Phytopharmacology of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) Part 5


Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) Part 5

Some Testimonials from Modern Research


Almost all species of the genus Ocimum show similar pharmacological activities. Therefore various groups of researchers used different species to evaluate the pharmacological actions of Tulsi-Basil. Hence I have honored the evaluation of the species mentioned in the original research paper.

General pharmacology

A study was carried out on cockerels (roosters) to evaluate the effect of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) on lead-induced alteration in disposition kinetics of sulphadimidine. The result showed that administration of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) altered the kinetics in cockerels (roosters). [171]

Skin creams or medicated ointments containing 6% Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) oil show2.40 times higher skin penetration. This shows that Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) oil is penetration enhancer. Histopathological studies revealed some disruption in the epidermis without any toxic effect on the dermis of the skin by penetration enhancer activity of -Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) oil. Penetration enhancer activity of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) oil can also be useful for combination with gastric irritant drugs like non steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, celecoxib and ibuprofen. The combination can reduce the dose and frequency of administration of these agents. [172]   

Anti-inflammatory activity

 In a study 200 mg or 400 mg/kg body weight of Ocimum sanctum a strong anti-inflammatory activity which was comparable to 25 mg /kg body weight of indomethacin. Reduction in carrageenan-induced paw edema by Ocimum sanctum was more than that by indomethacin. The anti-inflammatory activity of Ocimum sanctum is due to inhibition of cyclo-oxygenase and lipo-oxigenase pathways of arachidonic acid metabolism (dual inhibitory property) [173] 

Another group of researchers studied anti-inflammatory activity of Tulsi-Basil by using the species Osimum labiatum. They isolated labdane diterpenoid from the extract of Osimum labiatum. They found that labdane diterpenoid from this species to be an immune-enhancer. [174]

The aqueous extract of leaf of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) displayed a potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity in Wister albino rats weighing 150 to 200 grams and in albino mice weighing 25 to 30 grams. The effects were similar to those of aspirin and celecoxib.

In cotton pellet induced granuloma, percentage inhibition by Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) aspirin and celecoxib were 23.85%, 45.84% and 42.77% respectively. In acetic acid induced writhing method, percentage protection by Ocimum sanctum, aspirin and celecoxib were 50.2%, 71.4% and 66.5% respectively. [175]

In an experimental study in rats, a methanol extract and aqueous suspension of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) inhibited acute as well as chronic inflammation. The anti-inflammatory property also imparts analgesic property. The anti-inflammatory response of 500 mg/kg body weight of each of the preparation was comparable to 300 mg/kg body weight of sodium salicylate.  

Both preparations reduced typhoid-paratyphoid A/B vaccine-induced pyrexia. The antipyretic activity of these preparations was weaker and of shorter duration than that of 300 mg/kg body weight of sodium salicylate.

In a study in rats, oral administration of these preparations delayed castor oil-induced diarrhea. [176]

Antioxidant activity

Antioxidant property of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) was known to clinicians and pharmacologists for centuries. A recent study showed that Krishna Tulsi and Thai holy basil having higher phenolic content display better antioxidant property than other eight species analyzed.  [177]

Many phytochemicals isolated from Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) displayed antioxidant cyclooxygenase inhibitory activity. [178]

Immunomodulatory activity

To evaluate the immunomodulatory effect, aqueous extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) was administered to Wister rats at doses of 100, 200 mg/kg body weight for 45 days. It enhanced the production of red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC) and hemoglobin (Hb). The results suggested that the aqueous extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) showed immunomodulatory effect in rat. [179]

To investigate the effect of Ocimum sanctum on Th1/Th2 cytokine production by spleen-cells of myelosuppressed mice, female Swiss albino mice were challenged with sheep red blood cells (SRBC). Treatment with Ocimum sanctum showed significant increase in bone marrow cellularity, total white blood cell (WBC) count and hemoglobin (Hb) concentration. In addition there was a significant increase in sheep red blood cells (SRBC) antibody titer. Ocimum sanctum significantly increased the production of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF- α), interleukin-2 (IL-2), interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interferon-γ (IFN- γ) and decreased the production of interleukin-1β (IL-1 β) and nuclear factor-κB (NF- κB). The methanolic extract of Ocimum sanctum showed free radical scavenging activity. These results suggest that Ocimum sanctum can control infections, help wound healing, improve nutritional anemia and support anti-cancer drugs. [180]

