Life Extension Update
September 10, 2019
Results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial reported in the May 2019 issue of Phytotherapy Research reveal a benefit for treatment with an extract of Boswellia serrata in men and women with osteoarthritis of the knee.
Gum resin derived from Boswellia serrata, commonly known as frankincense, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries and has more recently been the subject of scientific investigation that has added evidence to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.
The trial included 42 participants between the ages of 35 and 75 years with newly diagnosed knee osteoarthritis. Subjects were given a placebo or tablets that contained Boswellia serrata extract to be consumed twice daily for 120 days.
Pain, stiffness and physical function were assessed at the beginning of the study and on days 30, 60, 90 and 120. Six-minute walking tests were conducted before the treatment period and at other visits. X-ray images obtained before and after the treatment period provided further information concerning treatment efficacy.
The safety of Boswellia serrata extract was evaluated using data collected during physical examinations conducted during each visit. Blood samples were analyzed for serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), a marker of inflammation.
In comparison with the placebo, treatment with Boswellia serrata was associated with improvement in pain, stiffness and physical function by the end of the trial. Knee joint gap and bone spurs revealed by x-ray imaging also improved among those treated with Boswellia serrata. By the final visit, walking test scores had significantly improved in association with Boswellia serrata compared to the placebo.
Boswellia serrata-treated individuals experienced a larger reduction in hs-CRP levels by the end of the study compared to the placebo group, indicating a greater decrease in inflammation. Treated patients also experienced more improvement in self-reported quality of life between the beginning and end of the trial. No serious adverse events occurred.“This is the first study with Boswellia serrata extract conducted for a period of 120 days, longer than any other previous clinical trial on patients with osteoarthritis of the knee,” authors Muhammed Majeed and colleagues announce. They recommend further studies be conducted that include a larger number of subjects.
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