Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Ocimum sanctum

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Characteristics and Constituents :
The leaves contain an essential oil which has been studied with gas chromatography. The oil contains eugenol, eugenal, carvacrol, methyl-chavicol, limatrol and caryophylline. The seeds contain an oil composed of fatty acids and sitosterol. The mucilage is compared of sugars - xylose and polysaccharides.
Chemical composition / key active constituents
Volatile oil 0.4-0.8% containing chiefly eugenol app. 21% & B-caryophyllene 37% (eugenol content reaches maximum in spring & minimum in autumm). A no. of sesquiterpenes & monoterpenes viz., bornyl acetate, ß -elemene, methyleugenol, neral, ß-pinene, camphene, a-pinene etc. : ursolic acid, campesterol, cholesterol, stigmasterol, ß-sitosterol and methyl esters of common fatty acids.

Actions and Uses of OCIMUM SANCTUM :
Antimicrobial activity of the essential oil has been shown against M. tuberculosis and Staph aureus in vitro and other bacteria and fungi. Eugenol and methyleugenol showed a positive activity. Adaptogenic (antistress) activity has been found in mice and rats. The plant increased the physical endurance and prevented stress-induced ulcers. In general pharmacology the aqueous extract showed hypotensive activity and inhibited the smooth muscle contraction induced by acetylcholine, carbachol and histamine. It also potentiated the hexobarbitone sleeping time. Protective action against histamine-induced bronchospasm has been shown in animals.
A tea prepared with the leaves of Tulsi is commonly used in cough,cold,mild indigestion, diminished appetite and malaise. The solid extract of Tulsi, in a dose of 500 mg x 3 for one week, significantly relieved the breathlessness in 20 patients with tropical eosinophilia. There was however no reduction in the eosinophil count in peripheral blood. It is commonly used with black pepper in bronchial asthma. An oil exlacted from Tulsi is used as drops in ear infections. Fungal and bacterial infections of skin are treated with Tulsi juice. The seeds are used as a general tonic.
The fresh leaves are taken as prasad by millions of Indians for many years. The powdered leaves, 5-27 g per day were taken by 120 patients for 3 months. The only side effect was constipation. In animals, with large dose of an extract, antispermatogenic activity has been shown.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Aug;93(2-3):197-206.  Related Articles, Links  
Evaluation of anti-ulcerogenic and ulcer-healing properties of Ocimum sanctum Linn.
Dharmani P, Kuchibhotla VK, Maurya R, Srivastava S, Sharma S, Palit G.
Division of Pharmacology, Central Drug Research Institute, P.O. Box 173, Lucknow 226001, UP, India.

Ocimum sanctum (OS) is known to possess various therapeutic properties. We evaluated its anti-ulcerogenic activity in cold restraint (CRU), aspirin (ASP), alcohol (AL), pyloric ligation (PL) induced gastric ulcer models in Sprague-Dawley rats, histamine-induced duodenal (HST) ulcer in guinea pigs, and ulcer-healing activity, in acetic acid-induced (AC) chronic ulcer model. We found that OS, decreased the incidence of ulcers and also enhanced the healing of ulcers. OS at a dose of 100mg/kg was found to be effective in CRU (65.07%), ASP (63.49%), AL (53.87%), PL (62.06%), and HST (61.76%) induced ulcer models and significantly reduced free, total acidity and peptic activity by 72.58, 58.63, 57.6%, respectively, and increased mucin secretion by 34.61%. Additionally, OS completely healed the ulcers within 20 days of treatment in AC. We observed that anti-ulcer effect of OS may be due to its cytoprotective effect rather than antisecretory activity. Conclusively, OS was found to possess potent anti-ulcerogenic as well as ulcer-healing properties and could act as a potent therapeutic agent against peptic ulcer disease.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Oct;88(2-3):293-6.  Related Articles, Links  
Antinociceptive action of Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi) in mice: possible mechanisms involved.
Khanna N, Bhatia J.
Department of Pharmacology, University College of Medical Sciences, G.T.B. Hospital, Shahdara, Delhi 110095, India.

The alcoholic leaf extract of Ocimum sanctum (OS, Tulsi) was tested for analgesic activity in mice. In the glacial acetic acid (GAA)-induced writhing test, OS (50, 100 mg/kg, i.p.; and 50, 100, 200 mg/kg, p.o.) reduced the number of writhes. OS (50, 100 mg/kg, i.p.) also increased the tail withdrawal latency in mice. Naloxone (1 mg/kg, i.p.), an opioid antagonist, and DSP-4 (50 mg/kg, i.p.), a central noradrenaline depletor, attenuated the analgesic effect of OS in both the experimental models, whereas, PCPA (300 mg/kg, i.p.), a serotonin synthesis inhibitor, potentiated the action of OS on tail flick response in mice. The results of our study suggest that the analgesic action of OS is exerted both centrally as well as peripherally and involves an interplay between various neurotransmitter systems.

 J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Apr;80(1):15-20.  Related Articles, Links  
Evaluation of immunomodulatory potential of Ocimum sanctum seed oil and its possible mechanism of action.
Mediratta PK, Sharma KK, Singh S.
Department of Pharmacology, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital, 110095, New Delhi, India.

