Can boswellia cause anxiety?

2023-10-27 09:49:54

Boswellia, also called Indian frankincense, is an herbal supplement deduced from the Boswellia serrata tree. It has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic drug for conditions like arthritis, asthma, and seditious bowel complaint. As Boswellia grows in fashionability in the West, some people wonder- can Boswellia beget anxiety as a side effect? Let's take a near look.

What is Boswellia?

Boswellia is a branching tree found in India, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. The gummy resin from the Boswellia tree is extracted and purified to make boswellia serrata extract supplements.

The active ingredients in boswellia resin are boswellic acids. These composites haveanti-inflammatory and analgesic( pain- relieving) parcels. Boswellia supplements are generally used to treat common diseases, asthma, and seditious bowel conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s complaint.

Health Benefits of Boswellia

Research suggests that Boswellia Serrata Extract Powder can be beneficial for:

- Reducing pain, stiffness, and swelling in arthritis

- Improving respiratory function in asthma

- Decreasing intestinal inflammation in inflammatory bowel disease

- Protecting cartilage loss and promoting joint mobility

- Inhibiting pro-inflammatory enzymes and cytokines

- Exerting antioxidant and immunomodulating effects

Multiple studies confirm boswellia’s ability to reduce inflammation in conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. More research is needed to fully evaluate boswellia’s efficacy for other uses.

Boswellia and Anxiety

Currently, there is limited research specifically examining boswellia’s effects on anxiety. A few preliminary studies suggest boswellia may have anti-anxiety properties:

- In an animal study, mice treated with boswellic acids had decreased anxiety-like behavior in maze tests. The researchers concluded boswellia had anxiolytic effects [1].

- A study in mice found that boswellic acid extracts increased levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. As GABA has calming effects, this suggests a potential mechanism for anti-anxiety benefits [2].

- In a rat study, Boswellia Serrata Gum Extract reversed anxiety induced by chronic stress. The anti-anxiety effect was comparable to diazepam (Valium) [3].

While promising, these are very limited animal studies. More research is needed to determine if boswellia has anti-anxiety effects in humans. But the early findings suggest boswellia may have a protective action on anxiety through modulation of neurotransmitters and stress pathways in the brain.

Can Boswellia Cause Anxiety as a Side Effect?

Currently, there are no studies showing boswellia causes anxiety or makes anxiety worse. In research studies and clinical settings, anxiety has not been reported as an adverse effect of boswellia supplementation [4].

However, a few anecdotal user reports online mention experiencing increased anxiety, nervousness, and agitation after starting boswellia. It’s unclear what may be causing these reactions in isolated cases. Potential explanations include:

- High doses increasing brain neurotransmitter levels too rapidly

- Interactions with other supplements, herbs, or medications  

- Allergic reactions or sensitivity to compounds in boswellia

- Underlying health conditions making a person more susceptible

- The nocebo effect - negative expectation creating a perceived effect

So while boswellia is not known to directly cause anxiety and nervousness, it does seem possible that it could trigger reactions in sensitive individuals, especially at high doses. Those predisposed to anxiety may want to exercise caution with boswellia.

Safety and Side Effects of Boswellia

Boswellia is generally well tolerated when taken as directed. Potential side effects can include stomach upset, diarrhea, nausea, acid reflux, and rash. Boswellia resin may also stimulate blood flow in the uterus, so pregnant women should avoid its use [5].

Boswellia appears safe for continued use in most healthy adults. But there is potential for interactions with anticoagulant drugs, immune suppressing medications, and herbs with sedative effects. Those on anxiety or antidepressant medications should use boswellia cautiously under medical supervision due to possible interactions [6].

Starting with a low dose and increasing slowly can help minimize risk of side effects. Stop taking boswellia if reactions like heart palpitations, anxiety, or sleep disturbances occur. Consult your integrative medicine doctor before using boswellia if you have a health condition or take any medications.

Dosage Information

Typical dosing of Best Boswellia Serrata Extract for general wellness is 300-500 mg daily. For therapeutic benefits, the research-backed dosage is 800-1000 mg per day. It may take several weeks to experience the full effects. Always follow dosage instructions on the product label.

With any new supplement, start low and go slow. Take boswellia with food to reduce stomach upset. If unwanted side effects occur, lower your dose or stop taking boswellia. Seek medical advice if reactions seem severe or do not resolve promptly after discontinuing use.

