Description of Boswellia Serrata : It is a deciduous medium-sized tree, with ash coloured, bark, peeling off in thin flakes. Young shoots and leaves pubescent.Leaves are long, opposite, sessile, variable in shape, ovate or lanceolate, crenate-serrate, obtuse, base acute and rounded. Flowers in auxiliary racemes, shorter than leaves.Calyx pubescent outside, lobes broadly triangular ovate.Petals long ovate. Drupe tringonous.
Characteristics and Constituents : Salai Gugaal gum contains arabinose, galactose, xylose,diastatic enzymes galacturonic acid, digitoxose, rhamnose, the volatile oil obtained from gum oleo-resin contains ?-pinene, ?-phellandrene, sesquiterpene alcohols, anisaidehyde phenols. Aqueous fraction gave poly-saccharides A and B. Three triperpene acids, ?, ? and ?-boswellic acids have been reported. The anti inflammatory and anti arthritic properties are attributed to the presence of ?-boswellic acid and related triterpene acids.
Actions and Uses : When tested on Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and S-180 tumours transplanted in mice, it increased the life span of mice by 24% with ascites and decreased S-180 tumour by 24%. The essential oil of Boswellia Serrata was found to he anti-fungal. Anti-inflammatory activity and anti-bacterial activity of extracts have been demonstrated. The non-phenolic fraction of gum resin exhibited sedative and analgesic effects when tested in rats. The chemistry and pharma- cology of the gum has been reviewed.
It is used in rheumatic disorders. It is also used to improve appetite and in general weakness. It has an anti-diarrhoeal action.
With the recommended doses side effects are uncommon.Occasionally patients may complain of heartburn or warmth of hands and feet.