Family: Burseraceae (Torchwood family)
Genus: Boswellia
Botanical name: Boswellia serrata
Sanskrit: Shallaki
Hindi: Kundur, Luban
English: Indian Olibanum, Indian frankincense, Salai tree
Malayalam: Olibanum, Kungilyam, Salaki
Indian Olibanum is a deciduous tree endemic to India and has been recorded on dry hills and slopes, on gravelly soils between an altitude range of 275-900 m. It is a medium sized tree, 3-5 m tall, with ash coloured papery bark. Alternately arranged leaves are pinnate, crowded at the end of branches, 20-40 cm long. There are 8-15 pairs of leaflets, 3-6 cm long, with an odd one at the tip. Leaflets are ovate, with toothed margin. Flowers are tiny, creamy, about 8 mm across, borne in 10-15 cm long racemes in leaf axils. There are 10 stamens with a short style and a 3-lobed stigma. Fruits are 2 cm long, 3-cornered. Olibanum tree, on injury, exudates an oleo-gum-resin known as Salai, Guggal or Indian Frankincense.
In Ayurvedic medicine Boswellia serrata (Boswellia serrata) has been used for hundreds of years for treating arthritis. Extracts of Indian Olibanum have been clinically studied for osteoarthritis and joint function, particularly for osteoarthritis of the knee. Positive effects of Boswellia in some chronic inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, bronchial asthma, osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease have been reported. A Boswellia extract marketed under the name Wokvel has undergone human efficacy, comparative, pharmacokinetic studies. Some see Indian Olibanum as a promising alternative to NSAIDs, warranting further investigation in pharmacological studies and clinical trials.
Indian Olibanum is used in the manufacture of the supposed anti-wrinkle agent "Boswelox", which has been criticised as being ineffective. The gum of Boswellia serrata is used for brain tumours, diabetes and wounds. Olibanum has potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce the pain and inflammation of joints.
Boswellia serrata
Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants
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