Feb 12, 2014
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OCIMUM SANCTUM

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Linn.

Synonym ► O. tenuiflorum Linn.

Family ► Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat ► Throughout India; grown in houses, gardens and temples.

English ► Holy Basil, Sacred Basil.

Ayurvedic ► Tulasi, Surasaa, Surasa, Bhuutaghni, Suravalli, Sulabhaa, Manjarikaa, Bahumanjari, Deva- dundubhi, Apet-raakshasi, Shuu- laghni, Graamya, Sulabhaa.

Unani ► Tulasi.

Siddha/Tamil ► Tulasi, Nalla-Tulasi.

Action ► Leaf—carminative, stomachic, antispasmodic, antiasthmatic, antirheumatic, expectorant, stimulant, hepatoprotective, antiperiodic, antipyretic and diaphoretic. Seed— used in genitourinary diseases. Root—antimalarial. Plant—adap- togenic, antistress. Essential oil— antibacterial, antifungal.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India recommends the use of the leaf and seed in rhinitis and influenza; the seed in psychological disorders, including fear-psychosis and obsessions.

Major components of the essential oil are eugenol, carvacrol, nerol and eugenolmethylether. Leaves have been reported to contain ursolic acid, api- genin, luteolin, apigenin-7-O-glucu- ronide, luteolin-7-O-glucuronide, orientin and molludistin.

Ursolic acid, isolated from leaves, exhibited significant protection of mast cell membrane by preventing granulation and decreased histamine release. The ethanolic extract (50%) of fresh leaves, volatile oil from fresh leaves and fixed oil from seeds showed antiasth- matic activity and significantly protected guinea-pigs against histamine and dyspnoea. They also showed anti- inflammatory activity against carrage- enan-, serotonin-, histamine- and PGE-2-induced inflammation and inhibited hind paw oedema in rats.

The ethanol extract (90%) of the leaves showed hepatoprotective effect against paracetamol-induced liver damage.

The plant extract exhibited antiul- cerogenic property against experimental ulcers.

Oral administration of alcoholic extract of leaves lowers blood sugar level in normal, glucose-fed hyperglycaemic and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. The activity of the extract was 91.55 and 70.43% of that of tolbutamide in normal and diabetic rats respectively.

Administration of the juice of the plant affected a significant reduction in the size of urinary brushite crystals.

A study of methanol extract and aqueous suspension of the leaves showed immunostimulation of humoral immunologic response in albino rats indicating the adaptogenic action of the plant.

Dosage ► Seed—1-2 g powder (API, Vol. IV); plant—50-10 ml infusion (CCRAS.).

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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