Another study showed immunomodulatory effects of Ocimum sanctum on cyclophosphamide-induced immunosupression in rats. [181]

By using Salmonella typhosa and sheep erythrocytes antigenic challenge the immunomodulatory profile of aqueous suspension and methanol extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) was evaluated in albino rats. The study showed that both the preparations displayed immunomodulatory effect. [182]

In a double-blinded randomized controlled trial on healthy volunteers, a group of researchers found immunomudulatory effects of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf extract. [183]

Antiallergic activity

Wheat proteins are allergens. They can be used to induce allergy. In experimental study Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) extract cured allergy induced by wheat protein as there were no allergic bands found after treatment with Ocimum sanctum. [184]

 Antimicrobial activity                

A project was launched to examine antibacterial properties of essential oils distilled from Australian-grown Tulsi-Basil Ocimum tenuiflorum. The study showed that the oils at concentrations of 2.25% and 4.5% completely inhibited the growth all strains of Staphylococcus aureus including methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli however the same concentrations only partially inhibited the growth of Pseudomonas aeroginosa. [185]   

The ethanolic extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf showed antibacterial activity against periodontal pathogenic micro-organisms such as Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Prevotella intermedia and Porphyromonas gingivalis. [186]

Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans is a periodontal pathogen in human dental plaque. Various concentrations of the extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum Linn) displayed antimicrobial activity against this pathogen. The maximum antibacterial activity was observed at the 6% concentration. [187]

Ethanolic, Hexane and Chloroform extracts of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves obtained by cold extraction process were found to control pneumonia by their antibacterial activity against Klebsiella pneumonia and Staphylococcus aureus. [188]

In a study Ethanol, Methanol, Propanol, Chloroform, Iso-amyl alcohol and Petroleum ether extracts of Ocimum sanctum purple, Ocimum sanctum green, Ocimum gratissium, Ocimum basillicum and Camphor basil species of Tulsi-Basil were evaluated for antibacterial activity. The extracts containing essential oils of these Ocimum species inhibited the growth of Streptococcus pneumonia, Proteus species, Enterococcus faecalis, Salmonella typhi and Bacillus subtilis. The study suggests that these species can be used as drugs against the bacterial infections caused by these organisms. (189)

Antiviral activity

Crude extract of leaves of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) has been shown to possess antiviral activity against H9N2 virus (190)


In another study extract of leaf of Sweet Basil Ocimum basilicum (OB) showed antiviral activity against DNA viruses: Herpes viruses (HSV), adenoviruses (ADV) and Hepatitis B virus and RNA viruses Coxsackie virus B1 (CVB1) and Enterovirus 71 (EV71) (191)

Antifungal activity

At a concentration of 40% the aqueous extract of leaf of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) showed antifungal activity against Aspergillus niger, Rhizopous and Cladpsporium while concentration of 30% showed antifungal activity against Curvularia lunata. Percentage of inhibition increases with increasing concentration. (192)

Satish Sharma et al demonstrated fungitoxicity of extracts of leaf of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum). All the four forms, i.e. 10% crude, 10% powdered, 10% boiled and 1% alcohol extracts of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf significantly inhibited the growth of Rhizoctonia solani, Rhizoctonia bataticola, Phoma sorghina, Collectotrichum gloeosporioides, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. pallidoroseum, Fusarium  oxysporum f.sp.ciceri, Sclerotium rolfsii, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Alternaria solani and  Alternaria alternate. (193)

Antiparasitic activity

A recent study showed that Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) displayed anti-protozoal activity against Leishmania species. (194)

In another study, Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) has been shown to possess antimalarial activity against Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum. (195)


Actions on the skin

Rich in antioxidants Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is useful for beautification of skin. Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is useful for the treatment of skin infections especially acne. 

Actions on wound healing
Antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) accelerate wound healing.

