People suffering from inflammatory arthritis often experience pain, stiffness and joint damage due to inflammation. Recent research suggests that natural anti-inflammatory solutions like Boswellia may be beneficial in conjunction with traditional treatment.
Inflammatory arthritis is a term used to describe a group of conditions which affect your immune system. This means that your body’s defense system starts attacking your own tissues instead of germs, viruses and other foreign substances, which can cause pain, stiffness and joint damage. They’re also known as autoimmune diseases. The most common forms are rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, lupus), gout and ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
In these diseases, the immune system doesn’t work properly and releases inflammatory chemicals. The resulting inflammation attacks joint tissues and can cause joint swelling, increased joint fluid, cartilage and bone damage, and muscle loss. Nerves in the joints are also activated, causing pain. The inflammatory chemicals may directly activate other nerves of the body and lead to pain as well.
Symptoms of inflammatory arthritis are not localized to the damaged joint: patients may also experience fever, weakness, and organ damage in addition to the stiffness and pain in the joints. Treatment is often conservative, including a combination of exercise programs to retain strength and mobility and medical therapies to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Many people suffering from inflammatory arthritis look for natural ways to reduce inflammation. Foods such as fish and avocado are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and have been shown to reduce inflammation. Boswellia, or Indian frankincense, is a resin herbal extract from the boswellia tree. Natural medicine practices have used it for centuries. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help with inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Inflammation around the joints is the leading cause of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Many treatments for RA, which include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroids, focus on reducing inflammation.
Boswellia appears to be effective in reducing inflammation, so it makes sense that it may also lessen the symptoms of RA. The Arthritis Foundation recommends boswellic acid capsules as a potential therapy for RA, as well as for osteoarthritis. A 2019 study on rats suggested that an active extract of boswellia may help reduce inflammation in people with RA. Researchers noted that the extract might be useful as a complementary therapy to support traditional RA treatment, though more studies in humans are necessary.