Boswellic Acid: An Anti-inflammatory and Immunomodulating Agent
Boswellic acid is a pentacyclic triterpene acid belonging to the genus Boswellia. It is a biologically active constituent of Boswellia serrata, known for its anti-inflammatory activity. The boswellic acids are organic acids, consisting of a pentacyclic triterpene, a carboxyl group and at least one other functional group.
Boswellic acids exhibit potent anti-inflammatory properties in vitro and in vivo. Triterpenes in boswellic acid reduce the synthesis of leukotrienes in intact neutrophils by inhibiting 5-LOX, the key enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of leukotrienes, which mediate inflammation. Boswellia extracts exert immunomodulatory benefits by simultaneously inhibiting T-helper 1 (Th1) and promoting Th2 cytokine production. Regulate vascular responses to inflammation86 and stabilize mast cells. In cases of intestinal inflammation, boswellic acids may modulate the adhesive interactions between leukocytes and endothelial cells by countering the activation of leukocytes and/or downregulating the expression of endothelial cell-adhesion molecules.
Specific to their anticancer properties, boswellic acids induce antiproliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis in leukemia cell lines. The acids exert cytotoxic effects on established human glioblastoma and leukemia cell lines, as well as on primary human meningioma cells. The acids may help reduce cerebral edema in patients with brain tumors. Side effects of boswellic acids include abdominal discomfort, nausea, epigastric pain, hyperacidity, and diarrhea.
Most recently, several herbs have been identified as anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating agents that have been suggested to treat coronavirus. It is reported that traditional Chinese medicine has been used in the control of infectious disease and many patients with coronavirus infection have benefited from these herbal treatments.
Gum resin extract of Boswellia serrata (B. serrata) has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, asthma, cancer, or inflammatory bowel. Zang et al. confirmed that the anti-inflammatory effect of B. serrata could be a potential therapy for the treatment of several inflammatory diseases. Based on scientific evidence, a recent publication suggested that some plant extracts or their components could have a role in the prevention and early treatment of symptoms of viral respiratory infections, and their rational management may also become a complementary treatment for patients with COVID-19 and post-COVID-19. Nonetheless, Laybio R&D team believes more research need to be done before we can safely draw any conclusion about boswellic acids effects on coronavirus.
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