Olfactory Healing

New research suggests frankincense may carry anti-inflammatory properties.

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Although commonly known for its biblical references and role in ayurvedic practices, frankincense had yet to make a significant splash in health care—until recently. Researchers at the University of Saarbrucken in Germany have conducted a study suggesting that the acids present in this aromatic herb’s resin possess anti-inflammatory properties, which could prove beneficial in the treatment of disorders such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and atopic dermatitis.

Researchers studied the interaction of boswellic acid-rich frankincense with the enzyme responsible for producing prostaglandin E2, which plays a positive role in the inflammation process, as well as in pain and fever production. “Boswellic acids block this enzyme efficiently and thereby reduce the inflammatory reaction,” said University of Saarbrucken Professor Oliver Wertz in a recent interview with Medical News Today. Scientists also predict that boswellic acids will produce fewer side effects than other anti-inflammatory drugs on the market. Among those drugs’ negative effects are liver damage, lung infection, and susceptibility to cancer and heart failure.

(Although the results of this study were optimistic, further clinical research must be performed before wellness professionals should recommend inhaling frankincense to reverse inflammation.)