Boswellia serrata

By Vikaspedia on 15 Oct 2017 | read

Plant Profile
Ayurvedic nameShallaki
Unani nameKundur
Hindi nameSalai
English nameIndian Frankincense, Indian Olibanum
Trade nameSalai gugal
Parts usedGum - oleoresin

Plant of Boswellia serrata

Morphological Characteristics
  • The plant is medium to large-sized tree deciduous and balsamiferous, upto 18 m in height and 2.4 m in girth.
  • Bark is greenish grey, yellow or reddish, fairly thick, smooth, exfoliating in thin, papery flakes and resinous inside.
  • Leaves are long up to 30-45 cm, opposite, sessile, variable in shape.
  • The leaflets are 2.5-6.3 cm X 1.33.0 cm ovate-lanceolate.
Floral Characteristics
  • Flower is small, white, in auxiliary racemes or panicles.
  • Petals are long and ovate.
  • Fruit is trigonous, 12 mm long drupe, splitting along 3 valves.
  • Tree is common at the foot of the Western Himalayas, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and also found in dry forests from all over North-West India upto West Bengal and peninsular India.
Climate and Soil
  • It prefers dry, hot exposures of rocky hills, with 50-125 cm rainfall.
  • Usually Plant is gregarious, comparatively in open forests. In central and peninsular India.
  • It occupies the hotter slopes and ridges.
  • In its natural habitat, the absolute maximum shade temperature varies from 38-49C and the normal rainfall ranges from 50-125 cm.
  • Plant produces root-suckers, coppices and pollards.
  • It can be grown in red, lateritic to rocky soils of dry deciduous forests and on dry sand stone ridges.
  • It is also grown on drier ridges of metamorphic rocks and easily planted in shelter-belts, windbreaks and hedges too.
Planting Material
  • It is propagated by seeds as well as  cutting.
  • Seeds are germinated immediately after collection.
  • The rate of germination was found to be 25-30%.
  • About two months old seedlings of 15-20 cm height is ready for planting in the field.
  • A cutting of 1.0-2.0 cm thickness recorded 26% success but has poor survival in the field.
Agro-techniqueNursery Technique

Raising Propagules and Transplanting :

  • Seeds obtained during May-June from selected plus trees.
  • Seeds are sown during July-August and about two months old seedlings are planted in the field at a spacing of 5m x 5m.
  • Thus, about 400 plants per hectare are required for raising plantation.
Planting in the Field
  • Land Preparation and Manure Application : Cross ploughing is done early in April followed by furrowing till a good tilth of soil is obtained and field is made free of weeds. Well decomposed Farm Yard Manure (FYM) is added @ 20 t/ha during land preparation. It should be spread well and thoroughly mixed the soil.
  • Intercropping System : During initial 5-6 years, crops like ginger, turmeric, aloe, pine apple etc. can be grown as catch crops in between the trees.
  • Irrigation Practices : Crop requires irrigation at 15 days interval during dry season beginning from December to June.
  • Weed Control : Hoeing and weeding is done during first few years of growth.
  • Disease and Pest Control : No disease or pests or any other physiological disorder was observed in its cultivation. However, it would be advisable to dust pesticide against white-ants.
Harvest Management
  • Crop Maturity and Harvesting : Its flower occurs during January-April and seeds mature in May-June. Experimental cultivation recorded growth of 2.75 m in height in 3 years. It may require 8-10 years to get the bark and yield gum.
  • Post-harvest Management : Tapping for the oleoresin is done after plants reach a sizeable girth which is attained after 8 to10 years.
  • Chemical Constituents : Boswellia oil is very similar to turpentine oil. The hydrolysis of the pure gum of Boswellia serrata yields mainly pentose (65% as arabinose) and small quantities of Galactose and Xylose. The gum also contains oxidizing and diastatic enzymes, and 3.03% of total nitrogen.
Therapeutic Uses
  • It has astringent & antiseptic properties and is useful in diarrhea, dysentery, piles, ulcers, tumor, skin diseases, and in genitourinary affections.
  • The oleo-gumresin contains α, β and γ boswellic acid having antitumor, analgesic and sedative properties.
  • It contains marked antiinflammatory and anti-arthritic activity.

Source : Agro-techniques of Selected Medicinal Plants