Shallaki – Boswellia serrata is a famous herb used mainly for the treatment of osteo-arthritis and muscular pains. It is widely used as a substitute to modern pain killer medicines. It also possesses promises on cancer treatment.
Botanical names- Boswellia serrata Roxb, Olibanum indicum.
Names in different languages:
English name- Indian Olibanum tree, Gum is called Indian frankincense, Boswellia gum
Hindi name- Salay, Salai
Marathi name – Salai
Telugu name- Andugum chettu, Gum is called Anduga Banka, Kunduru Guggilammu, Sanibrani, Paraginsavani, Phirangi, Anduga, Guggilamu
Kannada name- Madi
Malayalam name – Salayi, Salai, Kunturukkam, Samprani, Parangi, Mukundam
Gujarati name – Salode, Dhupado
Tamil name -Paraginavani, Parankisampirani, Parangi, Attam
Telugu name – Pamragisamvrani
Arabic – Bastaj, Kundur, Luban
Bengali name – Kundur, Laban, Salai
Bombay – Salai, Salaphali, Salayudhup, Salga, Guggula
Urdu name – Kundur, Lobana
Uriya – Loban
Shallaki, Suvaha, Vallaki, Sara, Maheruna, Kunduruki, Vallaki, Hlada, Ashwamutri, Maherana,
Gajabhakshya – Its leaves are eaten by elephants
Surabhi – The gum resin has good odour
Susrava, Bahusrava – having gum resin
The term Kunduru is used to indicate resin. Its Sanskrit synonyms are –
Mukunda, Sugandha, Kunda.
Interpretation of synonyms
- Kunduruki – appears like kunduru
- Gajabhaksya – elephants consume its leaves
- Maheruna – looks very beautiful
- Rasa – has good taste
- Shallaki – it is to be consumed more because of its good taste
- Surabhi -aroma is really good
- Suraha- aroma carried by air in all direction
Punjab region of India and Pakistan
Boswellia Serrata Chemical composition:
Bark B- sitosterol, Glucosides
The resin consists of monoterpenes, diterpenes, triterpenes, tetracyclic triterpenic acids and four major pentacyclic triterpenic acids i.e. β-boswellic acid, acetyl-β-boswellic acid, 11-keto-β-boswellic acid and acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid.
Sallaki – Classical categorisation
Charaka – Pureesha virajaniya – Group of herbs that impart natural colour to feces
Sushruta- Rodhradi gana, Eladi Gana (gum)
Vagbhata – Gum – Eladi Gana, Rodhradi Gana,
Bhavaprakasha – Vatadi Varga (Bark), Karpooradi Varga (resin)
According to Yunani system of medicine, based on Aakrati and Varna – Kunduru is of five types.
- Nara Kunduru – red, yellow, round
- Mada Kunduru – pale colour, in bigger pieces
- Gola Kunduru
- Kishara kunduru – shape of parpati
- Dukaka Kunduru – in powder form
Variety: Boswellia floribunda is also used in the name of Kunduru
Boswellia serrata medicinal properties:
Guna (qualities) – Laghu – light to digest , Rooksha – Dryness
Rasa (taste) – Kashaya (astringent), Tikta – bitter, Madhura – sweet
Vipaka- Katu – Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion
Veerya – Sheeta – Coolant
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Pitta
Division – Angiosperm
Sub division – Dicotyledon
Class – Polypetallae
Sub class – Discflorae
Order – Geraniales
Family – Burseraceae
Part used, dosage
Part used- Bark, gum
Dosage– bark decoction 50-100 ml
Gum 1-3 g
Pushtikrut – improves nourishment
Grahi – absorbent, useful in diarrhoea, IBS
Indicated in –
Atisara – diarrhoea, dysentery
Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Vrana – Ulcers, wounds
Kushta – skin diseases
Asra – blood disorders such as abscess, skin disorders, bleeding disorders such as menorrhagia, nasal bleeding etc.
Arsha – haemorrhoids
Vranadoshahara – cleanses wounds
Madhura – sweet
Katu – Pungent
Tikta – bitter
Teekshna – strong, piercing
Tvachya – good for skin
Indicated in –
Jwara – fever
Sweda – excess sweating
Graha, Alakshmi – psychological disorders
Mukharoga – oral disorders
Boswellia serrata extract is extensively used for treating osteoarthritis of the knee. It relieves pain and improves joint mobility and flexibility. It is also used for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
It is indicated in treating asthma, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease etc.
