This time of year, we hear of the Three Wise Men bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We all know what gold is good for, and myrrh is known as an incense, but what about the frankincense?
Frankincense is the hardened gum resin made from incisions in the trunk of the Boswellia carteri tree. This resin has been used orally for colic and gas, and when charred, as kohl eyeliner by Egyptians. It is now considered an obsolete medicinal herb. But its cousin, Boswellia serrate, a.k.a. Indian frankincense, is in common use in the Steinmetz Medical Associates office as a natural anti-inflammatory for chronic conditions like arthritis, and for inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease. There is also evidence that taken orally, it can help asthma by reducing the number of asthma attacks and decreasing the feeling of trouble breathing.
A usual dose for Indian frankincense (and labeled as Boswellia in our office) is around 300 mg 3 times a day. There is no known drug or herbal interactions, although gastrointestinal upset is possible.