Prospects of boswellic acids as potential pharmaceutics

Planta Med. 2015 Mar;81(4):259-71. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1396313. Epub 2015 Feb 25.


Boswellic acids have long been considered the main bioactive components of frankincense, and many studies in vitro and in animals as well as several clinical studies have confirmed their various bioactivities. In particular, a large number of mechanistic studies have confirmed their anti-inflammatory and antitumor activities. However, not every boswellic acid exhibits a satisfactory pharmacological performance, which depends on the chemical structure and functional groups of the acid. To enhance the pharmacological values of boswellic acids, derivatization has been specifically applied with the aim of discovering more active derivatives of BAs. In addition, the preliminary pharmacokinetic studies of these compounds using various standard methods show their poor bioavailability in humans and rodents, which has led to questions of their pharmacological relevance and potentially limits their use in clinical practice and pharmaceutical development. To improve these effects, some approaches have shown some improvements in effectiveness, and the new formula compatibility approach is considered a very reasonable method for improving the bioavailability of boswellic acids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / pharmacokinetics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic* / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic* / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic* / therapeutic use
  • Biological Availability
  • Boswellia / chemistry*
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Humans
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts* / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts* / pharmacokinetics
  • Plant Extracts* / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts* / therapeutic use
  • Triterpenes* / administration & dosage
  • Triterpenes* / pharmacokinetics
  • Triterpenes* / pharmacology
  • Triterpenes* / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Plant Extracts
  • Triterpenes
  • boswellic acid