Analysis of Frankincense From Various Boswellia Species With Inhibitory Activity on Human Drug Metabolising Cytochrome P450 Enzymes Using Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry After Automated On-Line Extraction

J Chromatogr A. 2006 Apr 21;1112(1-2):255-62. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2005.11.116. Epub 2005 Dec 20.


In our search for herbal remedies with inhibitory activity on cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, we identified extracts of the gum-resin of Boswellia carteri, Boswellia frereana, Boswellia sacra and Boswellia serrata as equally potent, non-selective inhibitors of the major drug metabolising CYP enzymes 1A2/2C8/2C9/2C19/2D6 and 3A4. LC/LC/ESI-MS fingerprint analyses of the boswellic acids 11-keto-beta-boswellic acid, alpha-boswellic acid, beta-boswellic acid and their 3-O-acylated derivatives were used for the authentication of the commercially obtained frankincense samples. Although the boswellic acids could be identified as moderate to potent inhibitors of the applied CYP enzymes, they are not the major CYP inhibitory principle of frankincense.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Automation
  • Boswellia / chemistry*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Online Systems
  • Triterpenes / analysis*


  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Triterpenes
  • boswellic acid