indian Science Portal).
In the Journal of Nutritional Science, a study was done on patients with type II diabetes and found that the curcuminoids in turmeric had an added benefit if used in conjunction with an anti-diabetic. This combination is believed to work by stimulating the body's natural antioxidant system, thereby improving circulation and preventing further damage to blood vessels (Indian Science Portal).
A recent study found that due to its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin may be effective for preventing Alzheimer's dementia. It may also be effective for treating people who have Type II diabetes (June Holistic Health). In addition, curcumin has been proven to diminish memory impairment in rats with brain injury (Indian Science Portal).
Benefits of Boswellia and turmeric may include:
-Reducing inflammation in joints and muscles
-Maintaining good liver function in those with type II diabetes
-Helping those with osteoarthritis to tolerate pain and stiffness, and to reduce joint swelling.
-May help those who have psoriasis, a skin condition that causes scaly patches on the skin. It may also help relieve skin irritation from eczema or acne. May have an anti-inflammatory effect on the central nervous system (Indian Science Portal). Mast cells are the major mediators of allergic reactions in humans and rats. It also reduces chronic inflammation, which is why it can be helpful for those who suffer from arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis (Indian Science Portal).
-May help those with Alzheimer's dementia.
-May help to diminish the risk of injury in athletes.
-May help to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
-May be effective for treating skin conditions such as psoriasis (Indian Science Portal). This herb may also be effective in treating acne and eczema and stimulating hair growth (Indian Science Portal). In addition, boswellia has been shown to stimulate hair growth, which is why it is used to treat baldness and alopecia (Indian Science Portal).
-May help to reduce the symptoms of asthma (Indian Science Portal).
Boswellia and Curcumin for Cancer
Boswellia is known to have anti-cancer properties (Indian Science Portal). In one study with rats, it was found that Boswellia had a positive effect on preventing the growth of tumors by up to 58% (Indian Science Portal). Other studies showed that Boswellia had positive results in preventing the growth of tumors by 60 to 70 percent, helping it save up to 90 percent of otherwise fatal tumors (Indian Science Portal).
The curcuminoids in turmeric are believed to be effective at fighting cancer (Indian Science Portal). In 2007, scientists studied the effect of curcumin on cancer cell lines derived from human breast and colon cancers (Indian Science Portal). The cells were seen to have an improved ability to repair themselves after being damaged. Those that were treated with curcumin were seen to experience less damage to their DNA, allowing them to repair the damage more effectively than untreated cells.
In one study with rats, it was found that turmeric extracts had a positive effect on preventing the growth of spontaneous tumors by 60 - 70%, helping it save up to 90% of otherwise fatal tumors (Indian Science Portal). In other tests, turmeric extracts were found to show positive results in preventing the growth of tumors by up to 58% (Indian Science Portal).
In laboratory tests, curcumin has been found to be effective at slowing the spread of cancer in human cancers. It is believed to have a positive effect on the growth of cancer cells, which means that it will slow cancer down (Indian Science Portal).
Curcumin may also be effective for patients with breast cancer that has spread to the bones. It is known to have anti-angiogenic properties, which means that it can prevent blood vessels from forming around the tumors (Indian Science Portal). Since tumor cells require blood flow in order to survive, this makes curcumin an effective treatment.
For those with Colorectal Cancer, curcumin may be effective for reducing inflammation and preventing new cells from growing in the tumors. It may also reduce the spread of cancer by stopping cancer cells from migrating (Indian Science Portal).
In addition, curcumin has been found to help prevent the spread of breast cancer by inhibiting angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels around tumors (Indian Science Portal). Curcumin may also help to slow down cancerous cells by stopping them from multiplying in a number of ways. It does this by stopping cells from reproducing, which may lead to cancer cell death (Indian Science Portal).
Does Boswellia help asthma?
