In this article, we’ll explore the uses of both Boswellia and turmeric and whether combining both compounds would be beneficial and enhance their effects.

Boswellia: What Is It and How Does It Work?

The Boswellia serrata tree is a large, branching tree that is native to the dry, mountainous regions of the Middle East, Northern Africa, and India [1]. It is also known as Indian Frankincense. More than 600 different species belong to this family and can be found in all tropical regions.

The species Boswellia serrata is the one that is utilized the most frequently. Since ancient times, it has been utilized to treat various conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, diarrhea, skin disease, cardiovascular disease, bronchitis, vaginal issues, asthma, and hair loss, to name just a few.

On the other hand, Boswellia has been recognized by contemporary medicine as an example of [1]:

  • Hepatoprotective (protects the liver)
  • Analgesic (pain-reliever)
  • Anti-atherosclerotic (anti-coronary plaque)
  • Antihyperlipidemic (regulates blood lipids)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiarthritic

Boswellia’s health benefits are attributed to its boswellic acids, which inhibit 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) [2].

5-lipoxygenase produces inflammatory leukotrienes. These leukotrienes contribute to the progression of inflammation by causing migration, cell adhesion, calcium dislocation, and free radical damage of cells that produce inflammation in areas of the body that are already inflamed [1].

Its anti-inflammatory effects are due, in part, to the fact that it inhibits tumor necrosis factor-alpha and other inflammatory factors [3].

Turmeric: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Turmeric, also known as Curcuma Longa, is a coloring agent, food preservative, and a spice that has been used for centuries as a member of the ginger family. Turmeric is also known by its scientific name, Curcuma Longa [4].

It has been used to treat many conditions in Ayurvedic medicine, including osteoarthritis and skin diseases such as psoriasis, trauma, fever, wounds, jaundice, and ulcers [5].

On the other hand, curcumin is turmeric’s most important active component and a type of polyphenol. Turmeric contains several other curcuminoids (natural plant compounds) besides curcumin, such as demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and cyclocurcumin, which was recently discovered.

Curcumin is the curcuminoid that has received the most attention from researchers and possesses the most potent health-enhancing properties. Therefore, most commercial preparations have about 77% curcumin, 17% demethoxycurcumin, and 3% bisdemethoxycurcumin [4].

More than 3000 studies have been conducted to investigate the role that curcumin plays as a powerful anti-atherosclerotic compound, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant with medical benefits for several diseases, including the following [4]:

  • Lung fibrosis 
  • Heart disease
  • Neurodegenerative diseases (disease affecting the nervous system)
  • Arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Allergy
  • AIDS
  • Nephrotoxicity (deterioration in kidney function)
  • IBS
  • Psoriasis

The effects that curcumin has on virtually every bodily system are potent. It interacts with various cells, such as apoptosis-related proteins, adhesion molecules, enzymes, inflammatory cytokines, protein kinases, growth factors, and transcription factors, which modulate its actions [4].

Boswellia and Turmeric benefits; Should I combine both?

The question now is, what do these two substances have in common, and how do they cooperate to improve one another’s health?

Patients who are suffering from inflammatory and degenerative conditions have benefited from the use of curcuminoids and Boswellia gum resin, which have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years [6].

Although both curcumin and Boswellia are effective in treating arthritis, their chemical structures are quite different from one another. As a result, the primary molecular targets of each are completely different [7].

Both of these plants contain active compounds, and those compounds use a variety of different mechanisms rather than focusing on a single enzyme or receptor. Consequently, they offer synergistic interactions that are applicable in the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis (OA) [6].

Newer research indicates that inflammatory processes may play a significant role in the development of osteoarthritis (OA), contrary to the long-held belief that the primary cause of OA is the “wear and tear” of cartilage that occurs over time [6].

Studies suggest that key inflammatory mediator catabolic actions may be halted or slowed by consuming curcuminoid and Boswellia formulations during the earliest stages of the disease. It’s possible that the inflammatory pathways contributing to OA progression can also be halted by curcuminoid and Boswellia formulations [8].

According to research, curcuminoids and Boswellia can both prevent further cartilage degradation by inhibiting the secretion and activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and reversing decreases in glycosaminoglycan levels. Both of these actions are necessary to prevent further degradation of cartilage [6].

Despite this, a growing body of evidence suggests that the anti-inflammatory effects of the combination of Boswellia and curcumin may have applications beyond the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) for other diseases that feature an inflammatory component [9].

Traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) therapy, which may have a detrimental effect on cartilage metabolism over time, may be replaced with herbal remedies, which may be safer and more effective.

Dosages Of Boswellia And Turmeric

The dose of any medicine varies greatly depending upon

  • The purpose of its intake
  • Health condition of the person taking it
  • History of allergic sensitivity of the person taking it
  • Duration for which the drug is being used

The safety of the dose of any chemical can change if any of the above-mentioned conditions is changed. The minimum dose that is safe for one person can be harmful for others. So, it is best that before taking any medicine or supplement, consult your family physician and use it after their recommendation to protect yourself from its harmful effects.

Boswellia serrata extract can be used safely at 1000 mg daily for up to 6 months without causing any major side effects. It does not cause any side effects usually when used under this dosage.