Actions on Musculoskeletal System

In patients suffering from gouty arthritis, extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) reduced the raised levels of serum uric acid in both males and females. (196)

Radioprotective activity

The flavonoids orientin and vicenin found in leaves of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) showed radioprotective effect. This effect was better than the effect of synthetic radioprotectors. They have shown significant protection to the human lymphocytes against the clastogenic effect of radiation at low, non toxic concentrations. The bone marrow cell protection was even better when Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf extract was combined with WR-2721, a synthetic radioprotector. The combination of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf extract reduced the toxicity of higher doses of WR-2721. (197), (198) 
  
Aqueous or hydroalcoholic extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf administered as a single dose or multiple doses before exposure to 11 Gy of 60Co gamma radiation protected the albino mice from adverse effects of radiation. (199) 
Chemopreventive activity:

In a study in mice, Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf extract showed chemoprotective effect probably through the induction of hepatic/extrahepatic glutathione. The conjecture was supported reduction of elevated levels of GSH in liver, lung and stomach. (200)

The chemoprotective effect was also shown by seed oil of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum). This was attributed to antioxidant activity of seed oil. (201)

Actions on Mouth

Chewing Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves can prevent and treat coating of tongue. (202)
Carvacrol and terpenes present in Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves are effective in treating common oral infections. When chewed, Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves maintain oral hygiene by containing the growth of oral pathogens. This activity also helps prevent foul smell of breath. The extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves is used in commercial mouth wash formulations. The extract is also useful for the treatment of mouth ulcers and gum diseases. Due to its properties chewing of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves is useful for the treatment of some dental diseases.  
Actions on the Breast
In an experimental study the aqueous extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves inhibited chemotaxis of breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-435, MDA-MB-231 and endothelial cell line HUVEC towards specific chemo-attractants. By inhibiting angiogenesis and tumerogenesity the aqueous extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves acts against the development of breast cancer. (203)
In a study immunotherapeutic potential of crude water extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf in bovine sub-clinical mastitis was investigated after intramammary infusion of the extract. The results revealed that the extract reduced the total bacterial count, increased neutrophil and lymphocyte counts with enhanced phagocytic activity and phagocytic index. The lysosomal enzymes contents of the milk polymorphoneuclear cells were also enhanced significantly. This suggested that water extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf can be used to treat bovine subclinical mastitis. (204)
Actions on Hematopoetic system

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of extracts of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves protect bone marrow cells from radiation injury and ill effects of chemotherapeutic agents. [205]

A study showed that orientin a flavone found in Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) stimulates megakaryopoesis. Dietary supplement of orientin also prevents thrombocytopenia. [206]

Actions on Nervous system

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) was found to be effective in the management of viral encephalitis. (207)

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) has been documented to possess neuroprotective, cognition-enhancing and stress relieving effects in animal models. In healthy adult human volunteers administration of 300 mg capsules of ethanolic extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf per day, over 30 days enhanced specific cognitive parameters (208)

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) was found to be effective in the management of stress. Its antistress activity was said to be due to the inhibition of cortisol release. It is possible that Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) exhibits anti-stress activity by its effects on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. (209)


Rats were subjected to Weight-Loaded Forced Swim Test (WFST) every alternate day for 2 weeks. Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) was administered every day at doses of 150, 300 and 450 mg/kg body weight per animal. Levels of lactic acid and parameters of other biochemicals were lower in animals treated with Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum). This suggested that Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) shows anti-fatigue activity. Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) at the dose of 300 mg/kg showed better performance against fatigue. (210)


The extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf affords significant protection against stress (adaptogenic activity). Even healthy individuals can chew 12 leaves of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) twice a day to prevent stress (211)

Hydroalcoholic extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf at a dose of 1000 mg/kg bodyweight was effective for controlling seizures. Combination of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) extract with valproate showed better memory retention potential and protection against oxidative stress. (212)

In a study Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) extract displayed anticonvulsant and anxiolytic properties. Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) significantly attenuated generalized anxiety disorders and also correlated stress and depression. (213)

