Boswellia quickly reduces arthritis pain

August 11, 2008

     An enriched extract of the herb Boswellia serrata has been proven to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis and that patients taking the herbal remedy showed significant improvement in as little as seven days.
     Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis; it commonly affects weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips, along with the hands, wrists, feet and spine. The symptoms include pain, stiffness and limited movement. This randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 70 patients will be of great interest to sufferers, especially those who don't get adequate relief from existing treatments. Existing treatments also pack significant toxicity and a wide assortment of side effects spurring the search for safer but effective treatments.
     For the current randomized, double-blinded trial, scientists used a formulation called 5-Loxin®, which is an extract of Boswellia serrata enhanced with 30% 3-O-acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA, likely the plant's most active ingredient). Seventy patients who had been treated for osteoarthritis with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs prior to the study were divided to receive 100 or 250 milligrams of 5-Loxin® or a placebo each day for 90 days. Participants were evaluated after 1 week and at the end of each month until the study's conclusion, during which blood samples were collected and assessed for proinflammatory and toxicity indicators. Matrix metalloproteinase-3, an enzyme involved in joint damage, was measured in knee synovial fluid at the beginning and end of the study.
     As early as 7 days after beginning treatment with high dose 5-Loxin®, participants reported improvements in pain and functional ability. By the end of the study, both low and high dose 5-Loxin® were associated with pain and function improvement, and synovial fluid matrix metalloproteinase-3 was reduced. No adverse treatment effects were noted.
     The research shows that B. serrata enriched with AKBA is an effective and safe treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. The authors have previously tested the safety of their remedy in animal experiments. They say that in this new human clinical trial "In this study, the compound was shown to have no major adverse effects in our osteoarthritis patients. It is safe for human consumption and even for long-term use". The study is published online on July 29, 2008 in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy.