Malaysian Herbals-Boswellia Serrata (60) INDIAN OLIBANAM- குங்கிலியமரம்

Boswellia -குங்கிலிய மரம்

Boswellia is the purified resin made from the gum from the Boswellia serrata or Boswellia carteri trees. For medicinal purposes, the products of these two trees are used in similar ways.
B. serrata is a moderately large branching tree that grows in the hilly regions of India. It grows to a height of about 12 ft (4 m). The sticky resin, or sap, from the tree is also called Indian frankincense, Indian olibanum, dhup, and salai guggulB. carteri is a related tree that grows in parts of North Africa, especially Somalia, and in some parts of Saudi Arabia. The resin from this tree is called frankincense.

Boswellia sacra   ESSENCIAL oil induces tumor cell-specific apoptosis and suppresses tumor aggressiveness in cultured human breast cancer cells

Common name: Indian Olibanum, Indian frankincense • Gujarati: સાલેડી saaledi, સલાઈ ગૂગળ salaai gugul • Hindi: शल्लकी shallaki, kundur, luban • Kannada: ಗುಗ್ಗುಳ ಮರ guggula mara • Malayalam: കുങ്ങില്യം kungilyam • Marathi: धुपाळी dhupali, धूपसाळी dhupasali, कुरुंद kurunda, सालफळी salaphali, साळई salai, साळी sali • Oriya: salai • Sanskrit: भीषण bhishan, गुग्गुल guggula, हस्तिनशना hastinashana, पालंक palank, पार्वती parvati, ऱ्हादिनी hradini, कुरुन्द kurunda, सल्लकी sallaki, शल्लकी shallaki, स्रुवा sruva •Tamil: குமஞ்சம் kumancam, குங்கிலியம் kunkiliyam, மரத்துவெள்ளை marattu-vellai, பறங்கிச்சாம்பிராணி paranki-c-campi-rani, வெள்ளிக்கீரை vellai-k-kirai • Telugu: గుగ్గిలము guggilamu, పరంగిసాంబ్రాణిచెట్టు parangi-sambrani-chettu, సల్లకి sallaki • Urdu: kundur, lobana 

Botanical name: Boswellia serrata    Family: Burseraceae (Torchwood family)
Synonyms: Boswellia glabra, Boswellia thurifera, Bursera thurifera

Indian Olibanum is a deciduous tree endemic to India and has been recorded on dry hills and slopes, on gravelly soils between an altitude range of 275-900 m. It is a medium sized tree, 3-5 m tall, with ash coloured papery bark. Alternately arranged leaves are pinnate, crowded at the end of branches, 20-40 cm long. There are 8-15 pairs of leaflets, 3-6 cm long, with an odd one at the tip. Leaflets are ovate, with toothed margin. Flowers are tiny, creamy, about 8 mm across, borne in 10-15 cm long racemes in leaf axils. There are 10 stamens with a short style and a 3-lobed stigma. Fruits are 2 cm long, 3-cornered. Indian Olibanum tree, on injury, exudates an oleo-gum-resin known as Salai, Guggal or Indian Frankincense. Flowering: January.
Medicinal uses:Extracts of Indian Olibanum have been clinically studied for osteoarthritis and joint function, particularly for osteoarthritis of the knee. A Boswellia extract marketed under the name Wokvel has undergone human efficacy, comparative, pharmacokinetic studies. Indian Olibanum is used in the manufacture of the supposed anti-wrinkle agent "Boswelox", which has been criticised as being ineffective.

Boswellia is a tree found in the hills of India. Traditionally, the part of tree used for medicine is a sap-like resin, or gummy oleoresin. The resin is made up of essential oils and terpenoids. Boswellic Acid is a terpenoid, the organic chemical that is thought to contain the part of boswellia that works as a medication.

Read more: Boswellia Side Effects |

What is boswellia serrata?
A: A reader recently asked The Herb Companion about boswellia serrata. Having never heard of it before, (It looked like a made up word to me) I had to research to find out more. It turns out that this nonsense-word plant is actually very interesting.
Boswellia serrata is a medium-sized tropical tree with ash-colored, papery bark. It’s native to India and other tropical regions of Asia and Africa. When cut, the bark of boswellia yields a gummy resin, or tree sap, that is used for medicinal purposes. This resin, called gugul or salai, is related tofrankincense. It is taken from the frankincense shrub, which is a prime ingredient in incense and oils.

The resin from boswellia has long been used in traditional Indian Siddha Ayurvedic medicine as a remedy for arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, bursitis, diarrhea, dysentery, goiter, liver problems and rheumatism. Today, boswellia is used to help reduce inflammation, stiffness and joint pain. The resin contains boswellic acids, which work to reduce inflammation. Boswellia serrata resin can also help soothe pain caused by minor injuries and is an effective remedy for the chronic pain associated with arthritis.

To burn the resin as an incense you need to have a heat source. Most people use a charcoal disc that is designed specifically for this purpose. The disc should be placed inside a heat resistant container with earth inside if required to shield the strong heat. Once alight the resin can be spooned gently placed onto the charcoal and the resin becomes an incense and the delightful aromas are released. You can then add more resin as required

Frankincense is tapped from the small drought-hardy Boswellia trees by slashing the bark, which is called striping, and allowing the exuded resin to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. There are several species and varieties of frankincense trees, each producing a slightly different type of resin. Differences in soil and climate create even more diversity of the resin, even within the same species.
Boswellia Sacra trees are considered unusual for their ability to grow in environments so unforgiving that they sometimes grow out of almost solid rock. Attachment to the rock is accomplished by a bulbous disk-like swelling of the trunk. This feature is slight or absent in trees grown in rocky soil or gravel. The tears from trees growing on rock are considered superior for their more fragrant aroma. [need citation where]
Boswellia serrataThe trees start producing resin when they are about 8 to 10 years old. Tapping is done 2 to 3 times a year with the final taps producing the best tears due to their higher aromatic terpenesesquiterpene and diterpene content. Generally speaking, the more opaque resins are the best quality. Fine resin is produced in Yemen and along the northern coast ofSomalia, from which the Roman Catholic Church draws its supplies.
Recent studies have indicated that frankincense tree populations are declining, partly due to over-exploitation. Heavily tapped trees produce seeds that germinate at only 16% while seeds of trees that had not been tapped germinate at more than 80%. In addition, burning, grazing, and attacks by the longhorn beetle have reduced the tree population. Conversion (clearing) of frankincense woodlands to agriculture is also a major threat.Thanks Wiki

Boswellia sacra (frankincense)
Frankincense, an oily gum resin from the tree Boswellia sacra and related species, is named in the Bible as one the three gifts given to the baby Jesus by the 'Three Wise Men'. It has been used for thousands of years in many different cultures.
Boswellia sacra Helen Pickering

About this species

Boswellia sacra is a tree with papery, peeling bark and leaves clustered at the ends of tangled branches. It is the source of the oleo-gum-resin frankincense, which besides other uses, has long been valued for its sweet-smelling fumes when burnt. The name ‘frankincense’ is derived from the Old French ‘franc encens’, meaning pure incense or, more literally, free lighting. Trade in frankincense, which is produced by various trees in the genus Boswellia, dates back to at least 2000 BC. Up until the 1830s, many Europeans mistakenly believed that frankincense was the resin of a species of Juniperus, a conifer

Trunk of Boswellia sacra showing the peeling bark

Trunk of Boswellia sacra showing the peeling bark (Image: Helen Pickering)
Frankincense and olibanum are commonly used names for the oleo-gum-resin of Boswellia trees. Frankincense has long been valued for the sweet-smelling fumes it produces when burnt. The ancient Egyptians used the resin in religious rites, in anointing the mummified bodies of their kings, and to treat wounds and sores. Incense containing frankincense was found in Tutankhamen's tomb. It is still used in religious ceremonies by the Parsees, thought by some to be cultural descendants of the 'Three Wise Men' (Magi) of the Christian tradition.
The earliest recorded account of the use of Arabian frankincense and myrrh by the ancient Greeks comes from Herodotus, suggesting that by 500 BC a well-established trade existed between southern Arabia and Greece. In 295 BC Theophrastus recorded that Alexander the Greek (356-323 BC) sent Anaxicrates to southern Arabia to ascertain the origin of frankincense.
Theophrastus (c. 372-287 BC), the Greek botanist, and Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), the Latin naturalist, provided eyewitness accounts of the cultivation and harvesting of frankincense, and the methods remain largely unchanged today. When slashed, the bark exudes an oily gum resin which is either scraped off the tree or collected from the ground as it drips off, a method which produces a better quality resin. The best quality resin is pale in colour, while resin which is scraped off the bark is reddish and considered inferior.

Christmas bad for frankincense trees

Tapping the resin
Tapping Boswellia tree for frankincense in Eritrea (Image: Dr Woldeselassie Ogbazghi, Asmara, Eritrea)
If Jesus was born today, the three wise men might have had to substitute frankincense for another gift, according to new research suggesting that production of the fragrant substance is in trouble.
Frankincense, an aromatic hardened wood resin obtained by tapping Boswellia trees, has been an ingredient in perfumes and incense for thousands of years.
The Bible says that at Christmas, the magi brought gifts to Jesus of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Now ecologists from the Netherlands and Eritrea warn that current rates of tapping frankincense from Boswellia trees are endangering sustained production of the aromatic resin.
Writing in the December issue of the Journal of Applied Ecology, Professor Frans Bongers of Wageningen University says that over-tapping the trees results in them producing fewer, less viable seeds.
And production, in the Horn of Africa, is declining because Boswellia woodlands are failing to regenerate.
The ecologists hypothesise that poor regeneration, due to intensive tapping, means trees are diverting too much carbohydrate into resin at the expense of reproductive organs such as flowers, fruit and seeds.
They tested the theory by looking at how many seeds were produced by intensively tapped trees in southwestern Eritrea compared with untapped trees, and their germination rates.
"At all study sites, trees subject to experimental tapping produced fewer flowers, fruit and seeds than trees that were exempt from tapping," Bongers says.
"Furthermore tapped trees produced smaller fruits with seeds of lower weight and reduced vitality than non-tapped trees."
The ecologists suggest changing the way trees are tapped, by reducing the number of tapping points per tree and enabling rest periods, would help ensure production is sustainable.
"In order to control the decline in fruit and seed production, less intensive tapping procedures should be developed," they write.
"As our results show that six tapping points per tree are already having a negative impact, we suggest reducing the number of tapping points.
"New tapping regimes should also include rest periods when there is no resin harvesting to allow the trees to recover."
The study is the first to show the fragile relationship between extracting wood exudates and tree regeneration in natural populations.                (60)