Is Boswellia Safe In Those With Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

It may be beneficial but you should speak with your doctor prior to use.


Is BosMed respiratory support not recommended to take if patient has stage 3 kidney disease?

Asked by Lizzy On Nov 24, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Nov 26, 2018
Boswellia In Mortar Pestle


There isn't much data regarding whether or not it is safe to take BosMed, a Boswellia (i.e. Indian frankincense) containing supplement, in those with kidney disease.

The few pharmacokinetic studies that have been done with Boswellia do report that the drug is excreted via the kidneys but don't suggest that kidney disease is a contraindication for use.

One study actually found that Boswellia (in combination with curcumin) may help to reduce inflammation in those with chronic kidney disease who are not undergoing dialysis. There was no determination on whether or not it affects kidney function.

Like all over-the-counter supplements, you should discuss with your doctor regarding whether or not it is safe to add on Boswellia products for your particular medical situation.

Answer Summary

While preliminary studies suggest boswellia may be beneficial in reducing inflammation in individuals with chronic kidney disease, additional safety and efficacy data is needed.

Boswellia Info

Boswellia, specifically the gum resin known as Boswellia serrata, is commonly used in traditional Indian medicine for a variety of indications, including

The exact constituents and mechanism of action of Boswellia for the indications above isn't well known.

When taken as a supplement, most commonly the gum resin is used and is standardized in regard to the '3-O-acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid' (AKBA) constituent.

Boswellia gum resin, in addition to AKBA, contains a variety of essential oils, terpenoids, and flavonoids, all of which may contribute to its effects.

Research shows that Boswellia extracts can have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-arthritis effects by influencing a variety of inflammatory processes in the body, such as 5-lipoxygenase, leukotriene, and prostaglandin synthesis.

Not much is known about potential drug interactions or contraindications with Boswellia. It may have immune-stimulating effects and therefore may need to be used cautiously in those with autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis.

Additionally, Boswellia may inhibit certain CYP liver metabolizing enzymes. Therefore, there are some theoretical interactions between Boswellia and drugs that could result in an increase in drug concentrations and side effects.

Final Words

  • Boswellia is at least partially excreted via the kidneys but preliminary studies suggest that Boswellia may be beneficial for certain individuals with chronic kidney disease. Nevertheless, more studies are needed to determine safety and efficacy.
  • It is important to talk with your doctor before adding on any medication or supplement so you can receive appropriate advice and monitoring.

  1. Pharmacokinetic study of 11-Keto beta-Boswellic acid. PubMed
  2. A Pilot Study to Examine the Effects of an Anti-inflammatory Supplement on Eicosanoid Derivatives in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease. PubMed
  3. Frankincense: systematic review. PubMed
  4. Safety and Toxicological Evaluation of a Novel, Standardized 3-O-Acetyl-11-keto-beta-Boswellic Acid (AKBA)-Enriched Boswellia serrata Extract (5-Loxin(R)). Europe PMC
  5. Chemistry and immunomodulatory activity of frankincense oil. PubMed
  6. Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee--a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial. PubMed
  7. Analysis of frankincense from various Boswellia species with inhibitory activity on human drug metabolising cytochrome P450 enzymes using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry after automated on-line extraction. Springer Link

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