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Pain Relief with Indian Frankincense and Turmeric

Between 13.5-47% of the general population is affected by musculoskeletal pain.1 In Ayurvedic medicine, both turmeric (Curcuma longa, Zingiberaceae) rhizome and Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrata, Burseraceae) resin have been traditionally used for arthritic pain and inflammation.

A non-controlled, non-randomized, post-observational clinical study in Belgium explored the effects of a combination of turmeric and Indian frankincense extracts on patients diagnosed with hand osteoarthritis (OA) and associated hand pain.2 Patients (N-232) received a three-month supply of the extract, which contained turmeric (CURTIL02; Artialis Group; Sart-Tilman, Belgium) and boswellia plus vitamin D (Flexofytol®PLUS; Tilman SA; Baillonville, Belgium) with instructions to consume two capsules at breakfast and two at dinner. Pain scores and number of painful joints decreased significantly throughout the intervention (P < 0.0001). A significant decrease in NSAID use and topical analgesics was observed (P < 0.0001 for both). The researchers determined that the combination of Indian frankincense and turmeric extracts taken at a dose of two tablets twice daily concurrent with standard treatment for hand OA significantly reduced chronic pain. Results were more pronounced in patients with severe pain, suggesting that the extracts could complement standard care to manage flare-ups. (See HC 012311-706)

A randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial conducted in India evaluated the effect of turmeric and Indian frankincense on acute musculoskeletal pain in healthy adults with acute exercise-induced musculoskeletal pain within 24 hours of occurrence. The trial product, Rhuleave-K® (Arjuna Natural Pvt. Ltd.; Kerala, India), contained turmeric and Indian frankincense in a black sesame (Sesamum indicum, Pedaliaceae) seed oil. Each dose included two 500 mg capsules and contained 26.6% curcuminoids and 1% acetyl ketoboswellic acid. Pain was separated into five different categories: head and neck, trunk, upper limb, lower limb, and general musculoskeletal pain following exercise for all categories. Individual mean pain intensity decreased significantly in all areas in the trial group at the end of the study (P < 0.05) during rest, movement, and pressure modalities. The generalized musculoskeletal pain group saw a near significant decrease in pain at the end of the study (P = 0.065). The authors conclude that Rhuleave-K may be effective and quick in reducing pain after exercise. (See HC 062256-706)

Lori Glenn
HerbClip™ Managing Editor


1Murthy M, Rudrappa GH, Kare SK, Saklecha S, Basu I, Gupta A. Fast relief of acute musculoskeletal pain in different body parts following exercise – A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled human study with Curcuma longa and Boswellia serrata extracts. Sch J App Med Sci. Mar 2022:10(3): 311-326. doi:10.36347/sjams.2022.v10i03.008.

2Henrotin Y, Dierckxsens Y, Delisse G, Maes N, and Albert A. Curcumin longa and Boswellia serrata extract combination for hand osteoarthritis: An open-label pre-post trial. Pharm Biol. December 2022;60(1):2295-2299. doi: 10.1080/13880209.2022.2147550.