Boswellia serrata is found in India, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. “Salai guggal”, the gummy exudate has been traditionally used in the Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-arthritic and topical anti-inflammatory active.
Strips of bark are peeled away, yielding a gummy oleo-resin which contains essential oils, terpenoids, and gum. One of the main active constituent are boswellic acids. They inhibit two pro-inflammatory enzymes: The 5-lipoxygenase which generates inflammatory leukotrienes causing formation of superoxide radicals, redness, itching and flakiness.
The other inflammatory enzyme is the human leukocyte elastase (HLE) which in turn triggers the inflammatory process and causes damage to connective tissue which leads to less firm and elastic skin. The dual inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase and HLE is unique to boswellic acids.