Indian Frankincense (Boswellia) 11 Magical Health Benefits & Risks

Indian Frankincense (Boswellia) 11 Magical Health Benefits & Risks

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Indian frankincense is a symbol of holiness and righteousness.

Indian frankincense or Salai, referred to in Sanskrit as shallaki, is also known as ‘Indian olibanum’, ‘Indian frankincense’, ‘dhup’ and ‘salai’ or ‘salai guggul’ is found in Eastern India 

Frankincense has been traded on the Arabian Peninsula for more than 6,000 years. Frankincense is a symbol of holiness and righteousness. The gift of frankincense to the Christ child was symbolic of his readiness to become a sacrifice, wholly giving himself up, analogous to a burnt offering. 

Boswellia is a tree that is original to India, Africa, and Arabia. It is commonly used in traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda. 

Botanical Name: Boswellia serrata 

The Indian Frankincense is of interest medicinally, it comes from the Boswellia tree (B. Serrata), a large tree that grows in the dry, mountainous regions of India.

The Indian Frankincense is collected twice a year (March and June), the cuts in the trees are made months beforehand. Each tree can give about 1kg of gum resin each year.

Boswellia is taken by mouth for brain injury, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, swelling of the fluid-filled pads in the joints (bursitis), and swelling of tendons (tendonitis), ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, and abdominal pain. It is used for asthma, hay fever, sore throat, syphilis, painful menstruation, pimples, bruises, headache, diabetes, and cancer. 

Boswellia is also used as a stimulant, to increase urine flow, and for stimulating menstrual flow, etc. 

Health Benefits

Natural cure for rheumatoid arthritis

The gum resin extract of this herb is rich in anti-inflammatory properties. Boswellic acid present in Boswellia prevents healthy tissues from breaking down. Thus, it harnesses the inflammation and pain experienced due to rheumatoid arthritis. 

Studies suggest that this is one of the most sought after rheumatoid arthritis drug, next to the NSAID. 

This herb is an effective cure for osteoarthritis. Various studies have been conducted on the efficiency of shallaki and Cox-2 inhibitors. 

As per the study, it was revealed that even though it required a longer duration for the herb to work effectively, the results lasted even after the herb was discontinued. 

Conclusion: Frankincense has the quality to cure joint pain like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. 


Boswellia serrata has been directly connected to reducing inflammation in the gut, which is the cause of many digestive problems, from Irritable Bowel Syndrome to constipation and stomach upset. 

By eliminating this inflammation, thanks to boswellic acid, nutrient uptake efficiency can be improved and symptoms of diarrhea, bloating and cramping can be relieved, in addition to a lower risk of colorectal cancer and gastric ulcers. 

Conclusion: Frankincense promotes your digestion. 

Skin care

Skin conditioner: Usage of Frankincense floral water can act as a skin conditioner if you used externally. Regular use of this natural conditioner can leave your skin soft and smooth. 

Scar reduction: A blemish-free skin is a dream for many. Frankincense can help in fading away acne, surgery marks, stretch marks and other types of scars from the skin, making your dream a reality. 

Regeneration of skin: Frankincense can reduce wrinkles and fine lines by regenerating healthy skin cells. The use of this sap can keep you looking as young as feel in your heart! This is considered to be the best Frankincense skin care benefit. 

Strengthen fingernails: Application of frankincense on fingernails can strengthen weak or brittle and delicate fingernails. 

Anti infection: Frankincense, being a disinfectant, can be used to clean wounds or cuts, making way for quicker healing without leaving scars behind. 

Cures warts: Application of frankincense to warts twice a day for a couple of weeks can show a gradual cure. 

Conclusion: A drop of frankincense oil has the ability to quicker healing. 

Hair care

Cures dandruff: Almost all essential oils, including frankincense, can provide relief from dandruff if used regularly.

Gives shiny hair: You can use only frankincense oil to get hair that shines with health. You can use these two as a styling gel and get amazing results. 

Stops hair fall: Frankincense oil is known to make the hair roots stronger, putting a stop to hair fall and giving way to healthier hair. 

Conclusion: Frankincense works as a natural shampoo and conditioner for hair and makes hair stronger and longer. 

Pain management

Joint pains and other pains caused due to inflammation can be relieved using frankincense oil. 

Muscular Pain: Frankincense helps in circulating blood to the affected area and helps in relieving muscular pains. It is mainly helpful for people suffering from rheumatism 

Back Pain Relief: Lifting heavy weights, pregnancy, bad posture — all these can cause severe back pain. If you are suffering from back pain, you can get relief with the application of frankincense oil on the affected area. 

Conclusion: Frankincense work as a pain killer for all pain. 

