A New Use of an Ancient Christmas Herb

boswellia is better than drugs for urinary incontinence
photo by Ted Snider

Christmas time is a reminder that frankincense was once as valuable as gold. But here’s a new use no one ever thought of before.

Urinary incontinence, or the loss of bladder control, is an annoying problem that can impact quality of life. It becomes more common as you age, but it doesn’t have to happen.

This double-blind study compared a “frankincense-based herbal product” to both a placebo and to the drug solifenacin. It lasted 4 weeks and included 120 postmenopausal women.

Though called frankincense in biblical times, the herb more commonly goes by the name Boswellia now.

There are two very good pieces of news if you were betting on the ancient herb over the modern drug. The first piece of good news is that, at the end of the study, compared to the placebo group, both the herb group and the drug group had significantly decreased urinary incontinence and leakage. So, the herb is better than the placebo.

The even better news is that 2 weeks after the study was over, the herb was significantly better than the drug. The herb also improved quality of life. So, the herb had a more prolonged effect, meaning that boswellia is not only better than the placebo, it’s better than the drug.

Phytother Res. 2022 Nov 28. doi: 10.1002/ptr.7691

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