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Thursday 10th of November 2022 | Catherine Dunn, Editor-in-Chief

The Brain: Crown Jewel Of The Human Body

The human brain is described as the most powerful machine currently in existence and it contains around 100 billion nerve cells, which provide our brain with capabilities that no other supercomputer can match to this day. It is the command center for the nervous system, which controls our memory, emotion, motor skills, thinking skills, and every process that regulates our body. 

Figure: Decreased oxygen supply can result in tissue damage of brain cells.

Due to its high energy demand, the brain is extremely sensitive to oxygen shortage. In fact, it uses about a fifth of the body’s total oxygen supply (Hyder et al., 2013). 

Oxygen helps send nerve signals and messages throughout the body. When the brain doesn't get enough oxygen within just 5 minutes, brain cells will begin to die. Immediate signs of poor oxygen circulation to the brain may include difficulty with complex tasks, memory loss, poor judgment, migraine, decreased motor control, and even coma. Thus, constant blood flow and oxygen supply are vital for the brain to function properly.

Figure: The brain scan above shows that obstructed blood flow and oxygen in the brain (Left) can result in the shrinkage of the brain (Left).

Main Chemical Compositions of Frankincense (Boswellia Species, Olibanum)

There are many different compounds that can be found in various Boswellia species. But when it comes to anti-Alzheimer and mind-healing bioactivity effects, the main components are Boswellic acids (BAs) and sesquiterpenes derived from the pure resins of frankincense.

(i.) Boswellic Acids (BAs)

Figure: Basic structure of triterpenoids in Boswellic acids (BAs).

Boswellic acids (BAs) with the molecular formula C32H52O4 form the main active component of frankincense. BAs are divided into two groups, β-BAs (ursane-type) and α-BAs (oleanane-type). According to research, the Boswellic acids (BAs) found in Boswellia extracts can slow the progression of neurodegeneration seen with age and enhance cognitive activity.

Figure: Schematic representation of Boswellic acids (BAs) inhibiting the inflammatory mechanism in the crosstalk between Nrf2 and NF-kB-induced neurotoxicity and Alzheimer’s disease.

Boswellic acids (BAs) are an essential component to postpone and or prevent neurodegeneration because of their capacity to naturally reduce inflammation, cell death, and adverse chemical interactions in the brain. Pilot clinical studies with 85 people who had mild to severe Alzheimer's disease showed that taking Boswellia extract for six months significantly reduced their dementia severity rating.

Figure: Schematic illustration of Boswellic acids (BAs) inhibiting/reducing the AChE activity in the cholinergic pathway involved in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis to improve learning and memory impairments.

(ii.) Sesquiterpenes (C15H24)

Figure: Sesquiterpenoids isolated from B. sacra.

Sesquiterpene is an important category of terpenoids, found to possess a large spectrum of biological activities. These plant actives have been reported to play a significant role in the improvement of cholinergic communication by inhibiting the AChE.

Figure: Percentage of sesquiterpenes having the ability to inhibit AChE in different categories.

Additionally, sesquiterpenes' ability to cross the blood-brain barrier was documented by the Medical Universities of Berlin, Germany, and Vienna, Austria, in the June of 1994. Researchers also discovered that Frankincense could increase levels of oxygen in the brain by up to 28% (Nasel, 1992). The high concentrations of sesquiterpenes found in frankincense oil, function by boosting the flow of oxygen to the brain’s limbic system.

Such an increase in brain oxygen may result in a heightened level of activity in the hypothalamus and limbic systems of the brain, which can have significant effects on not only emotions but on learning, attitude, and many physical processes of the body such as hormone balance, and energy levels.

Jumpstart Your Mind In 15 Days

Fire captain Shawn Ferdinand is one of the thousands of people who have tried using frankincense oil and below is his 15-day recovery journey.

Before this, Shawn sustained severe head trauma while on duty. Even after trying out various treatments and medications, he has forgotten his colleagues’ names and the names of his own children. Simple things in life, such as fastening the seat belt and closing his car door, have also become a daily struggle. What is even more heartbreaking is that Shawn has no memory of how to drive and now requires round-the-clock care. He was also fired from his job because his condition was deteriorating day by day.

Day 5

Before Shawn started his treatment with frankincense, he felt tired and frustrated all the time because he kept forgetting about the simple things in life, such as if he showered in the morning and even what his own face looks like. He would put toothpaste on his toothbrush and not know what to do with it. After just five days of inhaling frankincense oil, Shawn feels more energetic and focused than before. His wife was especially stunned when he called her "darling" after nine long months, whereas before this, he would assume that she was just a random nurse! 

Day 10

Shawn’s recovery has improved so much that the doctor was shocked by his latest MRI results, which showed increased brain activity across various regions of his brain. When his family and friends gave up hope, he defied all odds by finally being able to remember all of their names. Shawn’s beloved wife, who used to be his caretaker, is relieved because he can pretty much do everything independently now. Before this, he would even struggle to use his phone, but he has gradually made progress and was even able to text his wife! 

“I’ve never felt this sharp and energetic in such a long time. It’s crazy how just a week ago I couldn’t even remember my name. If this was achieved in just 10 days, imagine what can happen in months!”

-Shawn Ferdinand, 34, Fire Department of South Carolina

Day 15

Shawn no longer needs supervision from his wife and children. He has regained all of his precious memories and is ready to return to work. His colleagues were shocked when he could name some of the victims he rescued years ago. 

“As a passionate firefighter, I am incredibly grateful to be given another chance to regain my memory and my life again. Thanks to my family’s support and Dr. Nathan's amazing invention, I can continue doing what I do best: rescuing people who need my help. Recently, I was promoted to Fire Chief, the highest-ranking officer in the department, and it’s unbelievable how far I’ve come. Inhaling the aroma of frankincense is my daily habit now, and I feel extremely refreshed and sharper each time.”

-Shawn Ferdinand, 34, Fire Department of South Carolina

The importance of looking after the brain is equivalent to caring for the rest of the body. Jumpstart the mind and tap into its hidden potential.