Have you ever wondered how people in ancient times treated pain and chronic inflammatory issues? Surely, they must have suffered from joint pain just as much as we do! What if we told you there was a “natural” pain-killer substitute that provided genuine relief from joint pains, that too without any side-effects, would you believe us? This powerhouse of an ingredient was first mentioned in the ancient Ayurvedic texts, Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 5/19-20 and Susruta Samhita where it was used for treating arthritis and for medicated herbal smoking – thanks to its scented resin component!
Additionally, it has also been mentioned in Unani texts as an effective remedy for diarrhoea, ringworm, boils, fevers, skin and blood diseases, cardiovascular diseases, mouth sores, bad throat, vaginal discharges, hair-loss, jaundice, haemorrhoids, syphilitic diseases, irregular menses, and stimulation of the liver. You may have guessed that the wonder herb we are going to explore today is called Shallaki.
Shallaki/Kundur/Luban (Hindi name) is also known as Indian Frankincense (English name), Boswellia Serrata (Botanical name), and Bhishan/Hastinashana/Palank/Parvati/Sruva/Kuranda/Salai Guggul (Sanskrit name). The term “Frankincense” comes from the Old French term, “Fran Encens” which means pure incense. This is the reason why Shallaki is extensively used in incense, perfumes, soaps, food, and traditional Asian, African and Middle Eastern medicine. Moving on, it’s time to look at Boswellia Shallaki’s all-round benefits and holistic uses.
Intriguing Facts about Shallaki:
- Studies suggest that acids in Boswellia resin help prevent the formation of Leukotrienes – one of the primary factors that cause body inflammation.
- In a trial on mice with pancreatic cancer, the use of Boswellia treatment showed a 50% reduction in tumour size!
- Boswellia’s properties date back to 700 B.C. when the paired pillars of Ayurvedic medicine were written.
- Gajabhakshya or Boswellia are enjoyed by elephants as a part of their diet.
Shallaki’s Multi-Purpose Uses
Typically, the Boswellia tree’s barks and gums are used for medicinal purposes. Basically, the gum resin of Shallaki plant is the best anti-inflammatory natural drug known to the Ayurvedic world. It is fragrant, transparent, and brownish-yellow in colour. In terms of its effectiveness, it is extremely useful as a stand-alone solution, however, you can enhance its properties by adding some ginger or Guggulu to it.
The Boswellia gum resin is extracted from the bark of Boswellia Serrata tree and is stored in a specially-made bamboo basket to remove the oil content and solidify the resin. Post-processing, the gum-resin can be graded according to the desired flavour, colour, shape and size. Shallaki is a native of Asian and African tropical regions and is found commonly in Punjab, India. It belongs to the genus Burseraceae family of plants.
Being multi-purpose in nature, it can be used as a herbal extract/powder, resin, tablet, cream, or essential oil. Typically, there are three main species of Boswellia extract, namely:
- Boswellia Serrata: Generally used as a capsule, it is the most common nutrition supplement.
- Boswellia Carteri: Originating from East Africa and China, its resin is used to make frankincense oil.
- Boswellia Sacra: Native to Arabia and North-Eastern Africa, this type is also used for frankincense oil.
Shallaki’s Physical & Medicinal Properties
- It is light to digest and dry.
- It tastes bitter, astringent, and sweet – all at the same time.
- It tastes pungent post digestion.
- It acts as a coolant and balances Kapha and Pitta dosha.
Nutritional Information & Dosage
- Shallaki Tablets: The Shallaki tablet can be taken orally. The suggested dose is 300–500 milligrams (mg) two to three times a day.
- Boswellia Acid: As per the Arthritis Foundation, you can consume products containing 60% Boswellic acids at a dosage of 300-400 mg three times per day.
- Bark Decoction: Around 50-100 ml per day is considered safe.
- Boswellia in the Gum Form: For the gum form, 1-3 gm is considered safe.
Here’s a list of the recommended dosage for specific health issues however, please consult your doctor before taking the Shallaki tablet:
- Asthma: 300–400 mg, three times per day
- Crohn’s disease: 1,200 mg, three times per day
- Osteoarthritis: 200 mg, three times per day
- Rheumatoid arthritis: 200–400 mg, three times per day
- Ulcerative colitis: 350–400 mg, three times per day
- Gingivitis: 100–200 mg, three times per day
Important: Please consult your doctor before self-prescribing this multi-dimensional herb in any form. It is important to factor in your body type, health medication history, and any unknown allergies that you may have.
Ayurvedic Medicines with Boswellia Serrata as the Main Ingredient:
- Jirakadi Modak: It is primarily used to treat diseases in the digestive tract like dyspepsia, diarrhoea, chronic fever, colitis, IBS etc.
- Inflanil Oil: It is used topically to reduce pain and inflammation in cases of chronic rheumatism, hemiplegia, etc.
- Boswellia Serrata Essential Oil: Also known as Frankenscence oil, it is used for aromatherapy purposes. You can simply take a few drops of this oil in the palm of your hands and inhale it. It helps to get you more focused, clears your brain, and brings about a sense of peace and calm. Conversely, you can add this oil to your favourite skin cream and apply to leverage a host of skin benefits.
How to Consume Boswellia Serrata (Remedies):
Indian Frankincense comes with a woody and spicy smell. Remember that it can be inhaled, applied on the skin, steeped into a tea, or consumed as a supplement.
1. Massaging Oil: You can massage affected areas of your body with 4-5 drops of Boswellia Serrata essential oil and get immediate relief.
