Effect of food intake on the bioavailability of boswellic acids from a herbal preparation in healthy volunteers

Planta Med. 2004 Dec;70(12):1155-60. doi: 10.1055/s-2004-835844.


In this study we investigated the effects of concomitant food intake on the bioavailability of distinct boswellic acids (BAs) from the test preparation BSE-018, a dry extract from Boswellia serrata gum resin. In a randomised, open, single-dose, two-way crossover study, healthy male subjects received three capsules of BSE-018 equivalent to 786 mg dry extract of Boswellia serrata gum resin either in the fasted state or together with a standardised high-fat meal. BA plasma concentrations were analysed for up to 60 h after oral dosing by reversed phase HPLC. As compared to the fasted state (treatment A), the administration of BSE-018 concomitantly with a high-fat meal (treatment B) led to several-fold increased areas under the plasma concentration-time curves as well as peak concentrations of beta-boswellic acid (betaBA), 11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (KbetaBA) and acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKbetaBA). Plasma levels of both acetyl-alpha-boswellic acid (AalphaBA) and alphaBA became only detectable when administered with treatment B, i.e., the high-fat meal. Accordingly, pharmacokinetic data could be calculated for betaBA, KbetaBA and AKbetaBA (treatment A) and for betaBA, KbetaBA, AKbetaBA, alphaBA, and AalphaBA (treatment B). For the first time these data reveal detailed kinetics of BAs after oral dosing of an extract and demonstrate a profound effect of food intake on the pharmacokinetic profile of the BAs. This finding should be very important whenever BAs would be considered for therapeutic use.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biological Availability
  • Boswellia*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Fats*
  • Eating*
  • Food-Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacokinetics
  • Postprandial Period
  • Reference Values


  • Dietary Fats
  • Plant Extracts