Is Boswellia Good For Joint Pain? 4 Real Benefits

Is Boswellia Good For Joint Pain? 4 Real Benefits

If you’re a fan of herbal remedies, you surely heard of Boswellia Serrata. It’s one of the most popular herbs lately, even though you can’t find it in every shop.  

So what makes this remedy so valuable? Is Boswellia good for joint pain, because that’s what I’m basically interested in. I know it has lots of benefits, but I mostly care about how it can help arthritis.  

I tried to do a deep research about it and here’s what I found out about Boswellia and joint pain. 


What It Has Inside 

Why is Boswellia even used for arthritis and joint pain? Obviously, it’s because of what it contains inside.  

Is Boswellia Good For Joint Pain? 4 Real BenefitsUnlike other herbs, that contain hundreds of different substances, the resin from Boswellia is pretty simple from this point of view. Its effect is based on several boswellic acids, that have pretty similar molecules. In fact, they’re pretty similar in names too: 

  – alpha-boswellic acid 

  – beta-boswellic acid 

  – keto-boswellic acid 

 Each of these 3 has several derived acids, so writing them all out would take forever. But the point is that all of these acids work together. So none of them works better than the other, because it’s the combination that produces the effect. 

What these acids do is that they inhibit the production of leukotrienes, which are causing inflammation throughout the body. Obviously, it’s not only leukotrienes causing swelling, but they are an important factor. So once their production decreases, so does some of the swelling. 

But let me tell you exactly what it can do for people with joint pain. 


1. Fights Inflammation 

 Just like most remedies for joint pain, Boswellia is a great anti-inflammatory. That’s how it basically reduces the swelling.  

The explanation: As I said above, the boswellic acids from Boswellia inhibit the production of leukotrienes. These are some molecules inside our body that trigger inflammation. Once their production decreases, the inflammation starts to decrease as well. 

However, it’s not all that perfect. Leukotrienes are just one of the causes of inflammation, and unfortunately, they’re not the major one. So even though their production is inhibited, there are still other molecules causing inflammation.  

So Boswellia does decrease some of the swelling, but it can’t decrease all of it, because of the mechanism behind. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because most herbs can only decrease one cause of inflammation, not all of them. 

Good for: Because of this benefit, Boswellia is great in rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, or in any auto-immune condition. Inflammation is the #1 problem is these cases, so anything that manages to fight it off is a great choice. 


2. Pain Killer 

That’s something that makes Boswellia different (and better) than the other herbs. Besides decreasing the inflammation, this resin is a great analgesic. And let me explain you why. 

Is Boswellia Good For Joint Pain? 4 Real BenefitsThe explanation: According to studies, one of the boswellic acids inside this resin is believed to relieve pain. I’m talking about the AKBA, a derived from beta-boswellic-acid, which has a name too long to be worth mentioning.  

Well, scientists aren’t sure about the mechanism behind, but one thing is pretty clear. The AKBA together with the other acids from Boswellia resin proved to reduce chronic pain without any major side effects. They are still studies, so I can’t give you a clear conclusion, but researchers are pretty convinced about their benefits for chronic pain.  

And if you want a real reason, inflammation is causing pain itself. So as Boswellia helps with inflammation, it should normally decrease the pain as well. 

Good for: You don’t need to have arthritis to have chronic pain. Boswellia seems to be effective in reducing pain, but I would only 

So if you have arthritis or joint pain, this remedy could help you out. recommend it if you have joint problems. In case you have fibromyalgia, Boswellia might help, but there are a lot more valuable remedies at this point. 


3. Prevents Cartilage Loss 

There aren’t many herbs that are effective in osteoarthitis, but it seems that Boswellia is one of the few. Besides reducing the swelling, it can also prevent future cartilage problems. 

The explanation: According to a 2011 research, the extract from Boswellia Serrata’s resin showed great results in people with knee osteoarthritis.  

I haven’t found a lot of details about this study, but from what I read, patients using this extract had a higher quantity of glycosaminoglycans and aggrecan. These are some natural substances inside the joints that protects the cartilages. Their production tends to decrease with age, so that’s why lots of people with OA need to take these substances from the outside.  

However, the results of this study are really encouraging and it seems like Boswellia isn’t just an over-hyped remedy. I personally think it’s really special, as it seems to help both in RA and OA, which is a pretty rare thing. 

