Proulcerogenic effect of water extract of Boswellia sacra oleo gum resin in rats

Pharm Biol. 2016;54(2):225-30. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2015.1028553. Epub 2015 Apr 8.


Context: The water extract of Boswellia sacra Flueck. (Burseraceae) is used in the treatment of gastric and hepatic disorders in the Arab countries.

Objective: The effect of Boswellia sacra water extract on gastric secretion and experimentally induced gastric ulcers in rats was studied.

Materials and methods: Acetic acid-induced chronic gastric ulcers, pylorus ligation, aspirin-induced, ethanol-induced, and restraint plus cold stress-induced gastric ulcer models were employed. The effect on normal rats was also studied. The water extract of B. sacra was administered orally at doses of 2 and 5 ml/kg once daily ranging from single dose to 30 d treatment depending on the model. The extract was subjected to GC-MS analysis to determine the presence of various phytoconstituents.

Results: Boswellia sacra water extract (5 ml/kg, p.o (per os)) aggravated acetic acid-induced chronic ulcers, wherein an increase in ulcer index (p < 0.01) and ulcer score (p < 0.05) was observed. In pylorus-ligated rats, the extract increased gastric content volume (p < 0.01), free acidity (p < 0.01), total acidity (p < 0.01), ulcer index (p < 0.01), and pepsin activity (p < 0.05). There was no significant effect on the development of ethanol-induced and aspirin-induced ulcers while an increase in the development of stress-induced ulcers was observed (p < 0.01). The extract did not produce any ulcers when administered to normal rats. The dose of 2 ml/kg was less proulcerogenic compared with 5 ml/kg. The GC-MS analysis revealed the presence of several phytoconstituents that included menthol, 3-cyclohexen-1-ol, and octanoic acid.

Conclusion: Boswellia sacra water extract has proulcerogenic activity due to its gastric hypersecretory effect.

Keywords: Gastric cytoprotection; gastric secretion; ulcer index; volatile oils.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Boswellia / chemistry*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gastric Acid / metabolism*
  • Gastric Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Gums / chemistry*
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Stomach Ulcer / chemically induced*
  • Stomach Ulcer / metabolism
  • Water / chemistry


  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Gums
  • Water