An incense-based treatment for multiple sclerosis?

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  • 1 million people suffer from MS in Europe
  • Worldwide, this disease affects 2.8 million patients.

110,000 people suffer from multiple sclerosis in France, according to National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm). It is the leading cause of severe non-traumatic disability in young adults.

Currently, there is no cure for this disease. The only proposals are aimed at resting patients and improving their quality of life. But according to a new study conducted in Germany and published in British Medical Journal (BMJ), researchers may have discovered one. A strange fact: this is incense!

Boswellic acid and 5-lipoxygenase

Initially, preliminary work done in the 1990s showed the presence of large amounts of an enzyme, 5-lipoxygenase, in the brains of patients with multiple sclerosis.5-lipoxygenase is part of a class of fats that acts as a messenger of inflammation in the body. But what does frankincense have to do with? The link is the boswellic acid in the resin used to make frankincense, which specifically inhibits the action of 5- lipoxygenase which, if administered to a patient, can reduce the inflammation of his disease.

We assume that the boswellic acids are the bioactive principles of frankincense, which has been used for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory in oriental and traditional oriental medicine.Researchers say. Several small randomized clinical trials have demonstrated favorable safety and tolerability profiles of frankincense extracts in a number of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.“.

Incense in the form of capsules

To verify that boswellic acid could be effective in treating multiple sclerosis, scientists conducted a clinical trial on 28 volunteers with the disease. For eight months, they took four incense capsules three times a day, in the form of an ethanol extract. The results are compelling: “lInflammation levels in patients treated with frankincense extracts were significantly lower, at 63% of all patients, and some no longer had inflammation in the body at all.”, explains Klarissa Hanja Stürner. Among the beneficial effects of this treatment, some patients had fewer relapses during the months they took the capsules. Relapse can be defined as a period during which the symptoms of sclerosis in the plaques worsen or new symptoms appear.

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Scientists plan to conduct new clinical trials to better understand the mechanisms of boswellic acid and develop a new treatment for multiple sclerosis.

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