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 PestleAnswer

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.

Section 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.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Office: 716-389-3076

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