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Olibanum Gum Ineffective for Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimers Disease (2023 Study)

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cognitive decline, significantly impacting the elderly.

A recent clinical trial investigated the memory-improving potential of Olibanum, a traditional herbal remedy, in AD patients.


  • Alzheimer’s disease is a leading cause of dementia, characterized by memory loss and cognitive impairment.
  • Olibanum, also known as Frankincense, has a historical background in traditional medicine for improving cognitive functions.
  • The clinical trial was a double-blind, randomized study involving 72 participants, exploring the effects of Olibanum gum on Alzheimer’s patients.
  • The trial concluded that Olibanum gum did not significantly improve cognitive functions in AD patients, highlighting the need for further research.

Source: Neuropsychopharmacology Reports (2023)

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Growing Global Concern

Prevalence & Impact

  • Global Statistics: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is not just a health issue but a growing global concern. It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-70% of cases. According to the World Health Organization, around 50 million people worldwide have dementia, with nearly 10 million new cases every year. AD is a leading cause of death among older adults.
  • Economic and Social Burden: The disease also imposes a significant economic burden, with global costs of dementia estimated in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually. This includes direct medical costs, social care, and informal care. Moreover, the emotional and physical toll on caregivers is immense, often leading to caregiver burnout and financial strain.

Symptoms & Progression

  • Early Stages: Initially, AD presents with mild symptoms, often starting with short-term memory loss. Patients may struggle with recalling recent conversations or events.
  • Mid-stage Symptoms: As AD progresses, symptoms become more pronounced. Patients may experience confusion, mood swings, trouble with language, and disorientation in familiar settings.
  • Advanced AD: In its advanced stages, AD leads to severe memory disturbances and physical and cognitive decline. Patients may require full-time care and may lose the ability to communicate effectively.

Olibanum: An Ancient Natural Remedy

Description & Traditional Use

  • Olibanum, or Frankincense: Olibanum, derived from the resin of the Boswellia tree, has been used for thousands of years in various cultural practices and traditional medicine systems. It is known for its distinctive aroma and has been used in religious rituals, as well as for medicinal purposes.
  • Cognitive Enhancement: Traditionally, Olibanum has been used to enhance memory and cognitive functions, making it a candidate for AD research.

Scientific Basis

  • Preliminary Studies: Early laboratory studies have indicated that Olibanum possesses anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. These properties are believed to stem from its active compounds like boswellic acids.
  • Potential in AD Research: Given these properties, Olibanum has garnered interest as a potential therapeutic agent in AD research. Its ability to modulate inflammatory pathways, which are implicated in AD, makes it a promising area of study.

Traditional and herbal medicines like Olibanum, with their historical use and emerging scientific support, offer a glimmer of hope.

Olibanum Gum in Alzheimer’s Disease (2023 Study)


  • Primary Objective: The study aimed to investigate the potential memory-improving effects of Olibanum (Frankincense) chewing gum in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
  • Hypothesis: Based on traditional uses and preliminary evidence, the researchers hypothesized that Olibanum could have a positive impact on cognitive functions in AD patients.


  • Study Design: This was a double-blind, randomized clinical trial.
  • Participants: The study involved 72 participants aged 50–75 years, diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Intervention: Participants were divided into two groups. The intervention group (n=36) received 1.6g/day of Olibanum chewing gum, while the control group (n=36) received a placebo gum.
  • Duration: The treatment lasted for 18 weeks.
  • Assessments: Neuropsychological assessments were conducted at baseline, every 4 weeks, and after the 18-week intervention period, using tools like the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).


  • Overall Findings: The study found no significant difference in cognitive function improvement between the Olibanum gum group and the placebo group.
  • Statistical Analysis: Both groups showed linear improvements in cognitive assessments over time, but these were not significantly different when comparing the Olibanum group to the placebo group.


  • Dose of Olibanum: The study used a relatively low dose of Olibanum, which might not have been sufficient to elicit a therapeutic effect.
  • Sample Size: With 72 participants, the study may have been underpowered to detect small but clinically significant differences.
  • Placebo Effect: The act of chewing gum itself, regardless of Olibanum content, might have cognitive benefits, potentially confounding the results.
  • Duration of Treatment: The 18-week duration might not have been long enough to observe significant changes in a progressive disease like AD.