2. Digestive Strength: You can add 1-2 drops of this oil in a glass of water or to a tablespoon of organic honey and consume to strengthen your digestive system.
3. Bone health: Take 1 tsp of Shallaki powder and add ½ tsp of Asthishrunkala (hadjod) powder. Mix well and add 1 cup of water to this solution. Boil for 3-4 mins and strain. Consume thrice a week to strengthen the bones and improve mobility.
4. Dysentery: Take the barks of berry, Arjun, Jamun, mango, and Sallaki and grind all these ingredients to a powder form. Add sugar and honey to around 1-2 gm of this mixture and consume. Alternatively, you can take barks of Shallaki, bamboo, priyal, Jamun, mango and Arjun and grind all these ingredients to a powder form. Then, take 1-2 gm of this mixture and mix it together in milk. Add honey to it and drink.
5. Wounds: After stitching the cut or open wound, put a silk cloth on it. Then, sprinkle the powdered fruit of Shallaki and bind it properly. You’ll notice that the wound is healing faster. Alternatively, you can mix ½ tsp of Shallaki powder and 1 tsp of turmeric powder. Let it sit for 1 hour and then strain the solution. Finally, consume once daily until the wound recovers.
6. Improving Memory: Take ½ tsp of Shallaki powder, ½ tsp of Ashwagandha powder, and ½ tsp of Brahmi powder. Mix well and add to a cup of milk. Then boil for 2-3 mins and strain. Consume this with milk twice a week.
Shallaki’s Herb Benefits: At a Glance
Benefits of Shallaki is no longer a secret. It is used for treating wide-ranging health issues such as skin diseases and jaundice to ulcers and piles. That’s not all. It also helps to treat asthma, depression, osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and cancer.
Shallaki for Joint Pain
From keeping your joints strong and increasing mobility to alleviating any knee pain and preventing the breakdown of cartilage, Shallaki is a wonder herb for people suffering from arthritis. Its active component – Boswellia Acid – possesses anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Perhaps the biggest advantage of Boswellic Acid or Boswellin is that it can be applied topically or taken orally to cater to joint pain. As per research, patients who consumed Boswellia reported decreased knee pain and increased knee flexibility and walking distance. They also reported less frequent swelling of the knee joint.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
For people suffering from ulcerative colitis (UC), Crohn’s disease, and IBD -Shallaki doubles up as an effective anti-inflammatory natural alternative. Studies suggest that around 70% of patients who took Boswellia (thrice daily at 300mg per dose for 6 weeks) got cured as compared to 40% on an antibiotic medicine to treat IBD. Similarly, another study displayed that the Boswellia Serrata extract H15 appeared to be just as effective and without the side effects as compared to anti-inflammatory drug mesalazine for people suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Asthma And Excessive Cough
One study concluded that 70% of patients with chronic bronchial asthma experienced improved breathing and lower asthma attacks after a 6-week treatment. The dosage consumed was 300mg at a frequency of 3 times daily.
Alternative Suggestive Remedy: You can mix ghee and honey in 2-4 grams of Shallaki powder, and consume for immediate relief.
Shallaki also boosts immunity and blood circulation due to its anti-oxidant properties. Naturally, this speeds up the body’s ability to heal viral and bacterial infections. Plus, it aids in the healing of external wounds (bruises) and internal wounds (haemorrhage).
Shallaki is known to promote normal and comfortable menstruation, clear congestion in the uterus, and enhance circulation in reproductive organs, making it ideal for women suffering from irregular menstruation.
There is insufficient evidence to support the below mentioned claims, however, Shallaki has been known to help people suffering from:
Using Indian Frankincense cream can reduce fine surface lines, roughness, and sun damage in women. It also helps to reduce the damage of connective tissues.
A study claimed that taking 4200 mg of Indian frankincense daily reduced tumour size in patients.
Using Shallaki as an essential oil can also reduce the intensity and frequency of cluster headaches. It acts as a brain tonic and also helps improve one’s memory and intellect.
Suggested Remedy: Grate the bark of Shallaki and apply it on the forehead.
Boswellia acts as a potent aphrodisiac and enhances sexual pleasure.
Shallaki can be used to treat eye disorders.
Suggested Remedy: Mix sugar and honey in Shallaki juice and apply on the eyes like a mascara.
Where You Can Buy It Online
There are a number of established Ayurveda brands that offer Shallaki in the tablet/capsule form. Let’s look at its benefits and prices.
- Shallaki Patanjali: The Shallaki capsules from Patanjali are priced at 600 INR. If you’re looking for healthy joints, strong muscle functioning, and holistic neuromuscular well-being, this herbal supplement is for you. The recommended dose is to consume 1 capsule, twice a day after eating food. It is best to take it with warm water.
- Himalaya Shallaki: The Himalaya Shallaki tablets – a bestseller on Amazon – are priced at around 120 INR. If you’re wondering about Himalaya Shallaki’s uses, it can be used to treat arthritis and obesity. The recommended dosage for this is 1-2 tablets twice daily or as directed by the physician.
Side-Effects & Precautionary Measures
- Pregnant or lactating mothers should avoid consuming it.
- Other rare side-effects of Shallaki if taken in large doses and for over six months could include stomach pain, nausea, acid reflux, diarrhoea, and allergic skin rashes if applied topically. It is always recommended that you do a skin patch test to ensure that you’re not allergic to the herb.
- It is also important to note that Boswellia may also interact with and decrease the effects of anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and aspirin.
Important: Please consult your doctor before consuming it in any form, just as a precautionary measure.
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