Actions on CVS

In a study on rats, cadmium chloride was injected subcutaneously on alternate day for ten days to induce oxidative stress on heart. Cardiac damage was evaluated by studying various enzymes. The rats were then treated with oral administration of aqueous extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum L) leaf. The effect of the treatment was assessed by biochemistry and histology. The results revealed that the extract protected the animals against the oxidative damage. This suggests that Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum L) extract can be used to prevent oxidative stress-induced tissue damages in workers exposed to cadmium in their occupation or in humans exposed to environmental cadmium. (214)

To evaluate effect of hydroalcoholic extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum L) leaf, male Wistar rats were subjected to chronic restraint stress (CRS) 6 hours a day for 21 days. The animals were subjected to chronic restraint stress (CRS) alone or along with oral administration of 100 mg/kg body weight of hydroalcoholic extract Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum L). In rats subjected to only chronic restraint stress (CRS), plasma cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) was significantly raised on day 21 with no significant change in plasma cortisone level; there was significant fall in myocardial glutathione level and rise in myocardial superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase activities. Histopathological study showed myocardial edema. Animals receiving Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum L) extract were protected from myocardial damage. (215)   

Oxidative stress and inflammation play a vital role in the development of myocardial infarction. Methanolic extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum L) leaves decreased inflammation in isoproterenol (ISP) induced myocardial infarction (MI) in rats. Histopathological findings confirmed these findings. (216)

That carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) is hepatotoxic and induces liver cirrhosis was known but associated cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis were ignored. A group of researchers with the help of biochemical markers and histopathological study proved that carbon tetrachloride is cardiotxic and induces cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis. Further research showed that Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum L) extract attenuated carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) induced cardiac toxicity. (217)

The effect of extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum L) leaf on blood pressure is conflicting and controversial----

When administered to hypotensive women, the extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum L) leaf raised both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The rise in blood pressure was not very high but was minimal. (218)

Researchers from Bangladesh and other countries of the world found that water soluble fraction of methanol extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves was useful to lower high blood pressure. Some researchers found that Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) lowers blood pressure even in normotensive subjects. (219) 
 
Actions on RS

Fifty percent hydroalcoholic extract of dried and fresh leaves of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) showed strong antihistaminic activity. Fixed oil extracted from seeds of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) protected guinea pigs against histamine and acetylcholine induced bronchospasm. These extracts are thus useful for the treatment of respiratory diseases involving bronchospasm especially bronchial asthma. (220)

In experimental study ovalbumin is used to induce inflammatory lung disease. By using ovalbumin bronchial asthma was induced in BALB/C mice. The animals were then treated with dried and fractionated ethanol extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum). The extract inhibited leukotriene-C4-synthase, leukotriene-A4-hydrolase and cyclooxigenase-2 (COX-2) activities in cultured HL-60 cells. (221)         

Actions on GI System

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) extract exert anti-secretory effect on gastric mucosa. This is also beneficial for healing gastric ulcer. These beneficial effects are mainly due to the active constituents like eugenol, carvacrol, ursolic acid, β-caryophyllene and rosmarinic acid in Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) extract. (222)

Actions on Liver

Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, antiviral and hepatoprotective properties of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) are useful in the management of viral hepatitis. (223)

In liver, essential oils in Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) extract prevent oxidative stress by increasing glutathione peroxidase and catalase. This antioxidant property prevents hepatic steatosos. The hepatoprotective activity of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) extract is due to its constituents like eugenol, carvacrol, ursolic acid, β-caryophyllene and roamarinic acid. These chemicals are also anti-inflammatory that protect hepatic damage. (224) 

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf extract was found to protect liver of rats from hepatotoxic effect of paracetamol as evidenced by significant reduction in the elevated levels of serum enzymes. Histopathological studies showed marked reduction in fatty degeneration in animals receiving Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf extract. (225)

Actions on metabolism

Oral administration of 500 mg/kg body weight per experimental animal (rat) of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf extract for 15 days resulted in decrease in blood sugar, glycosylated hemoglobin, lipid peroxide, free fatty acids, low density lipoprotein and plasma lipoproteins. (226)

