Antiarthritic activity of a standardized, multiherbal, Ayurvedic formulation containing Boswellia serrata: in vitro studies on knee cartilage from osteoarthritis patients

Phytother Res. 2011 Sep;25(9):1375-80. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3365. Epub 2011 Feb 24.


A validated in vitro model of cartilage damage and published data were used showing that this model measures the chondroprotective and antiinflammatory effects of different antiarthritic drugs. In this report, this model was used to evaluate the effects of a new antiarthritic Ayurvedic formulation containing Zingiber officinale root, Tinospora cordifolia stem, Phyllanthus emblica fruit and oleoresin of Boswellia serrata. Glucosamine sulphate was used as a positive control in the study. Aqueous extracts of each drug were tested on explant cultures of knee cartilage obtained from osteoarthritis patients undergoing knee replacement surgery. The new formulation caused a sustained and statistically significant inhibition in the release of glycosaminoglycans and aggrecan by cartilage explants from these patients. This formulation also induced a transient antiinflammatory effect as measured by a reduction in the levels of nitric oxide released by explants. Furthermore, the data strongly suggest that oleoresin of B. serrata plays a crucial role in the chondroprotective and antiinflammatory activity of this formulation. In summary, this report provides the first, direct, in vitro biochemical evidence of anti-arthritic activity a new Ayurvedic formulation. This formulation significantly reduced damage of articular knee cartilage from chronic osteoarthritis patients.

Keywords: Boswellia serrata; aggrecan; glucosamine sulphate; osteoarthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aggrecans / metabolism
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Boswellia / chemistry*
  • Cartilage, Articular / drug effects*
  • Glycosaminoglycans / metabolism
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Knee Joint / drug effects*
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology*


  • Aggrecans
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Preparations
  • oleoresins
  • Nitric Oxide