Ocimum Sanctum And Its Therapeutic Applications
In Indian mythology the plant is considered to extirpate all sins and purify the body when touched. It is often grown outside dwellings and worshipped daily. It is said to daunt Yama, the god of death, but has a close affinity with Lord Krishna who is reputed to have grown the herb. If offered to Lord Krishna it is said to have mystical powers of protection from death, disease and misfortune.1
Analgesic activity of ocimum sanctum:Analgesic activity of the alcoholic extract of the leaves of Ocimum sanctum has been observed in both, glacial acetic acid-induced writhing and radiant heat-induced tail flick test2
Anthelmintic activity of ocimum sanctum: The essential oil of Ocimum sanctum showed potent anthelmintic activity in the Caenorhabditis elegans model.3
Anti-amnesic and nootropic activity of ocimum sanctum: When compared to control, scopolamine and aged groups of mice, Ocimum sanctum whole plant extract decreased transfer latency and increased step down latency significantly.4
Anti-bacterial activity of ocimum sanctum: Ocimum sanctum fixed oil showed good antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus pumilus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.16
Anti-cataract activity of ocimum sanctum: aqueous extract of Ocimum sanctum possess potential anti-cataract activity against selenite-induced experimental cataractogenesis.5
Anti-fertility activity of ocimum sanctum: Treatment of albino rats with a benzene extract of Ocimum sanctum leaves for 48 days decreased total sperm count, sperm motility, and forward velocity.6
Anti-hyperlipidaemic activity of ocimum sanctum: Two weeks treatment of diabetic rabbits with Ocimum sanctum Linn. Seed oil showed no significant hypoglycaemic effect. Results showed that OSSO has hypocholesterolaemic and antioxidant effects but it didn’t have anti-diabetic effect.7
Anti-inflammatory activity of ocimum sanctum: The fixed oil of Ocimum sanctum (Labiatae) was found to posses significant anti-inflammatory activity against carrageenan -and different other mediator- induced paw edema in rats.8
Anti-lipidperoxidative activity: Aqueous extracts of Ocimum sanctum inhibited hypercholesterolemia-induced erythrocyte lipid peroxidation activity.9
Anti-oxidant activity: Administration of ethanolic extract of Ocimum sanctum attenuates the alterations induced by noise exposure.10
Anti-stress activity: Hydroalcoholic extract of Ocimum sanctum protect the rats from chronic restraints stress induced changes in the myocardium.11
The reduction in corticosterone level caused by chronic exposure to noise stress was prevented by the treatment of animals with Ocimum sanctum extract.12
Anti-thyroid activity: The effects of Ocimum sanctum leaf extract on the changes in the concentrations of serum T3, T4 were investigated in the male mouse. Ocimum sanctum leaf exhibited anti-thyroidic and anti-oxidative properties.13
Anti-toxic effect: Oral administration of Ocimum sanctum extract provided protection against HgCl2 induced toxicity in Swiss albino mice.14
Anti-tussive activity: Aqueous and methanolic extracts of Ocimum sanctum exhibited anti-tussive effect by central action probably mediated both opioid system & GABA-ergic system.15
Anti-ulcer activity: The fixed oil of Ocimum sanctum was found to posses significant anti-ulcer activity against aspirin, indomethacin, alcohol, histamine, reserpine, serotonin and stress induced ulceration in experimental animal models.16
Cardiovascular activity: Chronic oral administration of Ocimum sanctum Linn. augments cardiac endogenous antioxidants and prevents isoproterenol-induced myocardial necrosis in rats.17
Chemoprotective activity: Ocimum sanctum plant extract has been shown to protect against chemically induced oral cancer and the development of skin papillomas in rodents18
Effect on nervous system: Ocimum sanctum could be a probable herbal remedy for noise induced biogenic amine alterations.42
Ocimum sanctum treatment significantly prevented hypoperfusion-induced functional and structural disturbances.19
Ocimum sanctum leaf extract protected mice against haloperidol-induced catalepsy and protective effects is comparable with standard drugs, scopolamine and ondansetron.20
Effect on reproductive system: Feeding Tulsi leaves along with the normal diet in adult male Wistar rats decreased in sexual behavioural score.21
