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Boswellia Boosted Pain Relief from Glucosamine

A reader reports that boswellia boosted pain relief of fibromyalgia and plantar fasciitis when it was added to glucosamine and chondroitin.

We are puzzled by the research on supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin. These compounds have a reputation for easing joint pain. In Europe, they are prescribed as pharmaceuticals and meet criteria of effective pain relief (Advances in Therapy, Nov. 2019). A trial conducted in France, Germany, Poland and Spain found the combination of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine as helpful as celecoxib for painful knee osteoarthritis (Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Jan. 2016). Yet North American trials and systematic reviews of glucosamine and chondroitin combinations have been disappointing (Rheumatology International, Aug. 2018). One reader found that boswellia boosted pain relief from glucosamine and chondroitin supplements.

Boswellia Boosted Pain Relief:

Q. When my mother ran out of glucosamine and chondroitin, she had trouble getting around. Her fibromyalgia pain and plantar fasciitis pain went through the roof. Her plantar fasciitis pain previously only hurt when she walked. Now it was hurting a lot when she was sitting still.

We got her double strength glucosamine and chondroitin with boswellia. In less than 24 hours, her pain was gone, including the fibromyalgia and plantar fasciitis!

A. Studies of glucosamine (with or without chondroitin) and of boswellia have focused primarily on pain due to osteoarthritis. A meta-analysis determined that chondroitin can reduce pain, while glucosamine helps control stiffness (Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, July 6, 2018).

Boswellia and Arthritis Pain:

Boswellia also lowered pain and inflammation of arthritis in a placebo-controlled trial (Phytotherapy Research, May 2019).  So far as we can tell, none of these supplements have been tested for the pain of fibromyalgia or plantar fasciitis. It’s great your mother got such relief. We’d love to hear from others who try boswellia, with or without glucosamine and chondroitin, for pain. How well does it work for you? Share your story in the comments on this article. 

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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  • Stellavato A et al, "Comparative analyses of pharmaceuticals or food supplements containing chondroitin sulfate: Are their bioactivities equivalent?" Advances in Therapy, Nov. 2019. DOI: 10.1007/s12325-019-01064-8
  • Hochberg MC et al, "Combined chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine for painful knee osteoarthritis: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, non-inferiority trial versus celecoxib." Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Jan. 2016. DOI: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-206792
  • Simental-Mendía M et al, "Effect of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials." Rheumatology International, Aug. 2018. DOI: 10.1007/s00296-018-4077-2
  • Zhu X et al, "Effectiveness and safety of glucosamine and chondroitin for the treatment of osteoarthritis: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials." Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, July 6, 2018. doi: 10.1186/s13018-018-0871-5
  • Majeed M et al, "A pilot, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to assess the safety and efficacy of a novel Boswellia serrata extract in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee." Phytotherapy Research, May 2019. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.6338
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