Good for: Cartilage damage is usually a problem in OA, but it can happen in RA patients as well (see my case). So if you want to prevent this problem, Boswellia can be really helpful. However, the study used a certain extract (and probably a higher dose), so you can’t always count on that. 


4. Inhibits Autoimmune Process 

Is Boswellia Good For Joint Pain? 4 Real BenefitsThat’s probably the most special thing about Boswellia, as I don’t know many herbs that can directly help auto-immune conditions. Things aren’t certain about Boswellia either, as it’s just an assumption of scientists so far.  

But they have a few proofs to believe that Boswellia could be helpful in RA, besides decreasing the regular swelling.  

The explanation: A 2011 study stated that Boswellia extracts reduced the number of primary antibodies in people with auto0immune conditions. They also decreased the number of leukotrienes, but that’s something I already mentioned.  

Unfortunately, scientists don’t mention the category they tested out, which is people with RA, lupus or any other condition. I personally believe they studied this extract on different people with different auto-immune conditions. That’s why the real results for just one of this conditions may not be that positive. But either way, the conclusions are very promising.  

Good for: As I said, there’s nothing sure about Boswellia and auto-immune conditions. But it will not harm you, that’s for sure. So if you want to experiment, Boswellia could be a great idea because it’s safe and it has some promising evidence behind. 


Boswellia For Rheumatoid Arthritis

One thing is clear about Boswellia resin – it’s a great anti-inflammatory. Yes, there are no solid evidence for its other benefits, that’s true. But either way, that’s the kind of remedy you need in RA – an anti-inflammatory.

But there’s only one problem. As I said, Boswellia only inhibits one of the causes of inflammation. So you can’t completely decrease inflammation only with Boswellia.

Compared to turmeric, Boswellia is weaker. Or at least in my case, it’s not as effective as turmeric. So I still prefer and recommend turmeric supplement, even though Boswellia is among my favorite herbs.

But if you didn’t experience any relief from turmeric (which I pretty much doubt, maybe you didn’t choose the right product), I think Boswellia could be a decent #2 choice. I can’t gurantee it will work, but it will surely not harm you.

So if you have RA, psoriatic arthritis, bursitis or any other form of inflammation, Boswellia should help you up to a point.


Boswellia For Osteoarthritis

Even though it doesn’t have as many benefits as for RA, Boswellia can be valuable even for osteoarthritis.

As I said before, this topic is still researched, so there are no certain conclusions. But the few evidence we have are pretty positive. Boswellia extracts seems to help OA for the long term and prevent additional damage to the joints.

If you have OA, you probably know that this is one of the major problems in this condition. So if Boswellia turned out to be as good as scientists hope, it could become a #1 remedy for osteoarthritis.

For now, you could only experiment its benefits and see if it works for you or not. But the future looks very good for Boswellia.


The Best Supplement With Boswellia

I’ve used several products containing this herb in the last years. But as I said before, none of them had any major effect, they only brought a little improvement.

So if I were to recommend you a supplement, I couldn’t possibly pick one, because none helped me too much. All I can recommend you is a certain turmeric supplement, because I know it worked miraculously in my case.

But if you want a product based on Boswellia, well, I can’t really name one. I can’t really recommend something that didn’t work too well for me. So if you only want a Boswellia product, there isn’t any that I believe to be worth buying.

Feel free to research on your own, because I didn’t find any that I would buy again. 



My Final Verdict – Is Boswellia Good For Joint Pain?

I’m personally a fan of this herb, so I truly believe it can help joint pain. But can it relieve the pain on its own? When it comes to this, I’m not so sure anymore.

So I believe Boswellia has some great benefits, but I doubt it could relieve the pain all alone. I didn’t experience major relief from Boswellia supplements, that’s why it’s not my top recommendation.

But I’m pretty sure it could help, even a bit. It can clearly reduce inflammation, and even though it’s not very strong, you should notice a difference.

I would personally recommend you turmeric, because that’s what made miracles for me. But unfortunately, not every turmeric supplement works, I’ve seen that myself. So if you lost your trust in turmeric, I say you give it a second chance, but this time, choose wiser.

However, if you want to stick to Boswellia, I’m pretty sure it will help you even a bit. Probably not as much as turmeric (I’m speaking from experience), but you should notice a difference.

Heather Pharm.D.

Heather Tracy Foley is a Pharmacy graduate, Blogger and Author with a vast experience in health sciences. She has a particular interest in joint pain and rheumatology and spent several years studying health problems. You can find her on Pinterest or via email.

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