Ethnoveterinary activity: The whole plant is used in treatment of glossitis, ulcers, maggots in wounds, anthrax, pneumonia, tympanitis, pain in abdomen, constipation, stoppage of urination, liver fuke, loss of appetite, stomach pain, dog bite, cold and cough, cannabis poisoning, opacity of cornea, swelling of lungs, tachycardia, sprains and sore eyes. The leaves are used in treatment of bleeding, cough and cold, eye diseases, udder infection and wound healing in ruminants.1
Hepatoprotective activity: Hepatoprotective activity of Ocimum sanctum leaf extract against paracetamol induced hepatic damage in rats has been reported.22
Hypoglycemic activity: Tulsi leaf powder was fed at 1% level in normal and diabetic rats for a period of one month shown hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effect in diabetic rats.23
Hypotensive activity: Ocimum sanctum fixed oil produced hypotensive effect in anaesthetized dog, which seems to be due to its peripheral vasodilatory action. The oil increased blood-clotting time and percentage increase was comparable to aspirin and could be due to inhibitation of platelet aggregation.24
Immunomodulatory activity: Ocimum sanctum modulates the humoral immune responses by acting at various levels in the immune mechanisms such as antibody production, release of mediators of hypersensitivity reactions, and tissue responses to these mediators on the target organs.25
Lens aldose reductase inhibiting activity: Ocimum sanctum offered maximum aldose reductase inhibiting activity followed by Curcuma longa, Azadirachta indica and Withania somnifera.26
Radioprotective activity: Aqueous extract of Ocimum sanctum used for ameliorating 131Iodine-induced damage to the salivary glands.27
Wound-healing activity: Aqueous extract of Ocimum sanctum Linn. Possessed significant wound healing and antioxidant activities, which may be useful in the management of abnormal healing such as keloids and hypertrophic scars.28
The name Tulsi means ‘the incomparable one’. Different parts of plant have been reported to exhibit several medicinal properties.
Ocimum sanctum commonly known as holy basil is a herbaceous sacred plant found through out India . Indian material medica describes the use the plant in a verity of ailments. Different parts of plant like stem, flower, seed, leaves, root etc are known to possess therapeutic potential and have been used, by traditional medicinal practitioners, as expectorant, analgesic, anticancer, antiasthamatic, antiemetic, diaphoretic, antidiabetic, antifertility, hepatoprotective, hypotensive and antistress agent. Tulsi has also been used in treatment of fever, bronchitis, arthritis, convulsion etc.
- Williamson EM. Major herbs of Ayurveda. Londen: Churchill Livingstone; 2002.
- Khanna N, Bhatia J. Antinociceptive action of Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi) in mice: possible mechanisms involved. J Ethnopharmacol 2003;88:293-6.
- Asha MK, Prashanth D, Murli B, Padmaja R, Amit A. Anthelmintic activity of essential oil of Ocimum sanctum and eugenol. Fitoterapia 2001;72(6):669-70.
- Joshi H, Parle M. Evaluation of nootropic potential of Ocimum sanctum Linn. in mice. Indian J Exp Biol 2006;44(2):133-6.
- Singh S, Malhotra M, Majumdar DK. Antibacterial activity of Ocimum sanctum L. fixed oil. Indian J Exp Biol 2005;43(9):835-7.
- Ahmed M, Ahamed RN, Aladakatti RH, Ghosesawar MG. Reversible anti-fertility effect of benzene extract of Ocimum sanctum leaves on sperm parameters and fructose content in rats. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol 2002;13(1):51-9.
- Gupta S, Mediratta PK, Singh S, Sharma KK, Shukla R. Antidiabetic, antihypercholesterolaemic and antioxidant effect of Ocimum sanctum (Linn) seed oil. Indian J Exp Biol 2006;44(4):300-4.
- Singh S, Majumdar DK, Rehan HMS. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory potential of fixed oil of Ocimum sanctum(Holybasil) and its possible mechanism of action. J Ethnopharmacol 1996;54:19-26.
- Geetha RK, Vasudevan DM. Inhibition of lipid peroxidation by botanical extracts of Ocimum sanctum: in vivo and in vitro studies. Life Sci 2004;76(1):21-8.
- Samjon J, Sheeladevi R, Ravindran R. Oxidative stress in brain and antioxidant activity of Ocimum sanctum in noise exposure. Neurotoxicology 2007; Article in press.
- Sood S, Narang D, Thomas MK, Gupta YK, Maulik SK. Effect of Ocimum sanctum Linn. on cardiac changes in rats subjected to chronic restraint stress. J Ethnopharmacol 2006;108:423-7.