Boswellia may be useful in treating asthma, by blocking the production of inflammatory substances that cause asthma (Indian Science Portal). In one study, it was found that boswellia had a positive effect on reducing the production of inflammatory substances in those with asthma. It was also found to have a positive effect on the symptoms of those with asthma, including headaches (Indian Science Portal). Boswellia was also found to be effective at reducing inflammation at mucous membranes. Inflammation can be a symptom of many health conditions and causes undue pain and discomfort.
In an Indian study, researchers examined the effects of boswellia on the bronchi in patients with mild to moderate asthma. It was found that boswellia had a positive effect on reducing inflammation in the bronchi, leading to improved breathing capacity and fewer symptoms of asthma (Indian Science Portal).
Another study examined the effects of boswellia on asthma patients by looking at airway function and lung toxicity (Indian Science Portal). It was found that boswellia had a positive effect on improving lung function in those who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (which can be caused by chronic conditions such as asthma or smoking), with no side effects on lung function or airway toxicity. In addition, it also found positive results by reducing the level of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is believed to be a cause of many diseases, and is responsible for cell damage.
Boswellia may also help to reduce airway constriction in those with asthma, by reducing the intensity of bronchoconstriction (Indian Science Portal).
How does turmeric help arthritis?
In animal tests, curcumin has been found to have a positive effect on muscles, joints and tendons (Indian Science Portal). In addition, it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that could help to reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. It can be taken as a supplement for those suffering from arthritis, or can be used topically to ease pain in other parts of the body.
Other studies have found that curcumin can be effective at treating arthritis. It was found to have significant benefits in a study with mice, which included reducing all the symptoms of arthritis. As well as this, it was shown to have a positive effect on the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis (Indian Science Portal).
In human trials, curcumin was found to be effective at treating osteoarthritis. Those who administered curcumin in supplement form were also given injections of chondroitin sulfate, another substance that is commonly used for treating osteoarthritis (Indian Science portal). The study found that both forms of treatment led to significant improvements in the condition (Indian Science Portal). Researchers believe that the combination of these two substances is more effective than either one alone.
Boswellia and Turmeric for dogs and cats
For human use, Boswellia is used for reducing and healing inflammation in the joints, including osteoarthritis. It has also been known to help with inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions such as IBS (Indian Science Portal).
In a study done on dogs with osteoarthritis, it was found that Boswellia was effective at reducing pain and inflammation in the animals. The results were seen in just two weeks (June Holistic Health). In addition, Boswellia has also been found to help with essential tremors by stopping the overproduction of acetylcholine at the junctions of nerve cells (Indian Science Portal).
It is common for dog and cat owners to make their pets take turmeric supplements, but it should be noted that turmeric has some negative side effects on dogs and cats. These include an irritated stomach in dogs and cats because of the negative reaction to bile (Indian Science Portal).
In addition, turmeric can cause kidney failure in dogs, resulting in proteinuria, which is abnormal levels of protein in the urine (Indian Science Portal). For this reason, people should consult with a veterinarian before taking turmeric for any animal. It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to the health of a pet.
Turmeric, however, has no side effects in rats, and therefore safe for humans to take with little worry about negative reactions (Indian Science Portal). The effects of turmeric on guinea pigs were assessed by giving them curcumin and examining several functions including the general condition of the animal (June Holistic Health). The researchers found that turmeric had a positive effect on liver function, leading to improved body weight in guinea pigs.
Feline hepatic lipidosis is an accumulation of fat in the liver which can lead to liver failure. Turmeric has been found to be beneficial in increasing the level of a substance that breaks down fat in the liver, which leads to fewer fats in the body (Indian Science Portal).
It can also help strengthen immune function in cats. Since turmeric contains curcumin, it may be effective for skin conditions such as acne and dandruff (Indian Science Portal).
In addition, turmeric has been proven to increase the amount of good bile produced by the liver, and this leads to fewer toxins being created (Indian Science Portal). In humans, it is found that supplementation with turmeric and curcumin helps reduce cholesterol levels.