Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gum Resins from Boswellia serrata: A wonder medicine

Gum Resins from Boswellia serrata: A wonder medicine
There are mentions of various Indian traditional medicines in Ayurvedic inscriptions like Charak Samhita and Sushruta Samhita for several medical conditions. One such mention is the gum resin synthesized by Boswellia serrata, a big tree from the hilly areas of India. The methanol extract of the oleo gum or gum resin produced by the plant Boswellia serrata has many uses in traditional medicine including the treatment of arthritis and inflammatory diseases. The resin extract contains several triterpenoids and structural derivatives of β- boswellic acid that is well-known for its medicinal use.

Additionally the gum resin has several therapeutic uses in asthma, cancer, inflammation, analgesia, colitis, hyperlipidemia, Crohn’s diseases osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritisetc.

The source of the gum resin or oleo gum resin containing β- boswellic acid is Boswellia serrata. This tree belongs to Burseraceae family and can be found in the various mountain areas of India. There are other members of Burseraceae family that can be located in different regions of Asia and North Africa. The plant is primarily produced for the gum resin that also has traditional uses as an anti-irritant with soothing or calming effect. The resin is known as “Dhoop” or “Kundur” in Ayurveda and Unani and frankincense in Europe or America. The soothing effect of the resin is due to the presence of 5-lipoxygenase (the enzyme responsible for irritation) inhibitor that significantly reduces inflammation without blocking the synthesis of thromboxanes and prostaglandins.

The use of gum resin from Boswellia serrata can be found in Indian traditional medicines and in the Ayurvedic texts like Charak Samhita and Sushruta Samhita. The resin was also popular in ancient India for its use in various skin diseases and in treating rheumatism. It is a major component of modern day perfumes, cosmetics flavor, beverage, food and liquor industries.

Apart from asthma the β- boswellic acid from the gum resin of Boswellia serrata is also good for respiratory problems such as laryngitis and bronchitis. Its effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory agent for the skin, gum and eye infections were well established in ancient India . Additionally, it is good in topical use.

Boswellic acids also received attention for the treatments of acute skin problems like erythematous eczema and psoriasis. Though there are substantial growth and advances in the area of drug discovery, the presence of compounds competent to stimulate the wound healing mechanism is very limited. Managing chronic wounds are another key area which needs attention as it bears a high therapeutic cost and related side effects. In this context the oleo gum resin of Boswellia serrata offers a great option with its capacity to stimulate the contraction of skin wounds.

It has been further noted that Boswellic acids are good against skin cancer where self treatment involves availability of a substance that will facilitate indiscriminate tissue destruction. Use of Boswellic acids prevents corrosion of the tissue surface and thus minimize scar formation. Moreover, it works wonders in brain related diseases and memory disorders.


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