WEDNESDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- Frankincense may help reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis, according to a study of 70 patients.
An enriched extract of the "Indian Frankincense" herb Boswellia serrata was used in the randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. Patients who took the herbal remedy showed significant improvement in as little as seven days. The compound caused no major adverse effects and is safe for human consumption and long-term use, according to the study authors.
The findings were published in the July 29 edition of Arthritis Research & Therapy.
The extract used in the study was enriched with 30 percent AKBA (3-O-acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid), which is believed to be the most active ingredient in the B. serrata plant.
"AKBA has anti-inflammatory properties, and we have shown that B. serrata enriched with AKBA can be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee," study leader Siba Raychaudhuri, a faculty member of the University of California, Davis, said in a BioMed Central news release.
"The high incidence of adverse effects associated with currently available medications has created great interest in the search for an effective and safe alternative treatment," Raychaudhuri said.
B. serrata has been used for thousands of years in traditional Indian medicine. This is the first study to examine the effect of an enriched extract of the plant.
Osteoarthritis -- the most common form of arthritis -- commonly affects weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips, along with the hands, wrists, feet and spine. Symptoms include pain, stiffness and limited movement.
The Arthritis Foundation has more about osteoarthritis.
SOURCE: BioMed Central, news release, July 29, 2008