Current domains of the Research are as follows but not limited to:
• Frankincense, Medicinal Plants, fungi & Biodiversity
• Development of novel nutraceuticals and herbal drugs
• Culture and Heritage
Frankincense, Medicinal Plants & Biodiversity
Frankincense sometimes called olibanum or luban, an oleogum resin from the trees of the genus Boswellia Roxb.ex Colebr. of the Burseraceae family, is widely used in traditional Arab, Chinese, Ayurvedic and African medicine to treat various ailment including fever, pain, swelling etc. Frankincense trees grow mainly in dry areas of East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and in India. The main representative species are Boswellia sacra Flueck(Oman), Boswellia carterii Birdw. (Somalia), and Boswellia serrata Roxb.ex Colebr (India). There are also less know species like Boswellia dalzielli Hutch (West Africa) Boswellia neglecta S. Moore (Kenya) and the most recently discovered Boswellia occulata Thulin, DeCarlo & S.P. Johnson (northwestern Somalia). There are about twenty-five different Boswellia species according to the literature. As far as geographical distribution of various Boswellia species often overlap, requiring correct plant identification. Some of Boswellia trees are also distributed in other countries, such as Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, or Sudan and less is known about the chemical composition of the oleogum resin from Boswellia species grown in these areas for many reasons. Among all, the finest and the most aromatic gum-resin comes from Boswellia sacra, a small tree up to 5m high with one or several trunks covered with peeling, papery bark which is rich in resin ducts. After removing the outer bark, the resin bleeds out and this is collected and brought to the market.
Frankincense trees occur in limited region consisting southern Oman between the latitudes of 5° and 25° north and 40° to 80° east longitude. Boswellia sacra is known to occur in Dhofar province in Oman that produces the finest quality resin with high therapeutic properties.
With Dhofar region being the major producer of Frankincense in the region (land of frankincense), DU has setup a laboratory in 2016 to conduct studies and research related to Frankincense and establishing itself as a centre of excellence on frankincense research across the world. Initially, following two projects have been initiated, where Prof. Luay Rashan, a renowned expert and researcher on therapeutic plants is the Principal Investigator in both projects. Dr. Mohamed Idrees, an Assistant professor in Biology and Mr. Mohammed Rishan a Pharmacist, the lab technician has joined the Frankincense, medicinal plants and biodiversity laboratory in late 2016.
Frankincense Lab Project 1
The anti-inflammatory, analgesic and healing properties of Frankincense and Myrrh Resins both invitro & invivo. (DU/AY-2015-16/FLAB-P001)
Frankincense Lab Project 2
Pharmacological and Biological Activities of Boswellia sacra Gum Extract. (DU/AY-2015-16/FLAB-P002).
By the end of October 2016 and beginning of 2017 the research work on Frankincense and other medicinal plants grown in Dhofar was expanded following signing MoU with some German Universities and institutes and after establishing collaborations with many International Universities.
The Biodiversity Unit recruited Dr. Lukmanul Hakkim, an Assistant professor in Biotechnology in October 2017.
Frankincense Lab Project 3
Complete toxicity studies including acute oral; subacute oral and long-term oral toxicity and geno-toxicity of the standardized boswellic acid extract.
Frankincense Lab Project 4
Development and formulation of 4 dietary supplements as capsule dosage-form;
- ColonLuban…………for irritable colon
- BronchoLuban…….for asthma
- ProstaLuban………..for benign prostate hyperplasia
- OsteoLuban…………for osteoarthritis
Frankincense Lab Project 5
Development and formulation of three topical products:
- Lubanoid…………….for anal fissures
- LubanRelief…………for osteoarthritis, muscle spasms
- LubanHeal…………..for wound and burns
Frankincense Lab Project 6
Development and formulation of a topical for bedsores.
Frankincense Lab Project 7
Development and formulation of hand sanitizing agent.
Frankincense Lab Project 8
Phytochemical analysis of Woodfordia uniflora.