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The resinous extract called olibanum, is obtained from Boswellia tree species which are grown in India, Ethiopia and the Arabian Peninsula.  In the western world it is known as frankincense.  This resin contains anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and analgesic properties.

The enzyme 5-lipoxgenase (5-LOX) triggers the production of pro-inflammatory molecules called leukotrienes. Many studies have linked leukotrienes to arthritis, and breathing disorders such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), inflammatory bowel diseases and osteoporosis.

Boswellia can suppress the leukotriene biosynthesis in white blood cells by inhibiting 5-LOX, thereby affecting inflammatory diseases caused by leukotrienes.  The discovery of boswellic acids by researchers, was the first step in validating boswellia’s medical relevance. AKBA (3-acetyl-11-keto-betaboswellic acid) has been shown to be particularly encouraging as it binds directly to the 5-LOX enzyme, preventing it from expediting the production of pro-inflammatory leukotrienes.

Subsequent animal studies have also revealed potent anti-inflammatory capabilities, especially in relieving joint swelling due to arthritis.

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