Q. I take a number of medications for arthritis. I have had a hip replacement and a shoulder replacement and I am fighting to keep my left knee. I take Nexium and Celebrex plus other meds.

A few months ago I read an article about Boswellia and decided to give it a try. I can’t tell you how wonderful this was. I had no pain!

Then I started to have a bad throat irritation. I went to the ENT, who told me that I was OK, to try a gastro. My gastro did an endoscopy, and couldn’t find a thing (except for an irritated throat), but diagnosed me with gastritis and told me to take an antacid as well as the Nexium.

I started to play with my meds, eliminating one at a time to check for side effects. Boswellia was the culprit, much to my dismay. I have been without the Boswellia for about 10 days. My throat discomfort has almost gone, but the joint pain is back. I have tried gin-soaked raisins, pineapple, and vinegar, but nothing works as well as Boswellia for me. Is there a way I could continue to take it without feeling sick?

A. The Indian herb Boswellia has anti-inflammatory activity but can cause heartburn for some. This may account for your throat irritation. It’s probably no longer an option for you.

You may find other recommendations for coping with arthritis pain in our book Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy. In addition to Boswellia we discuss vitamin D, green-lipped mussel extract, pomegranates, cherries and turmeric. All these have anti-inflammatory benefits. The book is in libraries, bookstores and online at www.peoplespharmacy.com.

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  1. Doggerel
    PDX, OR

    There is Boswellia Phytosome on the market now. The absorption is supposed to be much better, so the dosage is lower. I took standardized herbal extract ( with fatty meal as recommended for intake) and it kicked up my GERD again. I was on Pepcid for years and used D-Limonene to wean off. Now I am trying the phytosome formulated boswellia in the AM and D-L before bed.

  2. Susan
    North Carolina

    I’ve been told to discontinue medications five days before hip replacement surgery. Is Boswellia considered a “medication”?

  3. liz48
    United States

    Does Bowellia interact with levothyroxine?

  4. Boo

    I just have question. Does Boswellia and Turmeric thin your blood?
    Thanks, Boo

    • Danny

      See a doctor and ask for Famotidine 20mg (for Gastric). I am taking Boswellia Ginger complex too and I goes with Famotidine and I am fine.

    • Jane

      Recommended website herbs2000 for information of effects of herbs and spices – like turmeric. Yes. Turmeric thins the blood. Please do not use herbs and spices without knowing, somewhat in depth, how they function. Even Slippery Elm, always stated to be “non-toxic,” can deplete important minerals. Use the drug-herb interaction checkers, for what good they are. I trust the University of Maryland Medical Center website for alternative, and all, medications. Don’t go for what’s popular and recently seen on tv.

  5. sheri
    Guerneville, Ca


    Try taking the Boswellia complex with fat from a turkey or swallowed with tablet folded into cold butter.

    Aloha for now

  6. KN

    put a boswellia capsule inside another empty capsule so it takes longer to dissolve through the gel and after it is past the stomach. You could find it still works but not at a price.

  7. NKB

    Can Boswellia cause high blood pressure? Does it have any affect at all on blood pressure?

  8. D M

    I’m a 65 year old male take blood pressure med hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg in morning and atenol 25mg at night. Also for cholesterol livalo 1mg twice a week and crestor 5mg once a week as it makes me ache, fenofibrate 160mg four times a week. I’ve been trying this rotation for about nine months will see dr. mid june. Now I have 5-LOXIN which is boswellia serrata and acetyl-11keto-beta boswellic acid (AKBA). Taking it thinking will help inflammations as my shoulder hands and elbow hurt as I feel a month ago.

  9. daud

    I just gets lots of frankinsense from oman, but you can get it anywhere and chew it all day, its cheap and effective.

  10. C K

    Get ginger capsules or DGL capsules, or even take one of each with your boswelia, as that will soothe your stomach, plus ginger is also a natural anti-inflammatory.

  11. sr

    I take 300 mg boswellia 3X/day with food for arthritis in my joints for more than a month now and having less upper gi track pain and heartburn. Joints seem to not lock up as much.

  12. SLG

    I take boswellia for knee pain. I recently tore my ACL (I had knee pain before this ACL-tearing accident, and was already taking the boswellia before the accident), and am scheduled for ACL reconstruction surgery in mid-December.
    The pre-surgery instructions say to stop taking anti-inflammatory products for 5 days prior to surgery. Does this apply to boswellia? If “yes”, then is 5 days enough time in advance of surgery to stop taking it? I have found that the pain-relieving effects of boswellia last for 2+ weeks after I stop taking it, so apparently it builds up in your system and lasts for a period of time. (Likewise, I find that it takes several weeks on boswellia before I feel the benefits, so for me, it’s slow to start working and slow to wear off.)
    I just want to make sure I’m not breaking any of the pre-surgery rules.

  13. EL

    I was diagnosed with RA a year ago. Have been trying everything natural including changing my eating habits (no gluten, no sugar, no diary, no grains and no yeast which has helped me lose weight and get rid of some of my GERD. The RA bloodwork still showed a lot of RA activity so my doc put me on Plaquenil, Sulfasalazine and Prednisone. I am working hard to get off all of these meds and one of my holistic docs introduced me to curcumin and boswellia.
    While on these for a number of months I have been able to wean down to 5 mg prednisone. So, BZYSZY, I used to have BAD allergies and GERD until I changed my diet and read about Apple Cider Vinegar WITH THE MOTHER LOAD! I did start taking Apple Cider Vinegar (@ 1 – 2 tblsp in a glass of water) each day. It really seems to help any of my GERD along with eating the right foods and not eating three hours before I go to bed.
    I do raise my head board of my bed up @ 6 inches which also helps my GERD. Maybe the Boswellia is contributing to your GERD but I have found a change in diet and physical habits (including exercise) and lots of prayer really changed my life! Good luck!

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