Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. In the UK, more than 10 million people have arthritis or other, similar conditions that affect the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting nearly nine million people.
According to the NHS, osteoarthritis initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint.
“This makes movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness,” the health site explains.
Once the cartilage lining starts to roughen and thin out, the tendons and ligaments have to work harder.
“This can cause swelling and the formation of bony spurs called osteophytes,” says the NHS.
According to one study, the extract significantly improved osteoarthritis pain and function within seven days.
Another study published in the journal Phytomedicine found that all 30 people with osteoarthritis knee pain who received boswellia reported a decrease in knee pain.
They also reported an increase in knee flexion and how far they could walk.
Knee flexion relates to how much bending movement there is the knee.
Another study, funded by a boswellia production company, found that increasing the dosage of enriched boswellia extract led to an increase in physical ability.
Osteoarthritis knee pain decreased after 90 days with the boswellia product, compared to a lesser dosage and placebo.
It also helped reduce the levels of a cartilage-degrading enzyme.
How does it work?
According to the Arthritis Foundation, the active components have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties.
“It also may help prevent cartilage loss and inhibit the autoimmune process,” says the health body.
General tips to alleviate osteoarthritis symptoms
According to the NHS, the main treatments for the symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Lifestyle measures – such as maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly
- Medication – to relieve your pain
- Supportive therapies – to help make everyday activities easier
“In a few cases, where other treatments have not been helpful, surgery to repair, strengthen or replace damaged joints may also be considered,” adds the health site.