What Does Boswellia Do to the Brain?

The exact effects of boswellia on brain function and neurotransmitters require more research. But preliminary studies in rodents suggest boswellia may [7]:

- Increase GABA levels - GABA is the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter that promotes calmness and reduces anxiety.

- Modulate glutamate levels - Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter involved in anxiety when overactive. Boswellia may attenuate excess glutamate activity.

- Decrease uptake of dopamine and serotonin - This could increase levels of these mood-regulating neurotransmitters.

- Reduce neuronal hyper-excitation - May protect brain cells from stress-related overstimulation.

These mechanisms of modulating neurotransmitters and neuronal activity in key brain regions could explain boswellia’s potential anti-anxiety and mood-supporting effects seen in early animal studies. But more research is needed to confirm boswellia’s activity in the human brain.

Is Boswellia a Stimulant?

No, boswellia is not considered a stimulant and does not have direct stimulating properties. In fact, preliminary research indicates it may have some calming, anti-anxiety effects in the body and brain.

However, there is limited human research on boswellia’s effects on energy, focus, or alertness. A few individuals have reported feeling restless, jittery, or wired after taking boswellia. While not typical, it’s possible boswellia could act as a stimulant in sensitive people, especially at higher doses.

Is Boswellia an Antidepressant?

There is currently no scientific evidence that boswellia functions as an antidepressant. No studies have evaluated boswellia specifically for treating depression.

However, a couple studies suggest boswellia may have beneficial effects on depression-related brain pathways, such as modulating serotonin and dopamine activity, reducing inflammation, and calming hyper-excitability of neurons [7,8].

So while not clinically proven as an antidepressant, boswellia may help alleviate low mood indirectly through its neurochemical and anti-inflammatory actions. But more human research is needed.

Is Boswellia a Sedative?

Boswellia is not considered a sedative. There is no evidence it causes significant drowsiness or sleepiness like a pharmaceutical sedative.

In fact, early animal research indicates boswellia may have mild stimulating effects in the brain by increasing levels of excitatory neurotransmitters like dopamine [7]. This suggests boswellia is not likely to act as a sedative-hypnotic.

However, everyone can react differently to herbal supplements. Some users have reported improved sleep while taking boswellia, likely due its anti-inflammatory effects. But boswellia should not be taken solely for its sleep-promoting potential.

Can Boswellia Cause Heart Palpitations?

Boswellia is not known to frequently cause heart palpitations. No research reportsboswellia having significant effects on heart rate or rhythm. But anecdotal reports indicate heart palpitations could happen in some very sensitive individuals.

Possible explanations include boswellia interacting with other stimulants or medications the person is taking or allergic-type reactions. High doses may also exacerbate underlying health conditions affecting the heart in predisposed people.

To be safe, those prone to palpitations should start with low boswellia doses of 200-300 mg daily taken with food. Discontinue use if palpitations develop and see a doctor if symptoms are severe.

Is Boswellia Good for Nerves?

Early beast exploration suggests boswellia may have a comforting effect on the nervous system by adding GABA and modulating crucial neurotransmitters involved in anxiety and stress( 1,2).

By reducing inflammation and quelling neuronal overexcitation, boswellia may cover whim-whams cells from damage caused by habitual stress and anxiety. The resin's analgesic properties can also minimize nerve pain.

So while human studies are lacking, boswellia shows promise for benefiting neurological function and having a stabilizing, anti-anxiety influence on the nervous system. More research is underway to confirm these preliminary findings.


Current evidence does not indicate boswellia causes anxiety or nervousness in most people when taken in appropriate doses. primary exploration in creatures actually suggests boswellia may haveanti-anxiety goods by modulating neurotransmitters and inflammation pathways in the brain.

still, a small number of people report replying to boswellia supplementation with increased anxiety, agitation, or heart pulsations. Those predisposed to anxiety or taking anti-anxiety medications should use boswellia cautiously under medical supervision.

Boswellia is not considered a stimulant, sedative, or clinically proven antidepressant. But it may have indirect positive effects on mood and neurological function. Further research is needed to clarify boswellia’s effects on brain chemistry and anxiety in humans.

Always start with low doses of boswellia and watch carefully for any unusual reactions. Consult your integrative medicine doctor before using boswellia if you have anxiety, depression, or are taking any medications or supplements.

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