- Sembulingam K, Sembulingam P, Namasivayam A. Effect of Ocimum sanctum Linn on noise induced changes in plasma corticosterol level. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1997;41(2):139-43.
- Panda S, Kar A. Ocimum sanctum leaf extract in the regulation of thyroid function in the male mouse. Pharmacol Res 1998;38(2):107-10.
- Sharma MK, Kumar M, Kumar A. Ocimum sanctum aqueous leaf extract provides protection against mercury induced toxicity in Swiss albino mice. Indian J Exp Biol 2002;40(9):1079-82.
- Nadig P, Laxmi S. Study of anti-tussive activity of Ocimum sanctum Linn in guinea pigs. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 2005;49(2):243-5.
- Singh S, Majumdar DK. Evaluation of the gastric antiulcer activity of fixed oil ofOcimum sanctum (Holy Basil). J Ethnopharmacol 1999;65:13-9.
- Sood S, Narang D, Dinda AK, Maulik SK. Chronic oral administration of Ocimum sanctum Linn. augments cardiac endogenous antioxidants and prevents isoproterenol-induced myocardial necrosis in rats. J Pharm Pharmacol 2005;57(1):127-33.
- Karthikeyan K, Ravichandran S, Govindasamy S. Chemopreventive effect of Ocimum sanctum on DMBA-induced hamster buccal pouch carcinogenesis. Oral Oncol 1999;35:112-9.
- Samson J, Sheeladevi R, Ravindran R, Sethivelan M. Biogenic amine changes in brain regions and attenuating action of Ocimum sanctumin noise exposure. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2006;83(1):67-75.
- Pemminati S, Nair V, Dorababu P, Gopalakrishna HN, Pai MRSM. Effect of ethanolic leaf extract of Ocimum sanctum on haloperidol-induced catalepsy in albino mice. Indian J Pharmacol 2007;39(2):87-9.
- Kantak NM, Gogate MG. Effect of short term administration of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn.) on reproductive behaviour of adult male rats. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1992;36(2):109-11.
- Chattopadhyay RR, Sarkar SK, Ganguly S, Medda C, Basu TK. Hepatoprotective activity of Ocimum sanctum leaf extract against paracetamol induced hepatic damage in rats. Indian J Pharmacol 1992;24:163-5.
- Rai V, Iyer U, Mani UV. Effect of Tulasi (Ocimum sanctum) leaf powder supplementation on blood sugar levels, serum lipids and tissue lipids in diabetic rats. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 1997;50:9-16.
- Singh S, Rehan HMS, Majumdar DK. Effect of Ocimum sanctum fixed oil on blood pessure, blood clotting time and pentobarbitone-induced sleeping time. J Ethnopharmacol 2001;78:139-43.
- Mediratta PK, Dewan V, Bhattacharya SK, Gupta VS, Maiti PC, Sen P. Effect of Ocimum sanctum Linn on humoral immune responses. Indian J Med Res 1988;87:384-6.
- Halder N, Joshi S, Gupta SK. Lens aldose reductase inhibiting potential of some indigenous plants. J Ethnopharmacol 2003;86:113-6.
- Bhartiya US, Raut YS, Joseph LJ. Protective effect of Ocimum sanctum L after high-dose 131iodine exposure in mice: an in vivo study. Indian J Exp Biol 2006;44(8):647-52.
- Shetty S, Udupa S, Udupa L, Somayaji N. Wound healing activity of Ocimum sanctum Linn with supportive role of antioxidant enzymes. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 2006;50(2):163-8.
Mr. Manish Dattani is a research scholar pursuing his postgraduate in Pharmacy (Pharmacology) from PES college of Pharmacy, Bangalore. He completed B.Pharm. from the same college under Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka. He has submitted a research project to Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, entitled "Comparative evaluation of immunomodulatory activity of different extracts of Ocimum sanctum" in collaboration with Natural Remedies Pvt. Ltd.
His research interest extends from pharmacological screening of herbs, investigation of new medicinal plants for immunomodulatory property to standardization of herbal extracts.
Mr. Shailesh Malaviyais a research scholar doing Master degree in Pharmacy from PES College of Pharmacy- Bangalore.He has completed his B.Pharmacy from Aacharya BMK Reddy College of Pharmacy. In M.Pharm his research topic is “Pharmacological screening of