Taking Benadryl With Boswellia

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not it is safe to take boswellia and Benadryl at the same time.

Jun 06, 2018

Simon asked

I use boswellia for arthritis. Can I take Benadryl with it?


The use of Boswellia and Benadryl together is safe. There are no reported interactions between the two medications.

What Is Boswellia?

Boswellia is a branching tree native to Africa, India and Arabia, that is commonly used in traditional Indian medicine. Specifically, it is the gum resin, located beneath the bark of the boswellia tree, that is most commonly used for its medicinal properties.

The most common medicinal uses for Boswellia typically involve diseases or conditions involving inflammation. These conditions typically include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ulcerative colitis

Some of the other uses that Boswellia may also have benefit in are allergic rhinitis, sore throat and asthma. As many other natural medicines, the effectiveness of Boswellia has not been established with certainty.

Boswellia is purported to affect the immune system so its use is not recommended in patients with certain immunologic disorders like systemic lupus erythematosus and Multiple sclerosis. For the same exact reasons, Boswellia is not recommended to be taken with immunosuppressors as their effectiveness may decreased by boswellia.

In the absence of the need for immunosuppression, boswella has been found to be “likely safe” orally for up to 6 months and topically for 30 days. In pregnancy, it has been found to be safe when used in foods but has not been sufficiently studied in medicinal amounts.

What Is Benadryl?

Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is a "first-generation" antihistamine, which are noted for their relatively short duration of action (~4 to 8 hours) and their sedating properties. In addition to its use for treating seasonal allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, Benadryl is also effective for treating symptoms of:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vertigo associated with motion sickness.

As Benadryl has fairly significant sedative effects, it is often used as a night time sleep aide and is common component of over the counter sleep products such as Tylenol PM. Benadryl begins to work about 20 to 30 minutes after taking by mouth and maximum concentrations are reached after 1 to 2 hours. 

Benadryl is generally well tolerated but can cause the following side effects:

  • Sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Respiratory depression (uncommon)

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