Administration of 1 to 2 percent fresh leaves of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) in diet of normal rabbits for four weeks brought about significant change in the lipid profile of the animals. This resulted in significant reduction in serum total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglyceride and phospholipid levels. Additionally there was significant increase in serum HDL-cholesterol and total faecal sterol contents. (227) 

Administration of 250mg capsule of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) extract twice a day on empty stomach for 8 weeks to obese, overweight subjects significantly lowered the serum levels of total cholesterol, low density lipoproteins, very low density lipoprotein, triglyceride and increased the serum level of high density lipoprotein. There was no significant alteration in the levels of liver enzymes SGOT/AST (Aspertate aminotransferase) and SGPT/ALT (Alanine aminotransferase) (228) 

Metabolic syndrome comprises of coronary artery disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia/dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia and obesity. Patients taking Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) extract 5 ml twice a day for three months showed improvement in biochemical parameters. This result was attributed to phytochemical eugenol found in the plant. (229)

Actions on Diabetes

Hexane extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) was administered for three weeks to streptozotocin-induced diabetic male Wistar rats. The extract lowered elevated blood sugar. The extract also lowered elevated levels of aspertate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotranse (ALT), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), creatine kinase MB subunit (CK-MB), creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN). In addition, the antioxidative property of α-linolenic acid found in Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves protected various organs. In diabetics the serum levels of insulin are decreased. The extract increased the serum insulin levels and decreased the kidney weight. The thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) are formed as a byproduct of lipid peroxidation. They exert oxidative stress. They can be upregulated by heart attack or by stroke. Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) extract suppressed elevated thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and increased the activity of various antioxidative enzymes in the rat renal tissue. Histopathological studies showed that α-linolenic acid found in Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves preserved the renal tissue against oxidative stress in diabetic Wistar rats. (230) 

Pioglitazone is insulin sensitizer. Its use results in weight gain, peripheral edema, increase in incidence of heart failure and increase in the risk of bone fracture. In experimental study alloxan monohydrate at the dose of 160 mg/kg body weight per animal was used to induce diabetes in male Wistar rats. Administration of 300 μg/kg body weight of aqueous extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves to these rats produced a significant reduction in blood glucose levels from 345 mg/dL to 263 mg/dL. There were no adverse effects like those associated with pioglitazone. But the insulin sensitization activity was lesser than reference drug pipglitazone.  (231)

Oral administration of alcoholic extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves markedly lowered raised blood sugar in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Further the extract potentiated the action of exogenous insulin in normal rats. The extract showed better hypoglycemic activity than that of tolbutamide. (232)

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) was found to possess aldose reductase activity which may help in reducing the complications of diabetes such as cataract, retinopathy etc. (233)

Eugenol found in Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) was found to inhibit advanced glycation products (AGEs) in diabetics. Eugenol has dual mode of action in combating diabetes; by inhibiting α-glucosidase it lowers blood sugar and prevents AGE formation by binding to ε-amine group on lysine. (234)

A study showed that aqueous extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) could delay the development of insulin resistance in rats. Therefore the aqueous extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) can be used as an adjuvant therapy for treating diabetic patients with insulin resistance. (235)


Actions on Male Reproductive System

To evaluate the effects of fresh leaves of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) rabbits were fed 2 g of fresh leaves per rabbit for 30 days. The result showed that the sperm count significantly decreased. The blood levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH) and serum testosterone decreased. Thus Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) exerts antifertility effects on male reproductive system. Thus Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves can be used as male contraceptive agent. (236)

Actions on Female Reproductive System

In another study, fresh Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves (1gm/kg body weight twice a week per rabbit) were administered to sexually mature female rabbits with proven fertility for one month. The results showed that the weight of uterus and ovary decreased. Histological changes were also observed. (237)

Antitumor activity

Forty one patients of submucous fibrosis were treated by local application of a mixture of 1gm of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) and 1 gm of turmeric (Curcuma longa) in glycerine base 3-4 times a day to the affected area. The patients were followed up every month. The result showed that the burning sensation reduced and mouth opening improved. (238) 

