Best Boswellia Supplements

Boswellia aka FrankincenseMore commonly known as frankincense, Boswellia serrata is a tree resin used in traditional Indian and modern Ayurvedic medicine. It is gaining popularity in western herbal med and experimental research is showing that it can reduce inflammation, regulate autoimmune processes, and soothe pain as a strong analgesic [1].

Boswellic acid – an active anti-inflammatory and analgesic constituent – can inhibit the synthesis of inflammatory chemicals that cause and communicate pain signals [2].

Boswellia is being studied as an alternative for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and inflammation in chronic conditions, and some researchers are even creating hybrid ibuprofen-boswellic acid drugs that relieve pain better than NSAIDs alone [3].

Boswellia for Arthritis


Osteoarthritis is caused by mechanical wear and tear on the joints. It’s the most common form of arthritis and can cause debilitating pain and reduced mobility. Boswellia has been consistently shown in studies to improve the symptoms of OA, including recent research:

  • A 2018 study compared the effects of taking curcumin on its own or in conjunction with boswellia to treat osteoarthritis. The study found that the formula including boswellia was far more effective, and that a combination of 350mg curcuminoids with 150mg boswellic acid three times per day for 12 weeks significantly relieved joint pain and stiffness, improved physical joint function, and gave patients a sense of improved wellness [4].
  • Another study used a similar dose of 333mg of boswellia serrata extract (not just the concentrated acids), three times a day for 8 weeks. Even with a shorter study period, the participants taking boswellia showed improved knee flexion, walking distance, stair climbing, sitting cross-legged, squatting, and kneeling, while frequency of knee swelling decreased [5]. Fast-acting and effective!

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis involves joint pain instigated by autoimmune infiltration of the joint, leading to severe inflammation, pain, and swelling. According to a 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized control trials, the current evidence supports boswellia as an effective treatment to relieve symptoms and reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis [6].

Results are similar to the osteoarthritis studies above – taking 300mg of boswellia or ~150mg of boswellic acid three times a day appears to be a safe and effective dose to relieve symptoms of both forms of arthritis.

But boswellia has an action that is particularly helpful in rheumatoid arthritis – it reduces white blood cell volume in the fluid surrounding the affected joints. This slows down autoimmune destruction of the joint and can relieve symptoms of inflammation, pain and swelling [2]. Boswellia has also been shown to balance the immune system and reduce autoimmune reactivity, reducing the acceleration of rheumatoid arthritis while decreasing frequency of flare-ups [7].

Based on these results, its no surprise that Boswellia is included in many joint supplement formulas.

Boswellia for Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease

Diabetes and insulin resistance result in high levels of glucose circulating through the blood stream. High blood glucose levels stimulate fatty deposits to form in the liver, increasing cholesterol synthesis and leading to cardiovascular disease. Boswellia may stop this process by improving insulin sensitivity and normalizing blood glucose levels.

  • A 300mg dose of boswellia three times a day for 6 weeks showed improved HDL, LDL, and total serum cholesterol in patients with type 2 diabetes [8]. Another study showed that a dosage regime of 250mg twice a day had no better effect than a placebo on cholesterol markers [9], suggesting that a total dose of at least 900mg per day is required.

Insulin resistance leads to an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress throughout the body. Boswellia acts as an antioxidant to reduce this oxidation and subsequent inflammation, and may also be protective against LDL oxidation. By protecting LDL, boswellia may help to reduce the formation of plaque in arteries that leads to atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Boswellia for Gut Health

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic and often debilitating bowel diseases that are characterized by symptom flare-ups and remissions, including severe pain and bleeding.

  • Studies have shown that boswellia can improve rates of remission in both IBD conditions with few side effects [10]. It can also help relieve joint pain associated with flare-ups, and may help to reduce the risk of IBD complications [10][11].

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS isn’t an autoimmune condition, but it does cause symptoms of bloating, diarrhea, cramping, discomfort and constipation. IBS can appear separately or concurrently with inflammatory bowel diseases or other bowel conditions, so be sure to get checked out by a doctor before self-prescribing natural therapies.

  • In a small study held in 2017, a herbal blend including boswellia extract was shown to improve the severity of symptoms in IBS, as well as relieve associated conditions of anxiety and depression [12].
  • A larger study of 71 participants showed that after four weeks of taking a boswellia extract participants experienced clear improvement in bowel habits and relief of abdominal pain and cramps. The difference was highly significant compared to a placebo [13].

Do you know the difference between IBS, IBD and leaky gut? Learn more about treating leaky gut here.