  • Reevaluation of Olibanum’s Efficacy: This study calls for a reevaluation of the therapeutic potential of Olibanum in AD, suggesting that its benefits might not be as significant as previously thought.
  • Need for Further Research: The findings indicate a need for further studies with varied doses, larger sample sizes, and longer durations to conclusively determine Olibanum’s efficacy.
  • Broader Impact: This research contributes to the ongoing discussion about the effectiveness of herbal remedies in treating neurodegenerative diseases and underscores the importance of evidence-based approaches in evaluating traditional medicine.

Olibanum Gum for Alzheimer’s Disease (Results Analysis)

The results of the Olibanum gum study in Alzheimer’s disease patients were multifaceted and nuanced, offering several key insights:

  • Cognitive Function Assessment: Both the Olibanum and placebo groups underwent regular neuropsychological assessments using standardized tools like the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Wechsler Memory Scale. These assessments were designed to quantitatively measure various aspects of cognitive function, including memory, language, and spatial awareness.
  • Baseline Comparisons: At the start of the study, baseline cognitive scores of participants in both groups were recorded. These initial assessments showed no significant differences between the groups, establishing a comparable starting point for evaluating the intervention’s impact.
  • Progression Over Time: Over the 18-week study period, participants in both groups exhibited linear improvements in their cognitive assessment scores. This improvement trend was consistent across the different evaluation intervals (every 4 weeks).
  • Statistical Analysis of Improvements: When comparing the degree of cognitive improvement between the Olibanum group and the placebo group, the study found no significant difference. The mean differences in cognitive scores, along with their 95% confidence intervals, did not indicate any statistical advantage of Olibanum gum over the placebo.
  • Final Assessment: At the end of the 18 weeks, the concluding assessments also mirrored the interim findings. Both groups showed some improvement in cognitive function compared to their respective baselines, but there was no significant difference between the Olibanum and placebo groups.

Current Interventions for Alzheimer’s Disease (2023)

Existing Treatments

  • Symptomatic Management: Current treatments primarily manage symptoms rather than halt or reverse the disease progression. Medications like Donepezil, Rivastigmine, and Memantine are used to improve symptoms or slow down the disease’s progression. However, these drugs do not work for everyone, and their effects are modest.
  • Non-Pharmacological Approaches: There’s also a focus on non-pharmacological interventions like cognitive stimulation therapy, which can help manage behavioral symptoms and improve the quality of life.

The Need for New Approaches

  • Search for a Cure: Despite extensive research, a cure for AD remains elusive. The complexity of the disease, involving various genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors, poses a significant challenge.
  • Preventive Strategies: There’s a growing interest in identifying preventive measures, including lifestyle modifications like diet, exercise, and cognitive engagement, to delay or prevent the onset of AD.

Natural Remedies in Alzheimer’s Disease Under Investigation

Each of these natural remedies has shown some promise in preliminary studies, but like with Olibanum, they require more extensive clinical trials to validate their efficacy in treating or managing Alzheimer’s disease.

The ongoing exploration of these remedies highlights the growing interest in and potential of natural compounds in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases.


  • Found in turmeric, curcumin has shown anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that could potentially slow down the progression of AD.

Ginkgo Biloba

  • Widely used for cognitive enhancement, Ginkgo Biloba has been the subject of studies for its potential benefits in improving symptoms of dementia and AD.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • Found in fish oil and certain seeds, Omega-3s are known for their neuroprotective properties and have been suggested to play a role in reducing the risk of AD.

Green Tea Extracts

  • Rich in antioxidants, green tea extracts have been studied for their potential in protecting brain cells and improving cognitive function in AD patients.


  • This compound, found in grapes and berries, is being explored for its potential in protecting against neurodegeneration and cognitive decline.

Takeaway: Olibanum Ineffective for Alzheimer’s?

While traditional and preliminary scientific evidence points towards the potential of Olibanum in cognitive enhancement, this clinical trial did not find significant benefits in AD patients.

These findings should not entirely dismiss the potential of Olibanum but rather guide future research in a more informed direction.

The quest for effective treatments for AD remains ongoing, with herbal remedies like Olibanum being part of the exploration.

Alzheimer’s disease treatment and research require a multifaceted approach, considering both modern medicine and traditional remedies.


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