Boswellia (also known as dhup) is a moderate-sized branching tree, reaching roughly four meters in height and one meter in girth, found in dry hilly areas throughout much of India, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. The tree produces a gummy resin, similar to frankinsense, which is used medicinally. The resin is normally harvested late in October, when 15 to 20 centimeter wide portions of the bark are peeled away and the gum exuded from the exposed surface is collected for the following 10 to 12 days.
The resin from boswellia contains terpenoids, essential oils, and gum. The triterpenoid compounds known as boswellic acids are believed to be the primary active compounds.
Studies conducted on human subjects have used doses ranging from 900 to 3,600 mg of boswellia resin per day. Boswellia has no known side effects and appears to be safe at this dosage range. For consistent potency, some herbalists recommend using standardized extracts at doses providing 150 mg of boswellic acid per day.