ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program publishes guidance document on Boswellia serrata

The new Laboratory Guidance Document provides an evaluation of 46 analytical methods and their suitability to authenticate Boswellia serrata oleogum resin and its extracts.

The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program (BAPP; Austin, TX) released a Laboratory Guidance Document (LGD) on Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrata) oleogum resin and its extracts.

The new LGD provides an evaluation of 46 analytical methods and their suitability to authenticate Boswellia serrata oleogum resin and its extracts. It also features images of a side-by-side high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) fingerprint comparison of B. serrata and seven other Boswellia species, as well as myrrh (Commiphoramyrrha).

“Because of their morphological and chemical similarities, and similar medicinal uses, a host of oleogum resins were historically traded interchangeably and often without botanical specificity,” said Roy Upton, president of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, in a press release. “In more recent decades, Boswellia serrata has emerged as the preferred source of boswellia, at least from a nomenclatural perspective. This document is perhaps the most detailed review of the differences of these resins conducted in the English language and should give any manufacturer using a boswellia ingredient clarity of what it has, as well as perhaps expand specifications to allow for the interchangeable use of those species that are most similar.”

Stefan Gafner, PhD, chief science officer of ABC and technical director of BAPP, said in a press release that there are two major challenges when authenticating Boswellia serrata extracts. “Some of the published data on the contents of the purported anti-inflammatory constituents, the boswellic acids, in Boswellia species appear to be based on erroneous species identification. Therefore, the exact composition of the confounding species can be difficult to determine,” he explained. “Additionally, some of the commercial extracts are processed in a way that alters the relative amounts of the naturallyoccurring boswellic acids, leading to a proprietary ingredient that has a very different composition than what is found in the oleogum resin. We hope that the information provided in the new BAPP LGD addresses these and other issues and will be of use to quality control analysts working with Boswellia serrata-derived ingredients.”