Molecular evidences on anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and memory-boosting effects of frankincense

Phytother Res. 2022 Mar;36(3):1194-1215. doi: 10.1002/ptr.7399. Epub 2022 Feb 10.


Chemical diversity of natural products with drug-like features has attracted much attention from medicine to develop more safe and effective drugs. Their anti-inflammatory, antitumor, analgesic, and other therapeutic properties are sometimes more successful than chemical drugs in controlling disease due to fewer drug resistance and side effects and being more tolerable in a long time. Frankincense, the oleo gum resin extracted from the Boswellia species, contains some of these chemicals. The anti-inflammatory effect of its main ingredient, boswellic acid, has been traditionally used to treat many diseases, mainly those target memory functions. In this review, we have accumulated research evidence from the beneficial effect of Frankincense consumption in memory improvement and the prevention of inflammation and cancer. Besides, we have discussed the molecular pathways mediating the therapeutic effects of this natural supplement.

Keywords: boswellic acid; cancer; frankincense; inflammation; memory improvement; nutraceutical.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Boswellia* / chemistry
  • Frankincense* / pharmacology
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Triterpenes* / pharmacology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Triterpenes
  • Frankincense