Stress reliever

Stress has a part and parcel of modern living. But you can use frankincense oil as perfume or apply it to the temple, whichever is convenient, to get relief from stress. 

Regular application of one to two drops of frankincense oil on the temples and back of the neck can improve one’s concentration. Studies suggest that this herb can be used to pep up the concentration and intelligence levels. Thus, it acts as a tonic for the brain. 

Frankincense oil is also used to treat depression since it contains sesquiterpenes. These sesquiterpenes stimulate the limbic system present in the brain – the penial, pituitary glands, and the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the master gland that produces several important hormones, such as growth hormones and thyroid. 

Conclusion: Frankincense is work as a brain tonic so it relieves stress and depression and improves your concentration power. 

Visual problem

Though it makes the eyes water, the application of frankincense around the eyes, cheekbones, and brow bones for a couple of months can help in enhancing your vision. Rubbing the palms together with one drop of frankincense and by placing these palms over opened eyes for less than five minutes every day can provide relief from several visual problems. 

Conclusion: Frankincense is very good for eyesight and makes your eyes healthier and brighter. 

Weight loss

Shallaki is a rich source of guggulsterones. These elements are known to aid in weight loss. It stimulates the thyroid, normalizing its functioning. This, in turn, aids in losing weight. 

Studies conducted on mice under lab conditions suggest that regular ingestion of this herb aids in fat loss. However, more research needs to be conducted and that too on humans to ascertain its power. Nevertheless, it is quite a safe weight loss supplement when compared to the other over the counter weight loss drugs. 

Conclusion: Frankincense works as a gym trainer and helps in reducing weight. 

Good for uterine health

Frankincense oil is good for your uterine health. It controls the production of Oestrogen. This prevents the chances of cyst formation in the uterus and post-menopause tumors, known as uterine cancer. It keeps the uterus healthy by managing regular menstrual cycles. It also treats stressors and other gynecological conditions. 

Some doctors use frankincense oil to treat uterine hemorrhaging and heavy menstrual flow. The oil has also been found to purify mucous membranes in the uterus. 

Conclusion: Frankincense works as a gynecologist and cures many female problems. 


Many studies and researches have proved that frankincense oil has cancer-fighting properties. It has been known to effectively kill bladder cancer cells. Frankincense oil exhibits cytotoxic and cytostatic activities in several human cancer cell lines, such as the cells of leukemia, melanoma, hepatoma, colon cancer, prostate cancer, fibrosarcoma, and pancreatic cancer. Chemical extracts of frankincense resins also possess anticancer activities. 

In one study, the active ingredients in frankincense oil were found to activate an immune cell attack against the cancer cells. The oil may also be used internally, aromatically, or even topically for treating different forms of cancer. 

Conclusion: Frankincense also helps in curing cancer and boost up the immune system. 

For oral health

Frankincense essential oil has powerful antiseptic qualities that help treat a number of oral problems, such as toothaches, mouth sores, and mouth infections. It also has been found to give relief from halitosis or bad breath. 

The antibacterial properties of Salai Guggulu enable it to be used as a natural cure for bad breath triggered by gum diseases. Gum disorders cause inflammations, which in turn triggers bad breath. Once the inflammation is eased, and the bacteria are eliminated, the bad breath automatically ceases. Add two to three drops of the oil of Boswellia to lukewarm water and gargle twice a day for faster relief. 

Conclusion: Frankincense works as toothpaste or oral freshener and keeps healthy your mouth.   

Rare uses

Asthma: Developing evidence advocate that taking Indian frankincense extract might help asthma. 

Brain tumors: There is early evidence that advocate Indian frankincense might benefit people with brain tumors. In one study, taking 4200 mg of Indian frankincense daily reduced tumor size. 

Cluster headache: Limited evidence advocate that Indian frankincense might reduce the frequency and intensity of cluster headaches. 

Crohn's disease: There is some evidence that taking Indian frankincense extract might decrease symptoms of Crohn's disease, but research findings have been inconsistent. 

Safety Profile

Indian frankincense is SAFE. However, some people who took it reported stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea. When applied to the skin, it can cause an allergic rash. 

Special precautions & warnings: 

Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Indian frankincense is safe in food amounts. But don't use it in the huge amounts needed for medicinal effects. Not enough is known about the safety of using Indian frankincense in these amounts during pregnancy or breastfeeding. 

Autoimmune disease: Use cautiously in people who have autoimmune diseases or those taking agents that affect the immune system. Boswellic acids may affect the immune system.

Allergic reaction: Use cautiously in people who have skin disorders. Boswellia may cause an allergic skin reaction (inflammation and itching). 

CNS disorder: Use cautiously in people who have nervous system disorders. Boswellia may cause dizziness and headache. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery.
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