The present study investigates the effect of Ocimum sanctum seed oil (OSSO) on some immunological parameters in both non-stressed and stressed animals. An attempt has also been made to explore the possible mechanism of immunomodulatory activity. OSSO (3 ml/kg, ip) produced a significant increase in anti-sheep red blood cells (SRBC) antibody titre and a decrease in percentage histamine release from peritoneal mast cells of sensitized rats (humoral immune responses), and decrease in footpad thickness and percentage leucocyte migration inhibition (LMI) (cell-mediated immune responses). Restraint stress (RS) produced a significant reduction in the anti-SRBC antibody titre, foot pad thickness and percentage LMI (% LMI). The effects of RS on humoral as well as cell-mediated immune responses were effectively attenuated by pretreating the animals with OSSO. Co-administration of diazepam (1 mg/kg, sc), a benzodiazepine (BZD), with OSSO (1 ml/kg, ip) enhanced the effect of OSSO on RS-induced changes in both humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. Further, flumazenil (5 mg/kg, ip), a central BZD receptor antagonist inhibited the immunomodulatory action of OSSO on RS-induced immune responsiveness. Thus, OSSO appears to modulate both humoral and cell-mediated immune responsiveness and these immunomodulatory effects may be mediated by GABAergic pathways.

Phytother Res. 2003 Apr;17(4):306-10.  Related Articles, Links  
Protective effect of a polyherbal formulation (Immu-21) against cyclophosphamide-induced mutagenicity in mice.
Jena GB, Nemmani KV, Kaul CL, Ramarao P.
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Sector-67, S A S Nagar, Punjab 160 062, India.

The object was to evaluate the effects of a polyherbal formulation, Immu-21, against cyclophosphamide (CP)-induced chromosomal aberrations (CA) and micronuclei (MN) in mice. CP alone (40 mg/kg, i.p.) produced classical as well as non-classical chromosomal aberrations in mice, and the incidence of CA was significantly more in the CP treated group when compared with that of the control group. Immu-21, which contains extracts of Ocimum sanctum, Withania somnifera, Emblica officinalis and Tinospora cordifolia, was given at 100 mg/kg, daily, over 7 days, and 30 mg/kg daily over 14 days and inhibited both CP-induced classical and non-classical chromosomal aberrations ( approximately 40%-60% of control). A significant increase in MN was also observed in bone marrow erythrocytes of mice treated with CP, and pretreatment with Immu-21 also significantly reduced these. Cytotoxicity was evaluated by estimating the ratio of polychromatic erythrocytes (PCEs) to normochromatic erythrocytes (NCEs). The present results indicate that chronic treatment with Immu-21 prevented CP-induced genotoxicity in mice.

J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2002;13(1):51-9.  Related Articles, Links  
Reversible anti-fertility effect of benzene extract of Ocimum sanctum leaves on sperm parameters and fructose content in rats.
Ahmed M, Ahamed RN, Aladakatti RH, Ghosesawar MG.
Department of Post-Graduate Studies in Zoology, Karnatak University, Dharwad, India.

Treatment of albino rats with a benzene extract of Ocimum sanctum leaves (250 mg/kg body weight) for 48 d decreased total sperm count, sperm motility, and forward velocity. The percentage of abnormal sperm increased in caudal epididymal fluid, and the fructose content decreased in the caudal plasma of the epididymis and the seminal vesicles. The results suggest that such effects are due to androgen deprivation, caused by the anti-androgenic property of O. sanctum leaves. The effect was reversible because all parameters returned to normal 2 wk after the withdrawal of treatment.

Mol Cell Biochem. 2001 Sep;225(1-):75-83.  Related Articles, Links  
Cardioprotective potential of ocimum sanctum in isoproterenol induced myocardial infarction in rats.
Sharma M, Kishore K, Gupta SK, Joshi S, Arya DS.
Department of Pharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi.

Myocardial infarction (MI) was produced in rats with 85, 200 and 300 mg/kg of isoproterenol (ISO) administered subcutaneously (sc) twice at an interval of 24 h. Shift in antioxidant parameters, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) together with morphological and histopathological changes were investigated. Two hundred mg/kg ISO dose was selected for the present study as this dose offered significant alteration in biochemical parameters along with moderate necrosis in heart. Effect of pre- and co-treatment of hydroalcoholic extract of Ocimum sanctum (Os) at different doses (25, 50, 75, 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg) was investigated against ISO (200 mg/kg) induced myocardial infarction in rats. Modulation of various biochemical parameters and membrane integrity was studied. Os at the dose of 25, 50, 75 and 100 mg/kg reduced significantly glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and LDH levels. It also inhibited the lipid peroxidation as observed by the reduced thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) levels. In the present study Os at the dose of 50 mg/kg was found to demonstrate maximum cardioprotective effect. Above results were further confirmed by histopathological findings. Thus from the present study it is concluded that Os may be of therapeutic and prophylactic value in the treatment of MI.

Pharmacol Res. 1998 Aug;38(2):107-10.  Related Articles, Links  
Ocimum sanctum leaf extract in the regulation of thyroid function in the male mouse.
Panda S, Kar A.
School of Life Sciences, Vigyan Bhawan, Indore, India.

The effects of Ocimum sanctum leaf extract on the changes in the concentrations of serum triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4) and serum cholesterol; in the activities of hepatic glucose-6-phosphatase (G-6-P), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT); hepatic lipid peroxidation (LPO) and on the changes in the weight of the sex organs were investigated. While the plant extract at the dose of 0.5 g kg-1 body wt. for 15 days significantly decreased serum T4 concentrations, hepatic LPO and G-6-P activity, the activities of endogenous antioxidant enzymes, SOD and CAT were increased by the drug. However, no marked changes were observed in serum T3 level, T3/T4 ratio and in the concentration of serum cholesterol. It appears that Ocimum sanctum leaf extract is antithyroidic as well as antioxidative in nature.