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Shallaki: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

By Dr Siddharth Gupta +2 more


Shallaki is one of the ancient herbs in Ayurveda. It is significantly valued. Shallaki (Sanskrit) is also called Boswellia serrata, in botanical terms. It belongs to the Burseraceae family. It is a moderate-large sized branching tree. The plant grows in the hilly region of India, the Middle East, and Northern Africa.1

In India, it is found in the dry hilly forests of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Orissa, Assam, and central peninsular regions of Assam and Andhra Pradesh.


The oleo gum resin of Shallaki is used in various Ayurvedic and Unani preparations. Generally, it is used in making incense powder and sticks.2 

Other Names of Shallaki

  • Shallaki in Ayurveda
  • Salai in Hindi
  • Kundur in Unani
  • Indian Frankincense &Indian Olibanum in English.3
  • Dhup & Gugali in Gujarati
  • Salai & Kundur in Bengali
  • Saambraani & Phirangi in Telegu
  • Parangi & Saambraani in Tamil & Malayalam
  • Guguladhuph & Chitta in Kannada1  

Chemical Composition of Shallaki

The extract of Shallaki contains sugars, essential oil, volatile oil, terpenoids, and several pentacyclic triterpene acids like β-boswellic acid.4  

Therapeutic Uses of Shallaki

Shallaki contains marked anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activity. It has antiseptic and astringent properties that might be beneficial in managing dysentery, piles, diarrhoea, ulcers, skin diseases, tumours, and genitourinary disorders. The oleo-gum resin of Shallaki contains boswellic acid that has analgesic, antitumor, and sedative properties.3  

Did you know?

  • Shallaki extract was shown to significantly reduce pain and improve physical function in patients with knee osteoarthritis. source: PubMed
  • Shallaki has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and pain in arthritis patients. source: Arthritis Foundation
  • Shallaki may be a safe and effective alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for the treatment of arthritis. source: Arthritis Foundation
  • Shallaki extract has antioxidant properties that can help protect joint tissues from damage. source: Arthritis Foundation
  • Shallaki may help improve mobility and physical function in patients with osteoarthritis. source: PubMed

Benefits of Shallaki

Immune System Modulatory Benefits of Shallaki:  

  • Gum resin extract of Shallaki was evaluated for immunomodulatory activity.
  • Its anti-anaphylactic and mast cell stabilising activity was observed in a rat model.
  • Inhibition of degranulation of the mast cell was observed, thus, indicating cell stabilising activity.
  • It also inhibited the anaphylaxis reaction (an acute allergic reaction to an antigen that has become hypersensitive to the body) in a rat model.2 

Liver Protective & Lipid Reducing Benefits of Shallaki:  

  • The aqueous extract of Shallaki exhibited hypolipidemic activity by reducing the total cholesterol and increasing the high-density lipoprotein levels in a rat model.
  • According to animal studies, the alcoholic extract of Shallaki exhibited hepatoprotective potential by reducing the serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase, serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase, serum enzymes, and aminotransferase.2 

Antidiarrhoeal Benefits of Shallaki: 

  • The extract of Shallaki exhibited antidiarrhoeal activity in patients with inflammatory bowel syndrome without causing constipation.2
  • Inflammatory bowel disease is a condition in which there is a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and includes conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. 

Benefits of Shallaki for Managing Diabetes: 

  • Herbal formulation containing Shallaki as one of the ingredients was evaluated for hypoglycaemic activity.
  • It exhibited anti-diabetic activity by reducing blood glucose levels in a rat model.2
  • As per animal studies, the extract of Shallaki has the potential for inhibiting the destruction of islet and results in hypoglycaemia.5 

Anti-cancer Benefits of Shallaki: 

According to animal studies, alcoholic extract of Shallaki exhibited anti-cancer activity by inhibiting the growth of tumours via the inhibition of cell proliferation and cell growth by interfering with the biosynthesis of protein, ribonucleic acid, and deoxyribonucleic acid.2 

Benefits of Shallaki in Managing Arthristis:  

  • Extract of Shallaki was evaluated for anti-arthritic activity.
  • It exhibited anti-arthritic activity by inhibiting the paw oedema in various rat and mice models.
  • It also exhibited anti-inflammatory activity that can be beneficial in managing arthritis.2 

Antimicrobial Benefits of Shallaki: 

The essential oil from the bark of Shallaki was studied against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.

Benefits of Shallaki as an Anti-asthmatic: 

The alcoholic extract of Shallaki improved the physical symptoms of dyspnoea, increase in stimulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase, number of attacks, and mobilisation of intracellular calcium in 70% of the patients with a prolonged history of asthma.2 

Benefits of Shallaki to Prevent Fibrosis:  

  • The effect of Shallaki was evaluated in an animal model of interstitial pulmonary fibrosis.
  • It reduced the increased number of neutrophils and macrophages in the bronchoalveolar lavage in the rat model.
  • The blocking of 5-lipoxygenase by Shallaki extract may prevent fibrosis progression.5 

Anti-ulcer Benefits of Shallaki: 

  • The protective properties of Shallaki were evaluated in an animal model.
  • Shallaki exhibited anti-ulcer effects, which might be an increase in gastric mucosal resistance, inhibition of leukotriene synthesis, or local synthesis of cytoprotective prostaglandins.5 

Benefits of Shallaki as an Anticoagulant:  

  • In Ayurvedic medicine records, it is mentioned that Shallaki has haemostatic, cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • The stem bark gum resin extract of Shallaki was investigated for antithrombotic and anti-oxidative properties.
  • The aqueous and hydroalcoholic extract of Shallaki inhibited lipid peroxidation in liver and heart tissue homogenate of rats.
  • It also inhibited adenosine diphosphate-induced platelet aggregation, thereby exhibiting antithrombic, antioxidant, and anticoagulant activities.5 

I stumbled upon an interesting study that suggests Shallaki might be a fantastic natural option for tackling pain and inflammation. They conducted the study on rats and tested various extracts of Shallaki. And you know what they found? It turns out that Shallaki might have some impressive anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

How to Use Shallaki? 