Boswellia for Migraines & Cluster Headaches

The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of boswellia makes it ideal for use in migraines, cluster headaches and other debilitating pain conditions. The acids in boswellia are able to reduce the synthesis of pro-inflammatory leukotrienes which have been identified as a possible cause of cluster headache and migraines.

  • Despite this, human trials are hard to find, but what’s out there is very promising – one study used boswellia serrata for severe cluster headaches and participants experienced a rapid improvement within weeks. Even better, the effects lasted for up to 15 months [14]!

Boswellia for Exercise Performance

No studies have looked into the effects of boswellia in sports and exercise, but given its soothing effects on joints and antioxidant protection of ligaments, it’s a perfect herb to use in recovery after high impact activities. By helping to regulate insulin resistance and glucose metabolism, it may also be a key herb to use for endurance support.

How To Use Boswellia Supplements

Boswellia extracts are available in capsule and tablet forms, or can be prescribed as a liquid tincture by a herbalist.

Most research suggests that a therapeutic dose of 300mg taken 3 times per day is effective and safe for adults. Take boswellia with food to reduce potential side effects of nausea and bloating.

Do NOT use boswellia in pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Speak to a herbalist or naturopath for personalized advice.

Creams and tinctures are also available for topical application to be applied directly to the site of joint pain or inflammation. Do NOT use on broken skin or raw wounds. Use a small amount to test for any allergies or irritation before using a large amount, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.

The Top 5 Boswellia Supplements

#5 Superior Labs Boswellia Extract (250mg, 240 capsules)

Boswellia Extract SupplementSuperior Labs have formulated a boswellia extract with a guaranteed level of at least 65% standardised boswellic acid concentration. They’ve combined boswellia with black pepper extract and the amino acid, L-leucine, to promote bioavailability and delivery throughout the body, including to the joints.

Superior Labs use 100% non-GMO boswellia with no synthetic additives, fillers, heavy metals or other nasties that cheapen the quality of the product. Their manufacturers are independently NSF tested.

This is a great choice if you’re looking for a high quality, clean boswellia extract with a guaranteed high percentage of active boswellic acid. The combination of other ingredients makes this ideal for treating joint inflammation or pain, but can also be used for gut health, migraines, or other inflammatory conditions.

#4 Eu Natural MY BRAIN! Severe Head Pain Natural Relief (Herbal blend, 60 Capsules)

MyBrainEU Natural have combined brain-supporting nutrients with boswellia extract and other potent pain relieving herbs. This blend addresses symptoms of severe headaches, nausea, dizziness, auras and sensitivity to light or sound, and all of the ingredients work synergistically to bring quick and long-lasting relief. The proprietary blend of herbs doesn’t disclose the amount of boswellia included, so follow the dosage instructions on the bottle or speak to a qualified herbalist or naturopath for personalised advice.

#3 Dr Olivia Naturals Turmeric (250mg, 120 capsules)

turmeric with boswelliaPain and inflammation are directly targeted by this potent blend of boswellia, turmeric, and ginger – a trio of analgesic, soothing herbs that are indicated to treat all forms of arthritis. The combination of these three can also improve gastrointestinal health, and can relieve nausea and pain associated with migraines. All sources of inflammation may be soothed with this blend.

Dr Olivia products are GMO-free, produced in an FDA-registered facility, and come with a full money-back guarantee.

#2 Amandean Premium Boswellia serrata Extract (500mg, 120 capsules)

Premium Boswellia ExtractAmandean have created a high dose boswellia supplement with no added ingredients – this is a pure, potent extract with at least 65% standardised boswellic acids. The boswellia used is a 3rd harvest of the gum resin (shown to be the most potent) and has been sourced from India rather than China. Anecdotal evidence in reviews suggest that this stuff acts fast, too.

This is a great choice if you’re looking for a high dose, low-allergen formula manufactured in the USA – and it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, too!

View Amandean Boswellia on Amazon Here

#1 Savesta Boswellia (500mg, 60 capsules)

Boswellia for jointsThe gold standard! This is the highest potency boswellia supplement we could find – Savesta use an extract with a standardised concentration of 85% boswellia acids – that gives a dose of 485mg boswellic acid per capsule!

In committing to their earth-conscious, environmentally-friendly philosophy, Savesta use wildcrafted Boswellia resin and use a pure alcohol extraction with no toxic solvents used. All of their products are free from animal ingredients, soy, wheat, and gluten.

If you’re looking for the highest potency on the market, you’ve found it!

View Savesta Boswellia for Joints and Respiratory Function on Amazon Here

Further Reading:

About James Lyons

James Lyons (BHSc Nutritional Medicine) is a clinical nutritionist, medical writer, and educator. He specialises in plant-based nutrition and is passionate about improving public access to reliable and accurate health information.

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