7, 12-Dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) is an immunosuppressor and a powerful organ-specific carcinogen. To evaluate the effect of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) on oral cancers, by using 7, 12-Dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) oral papilloma and squamous cell carcinoma were induced in buccal mucosa pouch in Hamsters. Paste of fresh leaves, aqueous extract and ethanol extract of leaves of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) were applied to the lesions and extracts were administered orally. The results showed that the incidence of papilloma and squamous cell carcinoma were significantly reduced and the survival rate increased. Among them, the orally administered aqueous extract showed profound effect than the other two forms. Histopathological observations made on the mucosa confirmed these findings. (239) 

From times immortal, the sacred plant Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) has been beacon of therapeutic sources for curing many diseases. The aqueous extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves showed cytotoxic activity against KB cells (Mouth Epidermal Carcinoma Cells). The extract was effective as an antiproliferative agent which caused apoptosis in oral cancer cell line. (240)  

Oral treatment with alcoholic extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves at 400 and 800 mg/kg body weight for 15 days significantly elevated the levels of cytochrome P-450, cytochrome b5, aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase and glutathione S-transferase which prevented the development of liver, lung, stomach cancers in mice. (241)

In experimental study rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid, found in Tulsi- Basil (Ocimum sanctum) exhibited cytotoxicity against NCI-H82 (human small cell lung carcinoma) DU-145 (human prostate carcinoma), PC-3 (human prostate adenocarcinoma), Hep-3B (liver carcinoma), K-562 (human chronic myeloid leukemia), MCF-7 (human breast adenocarcinoma), and MDA-MB-231 (human breast adenocarcinoma) (242)

In male Swiss albino mice the ethanolic extract of Tulsi- Basil (Ocimum sanctum) showed chemopreventive property. Topical application of the extract of Tulsi- Basil (Ocimum sanctum) for 15 days to skin papilloma reduced the number of papillima cells. (243) 

In mice, the extract of leaf of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) provides protection against skin cancers induced by 3-methylcholanthrene, 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene and Aflatoxin B1. This is attributed to the antioxidant and antiproliferative activity of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves. (244)

To evaluate the effect of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) on melanoma in mice, 50% hydroalcoholic extract of various species of Tulsi-Basil was administered orally at a dose of 200 mg/kg body weight per animal. This resulted in significant reduction in tumor volume, increase in bodyweight and survival rate of mice. The various extracts showed modulatory influence against gamma radiation induced chromosomal damage. Further, the extracts showed activity against B(16)F(10) metastatic melanoma cell line. (245)

Ethanol extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) exerts anti-metastatic activity through inactivation of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and enhancement of antioxidant enzymes. (246)

In an experimental study the aqueous extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) inhibited angiogenesis and migration of breast cancer cells. The extract also prevented the migration of breast cancer cells i. e. development of metastases. (247)

By anti-inflammatory- antioxidant activity, altering the gene expressions, inducing apoptosis and inhibiting angiogenesis and metastasis the aqueous extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) prevented chemical-induced skin, oral, lung and liver cancers. The study suggests that more research is necessary for prevention of tumerogenesis, chemopreventive and radioprotective properties of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) (248)

Osteosarcoma a type of bone cancer is rapidly progressing cancer. Eighty percent of this tumor will metastasize to lung and liver. To improve the possibility of survival, the patients need chemotherapy at the earliest. Recently antioxidant property of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) was found to control the aggressive growth of osteosarcoma.  (249)

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of the aqueous extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) were found to be useful as a single agent and in combination with docetaxel for the treatment of prostate cancer. Vicenin-2 induced anti-proliferative, anti-angiogenic effect irrespective of androgen responsiveness of the cancer cells. (250)

Toxicity

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves have an acrid taste. Hence the leaves must not be chewed, for chewing produces a burning sensation in the mouth. The leaves of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) are rich in iron which may stain your teeth if chewed. Hence the leaves should simply be gulped down.  

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves can adversely affect the health of pregnant woman and her embryo especially in the first trimester. The herb is rich in estradiol which may cause contractions of the uterus and can even lead to abortion. The leaves can affect the menstrual cycle of some women and cause diarrhea. 

