Frankincense (Boswellia serrata), as it is fed to horses, is a purified resin from the Boswellia serrata tree. The tree grows in the hilly, dry, arid hills of India. It has an interesting place in history from having biblical connections to being one of the early elements of ayurvedic medicine. More recently, research has shown promising results on the health benefits of frankincense in both people and dogs.
The most notable benefit of frankincense is its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. In the canine research mentioned above, 71% of dogs in the study showed an improvement in their osteoarthritis condition after 2 weeks. Experiments have also shown frankincense to be as effective as NSAIDs in reducing inflammation, whie producing no side effects. Because of it's powerful anti-inflammatory properties, frankincense has historically been used for arthritis and rheumatism however it has also been well reputed to assist with more varied conditions including asthma, ulcers and jaundice. It's effect on inflammation comes from its capacity to block one of the key enzymes involved in the inflammatory process, thereby reducing inflammation. The extensive research conducted on this plant extract over the last 10-15 years in particular has solidified its value and benefits in the scientific community - a great boost for those who appreciate a natural approach.
The resin is extracted from the tree and purified into what looks like small rocks. It has a chewy, gummy texture and a fragrant scent that also makes it a suitable addition to perfume. Horses generally find it palatable and it is safe for long term consumption, making it particularly useful in cases of chronic/ ongoing problems.
Becuase of its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, diuretic and expectorant nature, we have included Frankincense in our Golden Oldies Blend. Frankincense has a hugely beneficial and important role to play in the ongoing health and well being of older equines (and canines) and we have found it to be readily enjoyed by horses on its own or added into feed.
Do you feed frankincense? What benefits have you noticed?