Bib­li­cal in­cense could be 21st cen­tury cure

The Northern Star - - HEALTHY LIVING -

PRE­CIOUS resin frank­in­cense could be­come a key treat­ment for arthri­tis, re­search shows.

The bib­li­cal in­cense, col­lected from the bark of boswellia trees, has been recog­nised for mil­len­nia as a treat­ment for wounds and in­fec­tions.

Sci­en­tists have found com­pounds within it can at­tach them­selves to pro­teins that cause in­flam­ma­tion – such as arthri­tis – and block them.

The trees, na­tive to Africa and Asia, prob­a­bly pro­duce the com­pounds as pro­tec­tion against in­sect or fun­gal at­tack, ex­perts be­lieve.

Pro­fes­sor Will Set­zer said his find­ings could mean new drugs to treat in­flam­ma­tion. He said the main prob­lem was to work out how to make the com­pounds avail­able to hu­mans.

Prof Set­zer, based at Amer­ica’s Univer­sity of Alabama, said: “Boswellia is not wa­ter sol­u­ble so it’s dif­fi­cult to get it into the blood­stream.”

Biotech firm Cam­bridge Nu­traceu­ti­cals, how­ever, has de­vel­oped a prod­uct it claims over­comes the prob­lem.

It said com­bin­ing boswellia with soy lecithin, a fat, en­hances the tree’s ac­tive in­gre­di­ents in the stom­ach, en­abling them to get into the blood.

Dr Miriam Fer­rer, a molec­u­lar bi­ol­o­gist with the firm, said: “We’ve shown that this com­po­nent al­lows the boswellia to get to where it needs to go to pro­duce the anti-in­flam­ma­tory ef­fect, and at the right amounts.”

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