Generally, Shallaki is consumed as:  

  • Capsule 
  • Bark decoction 
  • Tablet1  

It is advisable to consult your physician before consuming Shallaki. 

I found something fascinating about Shallaki. It appears that the resin extract from Shallaki might have shown some powerful properties in rats. It may act as both an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant agent. But here’s the really exciting part: it might offer protection to certain neurons in the brain and may also improve motor impairments in Parkinson’s disease. These findings hint at the potential of Shallaki as a natural remedy for Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Side Effects of Shallaki 

There are a few side effects observed with the utilisation of Shallaki. These are mostly mild and transient gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea, nausea, or constipation.4 

Precautions to Take With Shallaki

Keep the following points in mind: 

  • Use cautiously in patients taking leukotriene inhibitors.6  
  • Avoid consuming Shallaki during breastfeeding and pregnancy period, as there is not enough scientific data available on its safe use during breastfeeding and pregnancy. 

I would recommend Shallaki if you’re dealing with cervical spondylosis. It might be a game-changer for you. A study was done on a group of people with cervical spondylosis, and they were given Shallaki capsules. Surprisingly, they experienced significant improvements. Their pain reduced, their flexibility increased, and even symptoms like headaches and numbness got better. The best part is that Shallaki was well-tolerated, with no reported side effects.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Interactions With Other Drugs

Shallaki (Boswellia serrata) might interact with anti-neoplastic agents and leukotriene inhibitors.6 

Also Read: Masoor Dal – Uses, Benefits & Precautions

Frequently Asked Questions 

1) In which form can I use Shallaki? 

Shallaki can be consumed as a capsule, tablet, or bark decoction.1 

2) Can Shallaki be used during breastfeeding? 

There is not sufficient data to support its use during breastfeeding; therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor before consuming it. 

3) Is Shallaki good for wounds? 

Yes, Shallaki can be helpful for managing wounds as it exhibits wound-healing activity.7 

4) Is Shallaki safe to consume? 

Yes, it is safe to consume Shallaki due to its benefits, but patients consuming leukotriene inhibitors and anti-neoplastic agents should avoid consuming Shallaki.6 Hence, it is advisable to consult a physician before taking Shallaki. 

5) Can Shallaki be used during pregnancy? 

There is no sufficient data to support its safe use during pregnancy; therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor before consuming it. 

6) What are the benefits of Shallaki? 

Shallaki has several benefits and is used to deal with diarrhoea, dysentery, piles, ulcers, skin diseases, tumours, and genitourinary disorders.3 

7) Can Shallaki be used for arthritis? 

Yes, it can be useful for managing arthritis as it was found to exhibit anti-arthritic effect in an animal model.2 

8) What are the other names of Shallaki? 

Shallaki is also known as Salai, Kundur, Indian Olibanum, Frankincense, Dhup, Gugali, Saambraani, Phirangi, Parangi, Chitta, and Guguladhuph.1,3 

9) Does Shallaki have any interaction with other drugs? 

Yes, Shallaki has been found to interact with leukotriene inhibitors and anti-neoplastic agents.6 

10) Is Shallaki good for asthma? 

Yes, Shallaki was found to improve the physical symptoms of dyspnoea, increase in stimulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase, number of attacks, and mobilisation of intracellular calcium in the patients with a prolonged history of asthma.2 

11) What are the side effects of Shallaki? 

Side effects of Shallaki include gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea, nausea, or constipation.4 

Also Read: Black Salt – Uses, Benefits & Side Effects


1. Siddiqui MZ. Boswellia Serrata, A Potential Antiinflammatory Agent: An Overview. Indian J Pharm Sci [Internet]. 2011 May [cited 2022 Feb 17];73(3):255. Available from: /pmc/articles/PMC3309643/ 

2. Upaganlawar A, Ghule B. Pharmacological Activities of Boswellia serrata Roxb.-Mini Review. Ethnobot Leafl. 2009;13:766–74. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/200126782_Pharmacological_Activities_of_Boswellia_serrata_Roxb 

3. Boswellia serrata – Vikaspedia. No Title [Internet]. Available from: https://vikaspedia.in/agriculture/crop-production/package-of-practices/medicinal-and-aromatic-plants/boswellia-serrata  

4. Boswellia Serrata Herbal and Dietary Supplements. 2020;(Md). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK563692/  

5. Vuddanda PR, Singh S, Velaga S. Boswellic acid – Medicinal use of an ancient herbal remedy. J Herb Med [Internet]. 2016;6(4):163–70. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hermed.2016.08.002 

6. Posadzki P, Watson L, Ernst E. Herb-drug interactions: An overview of systematic reviews. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013;75(3):603–18. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225274961_Herb drug_interactions_An_overview_of_systematic_reviews  

7. Ghodela NK, Prasad P, Kumar V, Dudhamal T. Wound healing potential of gums & oleo-gum-resins: a brief review. Glob J Res Med Plants Indig Med [Internet]. 2017;6(January 2018):89–94. Available from: www.gjrmi.com  

Also Read: Safed Musli – Uses, Benefits & Precautions


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