The hypoglycemic activity of the leaves may not be good for diabetics if they are already taking medicines for diabetes. Intake of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves can enhance the hypoglycemia and cause blood sugar to fall too low. 

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is a potent antifertility agent. It lowers sperm count, decreases the weight of testes, adrenal glands, prostate, uterus and ovary. Therefore Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) should not be consumed as a medicine for long duration both by males and females of reproductive age. Its antifertility effect is due to its ability to modulate reproductive hormones. Fortunately the antifertility effect is reversible in a month’s time after cessation of the intake.

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) may interfere with anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents. 

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) may cause damage to the liver. Persons who are on non steroidal anti-inflammatory and analgesic agents are at a greater risk of liver damage.


Traditional and Ayurvedic uses

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is perhaps one of the best examples of Ayurveda’s holistic lifestyle approach to health. Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) attained a prime place in the medicinal chest of grandmothers.

Daily consumption of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is said to prevent diseases, promote general health and longevity by reducing stress of daily life. The author feels, because of its antifertility activity, Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) must not be consumed daily by persons of reproductive age group.
       
Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is considered as an adaptogen par excellence especially when combined with turmeric (Curcuma longa), yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and aardraka-ginger (Zingiber officinale).

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is credited with giving luster to complexion, fostering beauty, giving sweetness to voice, increasing intelligence and a calm emotional disposition and improving stamina.

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is recommended for the treatment of acute and chronic cold, sinusitis, otalgia, pharyngitis, laryngitis, bronchitis and bronchial asthma, some cardiac disorders, pyrexias, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, dyspepsia, indigestion, hiccup, vomiting, arthritis, back ache, uro-genital disorders, skin disorders, mycotic infections, insect bites, snake and scorpion bites. (251)

Additional Information

Tulsi for skin care

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) can lighten dark spots and brighten the skin.
Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) cures acne and skin infections and skin allergies.

Tulsi for hair
   
Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) when consumed orally or applied topically, prevents hair fall and promotes hair growth. It is therefore used to treat alopecia areata, baldness.
Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) can stop graying of hair keep it thick and black
Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) can stop dandruff
Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) can prevent dry skin

Tulsi for eyes

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) sooths eyes
Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves left in boiled water overnight can be used to wash eyes.  
Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) can reduce eye strain and make it feel relaxed.
Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) can be useful for the treatment of conjunctivitis.

Tulsi for Weight Loss

Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) tea helps improve digestion, nutrition, and stamina
Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) tea lowers raised lipid levels and promotes weight loss.

Tulsi as Adaptogen

Vitamins in Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) are potent antioxidants and adaptogens; and prevent premature aging. Consuming two cups of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) tea can help you feel and look younger.  

Tulsi to quit smoking
Munching few Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves every time you get urge to smoke, can suppress the urge. Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves can help purify blood by getting nicotin off your body. (252)
Preparations                              
Tulsi swaras: Fresh juice of leaves.
Tulsi Seeds: Steep (soak) dried seeds of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) in adequate quantity of water over night. They will swell with mucilage. Gulp them orally. The preparation acts as diuretic and relieves burning micturition. It has mild laxative effect.  
Tulsi tea: A tea can be made by brewing 2-3 teaspoons of dried Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves in boiling water, steeping for 5-6 minutes. Drinking it in the morning can boost immunity especially against respiratory disorders. Drinking it at bedtime has relaxation effect.
Tulsi Pill: Pills containing an alcohol extract of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves is available. The pill is convenient for oral use.
Tulsi Oil: Essential oil is extracted by distilling leaves and flowers of the plant.
Tulsi Leaves: The leaves are used in cooking as flavouring particularly in Asian dishes.      
Dosage:  
Taking 300 to 500 mg of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaf extract twice a day for 30 days is safe.
In preliminary studies, taking 400 mg of Tulsi-Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves extract in the morning and 800 mg at night for six weeks decreased many symptoms associated with stress. (253)

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INTRODUCTION
Ocimum sanctum Linn known as Holy  Basil  is an  aromatic

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