If you suffer from arthritis, you’d probably do anything to relieve the pain, discomfort and swelling the condition causes. And outside of changing your lifestyle habits (diet, exercise, cutting back on smoking and alcohol) or taking medications, there’ve been few all-natural ways to cope.
Until now. Frankincense may hold the key to alleviating arthritis.
Also called boswellia, frankincense comes from the boswellia serrata tree and is found primarily in India. The boswellia tree secretes an aromatic resin, which is dried into a gum and used as a medicinal and as an incense. Basically, it’s dried sap that smells really, really nice (its aromatic smoke reportedly has a sedative effect).
Cardiff University scientists have been examining the potential benefits of frankincense to help relieve and alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. According to Dr. Emma Blain, who leads the research: “The South West of England and Wales has a long-standing connection with the Somali community who have used extracts of frankincense as a traditional herbal remedy for arthritic conditions. What our research has focused on is whether and how these extracts can help relieve the inflammation that causes the pain.”
The scientists believe they’ve found that a rare species of boswellia — boswellia frereana — actually inhibits the production of major inflammatory molecules, helping prevent the breakdown of the cartilage tissue which characterizes arthritis. Until now, it hadn’t been established how boswellia worked against arthritis in humans (as had been found effective in animal studies).
On top of treating arthritis, frankincense may markedly help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It can also be used to treat ulcers, tumors, goiter, cystic breasts, diarrhea, dysentery, piles, asthma, bronchitis, chronic laryngitis, jaundice, syphilitic and skin diseases. Anecdotal evidence reports boswellia is also effective against IBS.
Considering we’ve rarely heard about the herb — outside of references to Jesus — it’s something we should pay more attention to, isn’t it?
The Healthy Foodie is Doug DiPasquale, a Holistic Nutritionist and trained chef living in Toronto.
Did you know there’s more than one type of arthritis? Watch the below video to learn more.