Curcumin is the yellow spice derived from the plant Curcuma longa, commonly called turmeric. Extensive research over the last 50 years indicates that curcumin can both prevent and treat cancer and inhibit inflammation. The anti-cancer potential of curcumin stems from its ability to suppress proliferation of a wide variety of tumor cells and down-regulate or inhibit various enzymes and biochemical pathways involved in cancerous activity and tumor growth.
Curcumin has been described as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Pharmacologically, curcumin has been found to be safe. Human clinical trials indicated no dose-limiting toxicity when administered at doses up to 10 g/day. All of these studies suggest that curcumin has enormous potential in the prevention and therapy of cancer.
Boswellia frereana (known as Frankincense) comes from a tree native to Somalia. Clinical studies have shown its benefits for both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. Its anti-inflammatory properties have also been shown to make frankincense a safe and effective treatment for asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases, such as colitis, Crohn’s disease and ileitis.
A 2010 study on boswellia’s potential to reduce cartilage degeneration showed that it inhibited the breakdown of the collagenous matrix; reduced potency of various metalloproteinases, which are enzymes that break down protein molecules; and significantly reduced the production of inflammatory agents like prostaglandins and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2). Epi-lupeol was identified as the principal constituent of B. frereana.
This was the first report on the observed anti-inflammatory properties of Boswellia frereana in an in vitro model of cartilage degradation. The researchers demonstrated that B. frereana prevents collagen degradation and inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory mediators and MMPs and therefore should be examined further as a potential therapeutic agent for treating inflammatory symptoms associated with arthritis.
So if you are experiencing chronic, inflammatory pain, it wouldn’t hurt to try increasing your intake of these two herbs.