Boswellic acids/Boswellia serrata extract as a potential COVID-19 therapeutic agent in the elderly.
Inflammopharmacology. 2021 Aug ;29(4):1033-1048. Epub 2021 Jul 5. PMID: 34224069
Adel A Gomaa
The most severe cases of COVID-19, and the highest rates of death, are among the elderly. There is an urgent need to search for an agent to treat the disease and control its progression. Boswellia serrata is traditionally used to treat chronic inflammatory diseases of the lung. This review aims to highlight currently published research that has shown evidence of potential therapeutic effects of boswellic acids (BA) and B. serrata extract against COVID-19 and associated conditions. We reviewed the published information up to March 2021. Studies were collected through a search of online electronic databases (academic libraries such as PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Egyptian Knowledge Bank). Several recent studies reported that BAs and B. serrata extract are safe agents and have multiple beneficial activities in treating similar symptoms experienced by patients with COVID-19. Because of the low oral bioavailability and improvement of buccal/oral cavity hygiene, traditional use by chewing B. serrata gum may be more beneficial than oral use. It is the cheapest option for a lot of poorer people. The promising effect of B. serrata and BA can be attributed to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, cardioprotective, anti-platelet aggregation, antibacterial, antifungal, and broad antiviralactivity. B. serrata and BA act by multiple mechanisms. The most common mechanism may be through direct interaction with IκB kinases and inhibiting nuclear factor-κB-regulated gene expression. However, the most recent mechanism proposed that BA not only inhibited the formation of classical 5-lipoxygenase products but also produced anti-inflammatory LOX-isoform-selective modulators. In conclusion a small to moderate dose B. serrata extract may be useful in the enhancing adaptive immune response in mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19. However, large doses of BA may be beneficial in suppressing uncontrolled activation of the innate immune response. More clinical results are required to determine with certainty whether there is sufficient evidence of the benefits against COVID-19.