The guggals (gum resins of certain trees) have been used for centuries to treat various ailments. One particular guggul from Commiphora mukul (guggulipid) has demonstrated lipid-lowering activity. Boswellia guggal is an ancient Ayurvedic herbal remedy used in the treatment of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. The gum resin collected is restricted to certain regions of India and is accomplished by scrapping away 8-inch portions of stem bark.
Boswellia is a standardized extract containing alpha-boswellic acid, a pentacyclic triterpene, the active component of Boswellia serrata.
Studies undertaken by the Indian government have shown that boswellia extracts can help arthritis sufferers improve the blood supply to joints and restore the integrity of blood vessel walls obliterated by internal spasm. It may also open up collateral vessels to further nourish the poorly vascularized joints.
Boswellic acids possess anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, and analgesic activity.
Boswellic acids are known to reduce the total leukocyte count of synovial fluid without producing the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. It is believed that alpha boswellic acid inhibits leukotrienes (pro-inflammatory messengers) by suppressing their formation. Leukotrienes are responsible for a cascade of effects involved with the inflammatory response. It is believed that derivatives of boswellic acid interfere with the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase, the enzyme responsible for converting arachidonic acid to leukotrienes.