boswellia helps knee pain not from osteoarthritis

Valued since biblical times, this magical herb might just be the thing your looking for for aches and pains in your knees.



Boswellia was famed in the bible under the name of frankincense. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that has been used to treat pain, including the pain of osteoarthritis. But, this versatile herb can help even when your beat up knees aren’t the result of arthritis.

Fifty-two young rugby players who had knee pain but no osteoarthritis or other bone, joint or muscular condition either went in to a control group that received standard pain management or underwent the same standard pain management while also taking boswellia extract. They started at 500mg a day for the first 5 days and then increased the dose to 250mg a day for the next 23 days.

The boswellia group did way better than the control group. Compared to the standard pain management group, the rugby players who took boswellia had significantly greater improvement in pain, local pain on effort, pain-free walking distance, joint effusion (swelling due to increased fluid), damages and hematomas. They also had significant decreases in markers of cartilage damage and inflammation. Significantly less rugby players in the boswellia group needed to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) painkillers.

One limitation of this study was that it was open-label, meaning the people in the study knew if they were taking the herb or not. That means that a placebo effect cannot be ruled out.

Previous research has shown that boswellia significantly improves pain, swelling and motion in people with osteoarthritis (Phytomed 2003;10:3-7). This new study suggests that it may have the same benefits for people whose pain is not caused by osteoarthritis.


Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2016;20(19):4156-4161


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For much more on treating pain, inflammation and injuries, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia.


For comprehensive help with pain, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven now.


The Natural Path
 is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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