The ancient medicinal herb, boswellia (Boswellia serrata, also known as Indian frankincense), has been used for thousands of years for a number of reasons, including as a natural pain reliever. It’s potential health benefits may support the quality of life for people who suffer from chronic illnesses, but its use doesn’t come without some risks. Boswellia side effects, liver complications, and other serious afflictions can happen if the herb isn’t taken properly. Read ahead to learn more!
Common Uses for Boswellia
Before we get to the side effects, let’s take a look at some of the potential uses of this herb.
- Natural Pain Reliever – Some studies show that boswellia may work as well as popular NSAID pain relievers (such as ibuprofen) at temporarily relieving swelling and the pain associated with it. It’s also believed to improve joint mobility and flexibility.
- May Ease Symptoms of Autoimmune Bowel Disorders – Other studies show using boswellia may help with irritated bowel and colon symptoms and may even work as well as some prescription medications. However, further research is needed.
- May Assist in Calming Bronchial Spasms – Those who suffer from chronic respiratory irritation and involuntary bronchial contractions may find help controlling the condition with boswellia.
Possible Boswellia Complications
Just as with any supplement or herb that seems to have medicinal qualities, there are potential boswellia side effects, liver toxicity, and other serious complications when combined with medications you may already be taking, so it’s important to talk to your medical professional before adding boswellia to your daily supplement routine.
Serious potential side effects include:
- May Induce Miscarriage in Pregnant Women – Boswellia may stimulate blood flow in the uterus and pelvis and may accelerate menstrual flow, which could lead to termination of pregnancy. For this reason, it’s advised that pregnant women not take boswellia.
- Boswellia Side Effects, Liver Toxicity – Boswellia is considered a natural pain reliever on its own, so when combined with other similar acting drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen it could have harmful effects on your liver. For that reason, combining them is not recommended.
- May Interact with Blood Sugar Medications – Some studies show that boswellia may naturally stabilize blood sugar levels already in the normal range, which could be useful for those with endocrine disorders. For this reason though, it’s important that you not use the herb if you are already taking medications to regulate blood sugar, as boswellia could block their effects.
Other side effects of boswellia may include:
- Acid reflux
- Skin rashes
There are also some herbs that should be avoided when taking boswellia. If you are taking any of the following, talk to your healthcare professional first before adding this supplement to your routine.
Herbs To Avoid with Boswellia:
- Mistletoe (for tumor and abnormal cell blockers)
- Glucosamine & Chondroitin (supplements for joint discomfort)
- Garlic (for cholesterol level control)
- Tea tree oil (antifungal agent)
When used as directed, boswellia may have many potential health benefits. As with any supplement or medication, use caution and speak with a professional before using boswellia.
Try These Boswellia Supplements
Here are some safe boswellia supplements you can try from Natural Healthy Concepts.
Organic Boswellia Powder from Banyan Botanicals is a powdered form of boswellia resin formulated to support joint health.
Boswellia Cream from Life-flo is a soothing, naturally warming cream that provides temporary relief for minor aches and pains.
Boswellia from Himalaya is an herbal supplement in convenient softgels formulated to support joint flexibility.
Do you take boswellia? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.