seeds of Boswellia serrata, Indian Frankincense
Boswellia serrata Samen
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Boswellia serrata, also known as Indian frankincense, is plant species belonging to the family Burseraceae. The plant’s synonyms include Boswellia glabra, Boswellia thurifera, and Boswellia balsmifera. Other names for the plant are shallaki and salai. Boswellia serrata is indigenous to large swaths of Pakistan and India. Boswellia serrata is a medium-sized tree with alternate compounds leaves with ovate leaflets. Each leaf has a length of 20 to 45 cm. The tree is deciduous and can grow to a height of 9 to 15 metres. The thin bark has an ashy or reddish colouration and regularly peels off. Flowers are small and white and higher in number on the branch ends that toward the centre of the plant. The plant has winged fruits that have a length of 1.3 cm. Indian traditional medicinal practices (Ayurveda) rely on Boswellia serrata as the source of a remedy for arthritis. The plant also provides a remedy for asthma, Crohn disease, and ulcerative colitis. An additional use of the plant is as the chief ingredient in the manufacture of anti-aging cream. One can extract resin from the plant by making a small cut to the trunk or the branches of the tree. The exposure to air instantly causes the resin to coagulate after which one can pick it. Many religious groups burn the resin as incense during ceremonies. Boswellia serrata also contains many chemical components that are of interest to pharmaceutical companies. The tree grows best in tropical climates where there’s plenty of sunshine, and the soils have good drainage and are rich in nutrients. The moisture content, however, doesn’t have to be too high given the plant can cope with dry soils. Boswellia serrata takes 8 to 10 years before it begins to deliver high quality resin. A healthy mature tree produces between 1 to 1.5 kg of resin per year.
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