Some years ago, Gabriela Wagener-Ewald,
a practitioner in Nuremburg, told me that German doctors and
naturopaths were getting excellent results—in ten days
or less—with an Indian herb, Boswellia serrata,
in the treatment of brain tumors. I have been cautiously passing
on this information "for what it is worth," knowing
that people with such tumors suffer serious changes in function
due to the pressure on the brain, a problem that is usually
aggravated by edema.
Boswellia serrata is a type of frankincense, one of the gifts brought by the Wise Men to
celebrate the birth of Jesus. The frankincense used in the
West is usually Boswellia carteri, a Somalian species
whose properties have not been studied nearly as much as one
might think given the Biblical references.
At the Bioneers Conference (in 2000), a man
told me that his father has eight tumors. He wanted to know
if there is anything at all that would help his father. He
went on to do some internet research and to hire someone to
translate some of the German language material. Gabriela's
report is evidently well supported by research in Europe.
Prof. Thomas Simmet has researched Boswellia
serrata on astrocytomes, a tumor noted for its propensity
to metastasize. Prof. Simmet's background is in pharmacology,
and he suggests that the boswellic acids reduce inflammation.
I was familiar with this research because boswellia is used
extensively in Ayurveda to reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Prof. Simmet proposes that boswellia inhibits the production
of an enzyme that causes the leukotriene production associated
with inflammation. In laboratory tests, Prof. Simmet observed
that the more malignant the tumor, the more leukotrienes
it produces. This seems to perpetuate a cycle of almost unstoppable
Working with a neurosurgeon,
Michael Winking, 25 patients were administered a dry extract
of boswellia for one week. The tumors were then surgically
removed. About half the patients had such significant regressions
that the tumors had all but disappeared. They used a dosage
of 800 mg. three times a day.
CT before Boswellia
|CT after Boswellia [10 weeks]
CT images compliments of Dr. Dana Flavin-Koenig
Foundation for Collaborative Medicine and Research
At the university hospitals of
Bochum and Giessen, patients with gliome tumors were administered
somewhat higher dosages of Boswellia serrata, 3600 mg.
per day. Within only a few days, many symptoms associated with
brain tumors, such as headaches and lameness, were greatly
lessened. While much of this effect might be more related to
the reduction in edema than to the regression of the tumor,
swelling and the resultant pressures are serious side effects
of malignancy that impact the quality of life. The reports
of these trials are preliminary and researchers are unwilling
to speculate as to the long-term results and whether or not
tumor growth is arrested.
I have long been familiar
with Boswellia carteri and
more recently Boswellia frereana came
into my life. Both are lovely and can be used to make incense. All
the different varieties of frankincense have a wonderful
aroma and spiritual quality, but Boswellia serrata is
more subtle than the frankincense used ceremonially in the West. Boswellia
serrata is also very aromatic,
but the difference is something like jasmine and stephanotis.
Jasmine is powerful and grabs attention whereas stephanotis
wafts more delicately and lingers elegantly on the senses.
Soon after hearing about Boswellia
serrata and the research conducted in Germany, I decided to
experiment on a dental abscess that suddenly flared up. I therefore
took some capsules; the following day, the inflammation was
about half what it was before taking the Boswellia