Turmeric usually does not cause any serious side effects even when used up to 8 grams daily for up to 2 months. Also, taking 3 grams of turmeric daily for up to 3 months seems to be safe, according to some researchers. It is also considered safe when applied to the skin [10].

Side effects Of Boswellia And Turmeric

Although Boswellia and Curcumin are natural extracts, they still have some side effects. They can cause;

  • Nausea
  • Acid reflux
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rashes (especially when applied directly to the skin)
  • Interaction with other drugs like antiplatelets, naproxen, ibuprofen, and other NSAIDs 

Note: These side effects are associated with high doses or when used with other drugs like other anti-inflammatory drugs.


Turmeric (curcumin) is used as an anti-inflammatory agent in the form of tablets, creams, mouthwashes, gels, and tonics for centuries by people. However, combining turmeric with other herbal anti-inflammatory agents, such as Boswellia Serrata, is becoming a common practice these days, especially for joint problems in obese, diabetic, and other co-morbid patients who cannot tolerate harmful chemicals for their painful joints.

A major benefit of combining both herbal ingredients is their safety and yet efficacy. Boswellia, though, has some side effects, but they occur only in certain individuals, especially when used at high doses.

Research regarding their combined use in other conditions for their safety and efficacy is lacking, but surely one day, both these products will be used in many anti-inflammatory conditions.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References and Fact Checking

  • Siddiqui MZ. Boswellia serrata, a potential antiinflammatory agent: an overview. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2011 May;73(3):255-61. doi: 10.4103/0250-474X.93507. PMID: 22457547; PMCID: PMC3309643.
  • Abdel-Tawab M, Werz O, Schubert-Zsilavecz M. Boswellia serrata: an overall assessment of in vitro, preclinical, pharmacokinetic and clinical data. Clin Pharmacokinet. 2011 Jun;50(6):349-69. doi: 10.2165/11586800-000000000-00000. PMID: 21553931.
  • Gayathri B, Manjula N, Vinaykumar KS, Lakshmi BS, Balakrishnan A. Pure compound from Boswellia serrata extract exhibits anti-inflammatory property in human PBMCs and mouse macrophages through inhibition of TNFalpha, IL-1beta, NO and MAP kinases. Int Immunopharmacol. 2007 Apr;7(4):473-82. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2006.12.003. Epub 2007 Jan 8. PMID: 17321470.
  • Zhou H, Beevers CS, Huang S. The targets of curcumin. Curr Drug Targets. 2011 Mar 1;12(3):332-47. doi: 10.2174/138945011794815356. PMID: 20955148; PMCID: PMC3025067.
  • Singh S. From exotic spice to modern drug? Cell. 2007 Sep 7;130(5):765-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2007.08.024. PMID: 17803897.
  • Bannuru RR, Osani MC, Al-Eid F, Wang C. Efficacy of curcumin and Boswellia for knee osteoarthritis: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2018 Dec;48(3):416-429. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2018.03.001. Epub 2018 Mar 10. PMID: 29622343; PMCID: PMC6131088.
  • Haroyan A, Mukuchyan V, Mkrtchyan N, Minasyan N, Gasparyan S, Sargsyan A, Narimanyan M, Hovhannisyan A. Efficacy and safety of curcumin and its combination with boswellic acid in osteoarthritis: a comparative, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018 Jan 9;18(1):7. doi: 10.1186/s12906-017-2062-z. PMID: 29316908; PMCID: PMC5761198.
  • Mäkelä JT, Han SK, Herzog W, Korhonen RK. Very early osteoarthritis changes sensitively fluid flow properties of articular cartilage. J Biomech. 2015 Sep 18;48(12):3369-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.06.010. Epub 2015 Jun 27. PMID: 26159056.
  • Henrotin Y, Priem F, Mobasheri A. Curcumin: a new paradigm and therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of osteoarthritis: curcumin for osteoarthritis management. Springerplus. 2013 Dec;2(1):56. doi: 10.1186/2193-1801-2-56. Epub 2013 Feb 18. PMID: 23487030; PMCID: PMC3591524.
  • Chainani-Wu N. Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric (Curcuma longa). J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Feb;9(1):161-8. doi: 10.1089/107555303321223035. PMID: 12676044.


  • Dr Faisal Rasheed, M.D.

    Dr Faisal is a certified Medical Doctor currently carrying the role of a Senior Medical Officer in the Orthopaedic Surgery Department of his local hospital. With his vast experience and knowledge in the medical field, Dr Faisal is well-equipped to share educational content that helps readers improve their health and wellness. During his hospital shifts, he diligently cares for and treats patients under him. And during his spare time, he enjoys crafting health and wellness content that inspires readers to make positive changes. LinkedIn


Dr Faisal is a certified Medical Doctor currently carrying the role of a Senior Medical Officer in the Orthopaedic Surgery Department of his local hospital. With his vast experience and knowledge in the medical field, Dr Faisal is well-equipped to share educational content that helps readers improve their health and wellness. During his hospital shifts, he diligently cares for and treats patients under him. And during his spare time, he enjoys crafting health and wellness content that inspires readers to make positive changes. LinkedIn