Frankincense is obtained from the trees of the genus Boswellia and has been used historically for many reasons, including medicinal purposes. Previous research indicates that mice treated with a purified component from frankincense, incensole acetate (IA), had a decrease in anxious behavior during anxiety tests. Boswellia extract can be purchased from General Nutrition Centers (GNC). Since IA has been found to be have antidepressant properties in mice, this study investigated whether the Boswellia extract from GNC, e.g. unpurified IA, would also have anti-depressant/anti-anxiety affect. Sixty CD1 mice, 30 male and 30 female, were treated for approximately 25 days and were tested for the anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects of Boswellia extract and sertraline (Zoloft®) compared to the control group. Each group of mice was analyzed by three behavioral tests: an open-field test, tail suspension test, and marble-burying test to determine the effects of these drugs. It was found that female mice treated with sertraline demonstrated significant reduction of anxiety behaviors as measured in the open field test, indicating reduced anxiety. Treatment with Boswellia, on the other hand, did not show a significant reduction in anxiety behaviors in either gender of mice. The tail suspension results showed that both Boswellia and sertraline significantly increased immobility time. These results suggest the Boswellia and sertraline reduce anxiety, but not depression in CD1 mice.
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