Some years ago, one of my students,
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.
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 has been
used extensively 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 growth.
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
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, but only yesterday did I open the bag of Boswellia
serrata to fill some capsules for the father of the man I
met last week. The frankincense with which I had been working
for years has a lovely aroma, but I had used it more for religious
rituals than medicine. Boswellia serrata is more subtle
than the frankincense that is better known to me. It 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. Boswellia serrata became an immediate friend.