Boswellia suppresses inflammation and fights cancer
(NaturalHealth365) In 2018, the American Cancer Society estimates that various forms of cancer will claim 609,640 cancer deaths in the United States (alone) – that’s roughly 1,630 per day. The poor success rate of conventional chemotherapy and radiation treatments – along with their debilitating and dangerous side effects – have spurred researchers to focus on natural substances, like Boswellia, in hopes of safer, more effective, therapies.
In fact, even though the pharmaceutical industry will never admit it, scientific studies have shown that this ancient herbal remedy (Boswellia) may not only keep cancer from spreading, but prevent its development in the first place.
Boswellia brings new hope in the battle against inflammation and cancer
Boswellia, a natural substance that has been used for thousands of years in herbal and Ayurvedic healing systems, is derived from the resin produced by Boswellia serrata, a tree indigenous to Asia, the Middle East and Africa. By the way, boswellia is also known as frankincense – one of the gifts reportedly offered to the Christ child at his birth.
Boswellia, a potent anti-inflammatory, has traditionally been used to relieve arthritis symptoms, ulcers and gastrointestinal conditions.
Now, modern researchers are intrigued by boswellia’s ability to combat inflammation – and its unique method of action, which completely differs from the mechanisms of conventional pharmaceutical medications.
NSAIDs and conventional anti-inflammatory drugs: from the frying pan into the fire
Western medicine’s answer to excessive inflammation has been to develop NSAIDs – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications – that block production of pro-inflammatory enzymes, including a substance called cyclooxygenase, or COX-2. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical COX-2 inhibitors also block production of COX-1 – an enzyme essential to a healthy stomach lining – thereby triggering stomach irritation and bleeding, peptic ulcers and kidney problems.
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It was an attempt to solve this problem that led to the development of “selective” COX-2 inhibitors, which were designed to not interfere with production of COX-1. However, these selective inhibitors carried the potential for serious cardiac side effects, and some – such as Vioxx – were even taken off the market for this reason.
Don’t take these drugs warning lightly. For example, if you remember, Vioxx was clearly linked to thousands of (preventable) deaths. And, the point is: there are much safer solutions for many of the health problems we face today.
Boswellia’s unique method of action targets inflammation and cancer – safely
Boswellia works in a dramatically different way from standard COX inhibitors, instead blocking a pro-inflammatory enzyme – 5-lipoxygenase, or 5-LOX – that triggers production of pro-inflammatory leukotrienes and contributes to the development of cancer, arthritis, atherosclerosis and asthma.
Boswellia not only suppresses 5-LOX, but also inhibits the activity of human leukocyte elastase, or HLE, which is associated with respiratory conditions such as emphysema, cystic fibrosis and chronic bronchitis. So far, researchers have found no substance other than boswellia that is capable of inhibiting both HLE and 5-LOX.
You may be shocked at what the scientific research reveals…
In a laboratory cell study published in Molecular Pharmacology, researchers found that boswellia extract worked better than the standard chemotherapy drugs camptothecin, amsacrine and etoposide to inhibit the enzymes that promote cancer growth.
A 2002 study conducted at the Cleveland Clinic and published in Planta Medica showed that a boswellia extract was effective against meningioma cells – which cause tumors of the brain’s covering. Boswellia also helps to kill human prostate cancer cells, leukemia cells and brain cancer cells.
Plus, in a 2006 study published in Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, researchers found that boswellia alters the expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha – which in excessive amounts can produce biochemicals that promote the growth of tumor cells, along with cell adhesion related to the spread of cancer.
And, finally, boswellia helps to combat melanoma – the most lethal form of skin cancer – by interfering with the ability of melanoma cells to metastasize.
Effects of an advanced boswellia extract equal to that of the steroid prednisone
The most important constituent of boswellia is a triterpene known as AKBA, or acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid. AKBA binds directly to 5-LOX, and can also reawaken “sleeping” genes that protect against cancer growth through DNA demethylation.
In other words, AKBA can inhibit cancer cell proliferation, reduce cancer cell viability and decrease the survival of tumor-producing clonogenic cells.
So it’s not surprising that a boswellia extract rich in AKBA – commercially available under the name 5-Loxin – shows particular promise in reducing the inflammation that lies at the root of cancer. One animal study confirmed that 5-Loxin produced a 55 percent decrease in inflammation equal to that of prednisone – without the dangerous side effects.
How can I use boswellia?
Boswellia, usually standardized to contain between 37.5 and 65 percent boswellic acid, is available in pill, resin and cream form. An herbalist may recommend doses of up to 1800 mg – two to three times a day.
Usual dosages of the 5-Loxin form of boswellia extract can range from 100 to 250 mg – once daily.
Naturally, you will want to consult with a trusted herbalist or integrative healthcare provider to determine a dosage that is right for you. A note of caution: if you are pregnant, don’t take boswellia; it can stimulate blood flow in the uterus and induce a miscarriage.
No doubt, as a traditional remedy, boswellia has been valued for its ability to reduce inflammation and joint pain. Now (hopefully), with the help of some modern tweaking, this beneficial substance is ready to take its place as a cutting-edge therapy in the fight against cancer.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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