Type 1 diabetes and the late onset autoimmune diabetes of the adults (LADA), are autoimmune diseases where pro-inflammatory cytokines, deriving from white blood cells (lymphocytes, macrophages) cause inflammation of pancreatic islets, destroy insulin producing cells and finally cause diabetes.
Salai guggal, the gum resin of Boswellia serrata, has been shown to posses anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties by inhibition of leukotriene synthesis and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines from white blood cells including interleukines, interferone-γ and tumor necrose factor-α. It is used in the therapy of chronic inflammatory diseases i.e. autoimmune diseases. In Ayurvedic terms salai guggal reduces Pitta and Kapha.
In two animal models with autoimmune diabetes similar to human Type 1 diabetes i.e. after application of multiple low doses of streptozotocin to mice and the use of the None Obese Diabetic (NOD) mouse we could show that the administration of salai guggal and two of its pharmacological active compounds i. e. 11-keto-ß-boswellic acids prevented production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, development of insulitis and finally diabetes.
It is concluded that salai guggal and respective boswellic acids by turning down an irritated immune system stopped development of autoimmune diabetes in experimental animals.
Since at present there is no drug available, which can prevent insulitis in autoimmune diabetes, salai guggal and especially 11-keto-ß-boswellic acids could be a therapeutical option.