Sallaki in Samhita texts
According to Charaka Samhita
Sallaki is explained in the part written by Dradhabala. He has categorised it as Shirovirechaneeya, cleansing nasal therapy and Pureeshvirajaneeya
According to Sushruta Samhita
Sushruta has cited it as stambana – i.e. anti diarrhoeal. Also considered under Eladigana, kashayaskanda, Lodhradigana.
He has mentioned its use in cough, asthama, blood in stool, pain in region of bladder etc.
According to Astanga Hradaya
Sallaki can be used in mrudhu kind of smoke, for shaman type of doomapaana and also in ulcers after suturing.
The use of the Niryasa is mentioned widely by the Yunani Hakim’s. The use of kunduru is also explained by them.
- Shodala has said that Sallaki can be used in diabetes and pain in vrashana.
- Bhavamishra in Bhavaprakash Nigantu has mentioned uses therapeutically – in chronic and deep wounds, is gandamala, granthi, Sandhivata, Asthishosham rickets and in foul breath.
According to Priya Nigantu – Sallaki is used specially in yoni roga and Dhupanartha.
Medicines with Shallaki
Market available products with Sallaki –
Many companies manufacture capsules with Shallaki extracts Viz, Gufic, Himalaya, Herbal Hills, Dr Wadke etc.
Amway Nutrilite manufactures Glucosamine Hcl With Boswellia. Glucosamine is an amino protein used in relieving inflammation of joints. This along with Boswellia relieves pain and inflammation.
Bipha manufactures Salai guggul extract in the name of Aikout tablet.
Ayurvedic medicines with Salai Guggul ingredient:
Jirakadi Modak – used for treatment of diseases of digestive tract such as dyspepsia.
Arthronav Liniment, Inflanil oil – used for external application to relieve pain and inflammation
Boswellia serrata essential oil
Also called Frankincense Oil – is used in aromatherapy.
It is used by palm inhalation. Put a few drops of the oil into palm, rub gently and inhale. It is told to improve mind clarity and concentration.
It is also advertised to add the essential oil to skin cream to improve skin cream’s efficacy.
The oil is also used for massage.
For oral consumption, 1-2 drops of this oil is added to 8 ounces of water or to a tablespoon of honey and consumed. Orally, it is used for the treatment of low digestion strength. It has potential to treat ovarian cancer (research)
Boswellia serrata Side effects:
Shallaki extract capsules cause gastric irritation. Hence, people with sensitive stomach or gastritis find it difficult to take the capsule. However, as per my experience, when compared to Guggulu capsule, the gastric irritation found with Boswellia is less and is better tolerated than Guggulu capsules.
Such people can take it just 5 minutes after food to lessen the gastric irritation.
Shallaki capsule can be taken during lactation and in children. Seek medical guidance for its use during pregnancy.
The Frankincesne oil or the essential oil can be taken orally, but make sure that the essential oil is genuine and not synthetically produced chemically scented / perfume material.
While applying externally, just put a drop on the forearm skin and rub and watch for any adverse allergic reaction. If you find any, consult your doctor immediately.
Shallaki for herbal smoking
As per Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 5/19-20, Shallaki is used as an ingredient for Dhumapana – medicated herbal smoking.
Being a scented gum resin, Shallaki is used in many Ayurvedic herbal smoking combinations (Dhumapana). It is used as a base along with many other herbs. Read more about Ayurvedic Herbal smoking
Anti inflammatory activity
Effect on diabetes, liver enzymes and lipid levels
Boswellia sacra essential oil induces tumour cell-specific apoptosis and suppresses tumour aggressiveness in cultured human breast cancer cells Research
Grades of resin
According to modern system four grades of gum-resin
- Superfine Grade – is translucent, very light yellow in colour free from bark and other impurities
- Qualities I – is brownish yellow, less translucent and free from bark and impurities
- Qualities II – is brownish, semi translucent and may have some impurities
- Qualities III – is dark brown, opaque and with impurities