A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, cross over study to evaluate the analgesic activity of Boswellia serrata in healthy volunteers using mechanical pain model

Indian J Pharmacol. Sep-Oct 2014;46(5):475-9. doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.140570.

Abstract

Objective: Experimental pain models in human healthy volunteers are advantageous for early evaluation of analgesics. All efforts to develop nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which are devoid of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular system effects are still far from achieving a breakthrough. Hence we evaluated the analgesic activity of an ayurvedic drug, Boswellia serrata by using validated human pain models which has shown its analgesic activity both in-vitro and preclinical studies to evaluate the analgesic activity of single oral dose (125 mg, 2 capsules) of Boswellia serrata compared to placebo using mechanical pain model in healthy human subjects.

Materials and methods: After taking written informed consent, twelve healthy subjects were randomized (1:1) to receive single oral dose of Boswellia serrata (Shallaki (®)) 125 mg, 2 capsules or identical placebo in a crossover design. Mechanical pain was assessed using Ugo basile analgesymeter (by Randall Selitto test) at baseline and at 1 hr, 2 hrs and 3 hrs after test drug administration. Pain Threshold force and time and Pain Tolerance force and time were evaluated. Statistical analysis was done by paired t-test.

Results: Twelve healthy volunteers have completed the study. Mean percentage change from baseline in Pain Threshold force and time with Boswellia serrata when compared to placebo had significantly increased [Force: 9.7 ± 11.0 vs 2.9 ± 3.4 (P = 0.05) and time: 9.7 ± 10.7 vs 2.8 ± 3.4 (P = 0.04)] at third hr. Mean Percentage change from baseline in Pain Tolerance force and time with Boswellia serrata when compared to placebo had significantly (P ≤ 0.01) increased at 1 hr, 2 hrs and 3 hrs.

Conclusion: In the present study, Boswellia serrata significantly increased the Pain Threshold and Pain Tolerance force and time compared to placebo. Both study medications were well tolerated. Further multiple dose studies may be needed to establish the analgesic efficacy of the drug.

Keywords: Boswellia serrata; human pain models; randall selitto test; ugo basile analgesymeter.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analgesics / isolation & purification
  • Analgesics / pharmacology*
  • Boswellia / chemistry*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Analgesics
  • Plant Extracts