An erect 30-60 cm high much branched annual herb. Root is thin and wiry. Stem is erect herbaceous branched and hairy. Leaves have aromatic odor and characteristic taste. Flowers are purplish and crimson colored and fruit is a group of 4 nutlets each having one seed.
Dried whole plant
Demulcents, expectorant, anti periodic.
Root is febrifuge.
Seeds are mucilaginous and demulcent
Dried plant is stomachic and expectorant.
Leaves are anti catarrhal, expectorant, fragrant and aromatic
Actions and uses in ayurveda
Svasa, kasa, hikka, chardi, krimiroga, parsva sula, kustha, asmari, netraroga.
Traditionally Ocimum sanctum is used in malarial fevers, gastric disorders and in hepatic infections. Ocimum sanctum leaves is also used in bronchitis, ringworm and other cutaneous diseases and earache. The leaves are used as a nerve tonic and to sharpen memory.
Ocimum sanctum leaves are abundant in tannins like gallic acid, chlorogenic acid etc and also contain alkaloids, glycosides, and saponins along with the volatile oil. The major active constituents of Holy basil leaves include urosolic acid.
Properties and action
Rasa: katu, tikta, kasaya
Guna: tiksna, laghu, ruksha
Karma: pitta vardhini, vatakapha hara, hridya, dipana, rucya, durgandhihara.
powder, fresh juice
Therapeutic classification index:
Blood and haemopoeitic tissue: the seeds are styptic in nature and plant as a whole is blood purifier
Cardiovascular system: it is cardiprotective.
Respiratory system: it is useful in cough, bronchitis, asthma
Digestive system: infusion of leaves is used a s a stomachic and is used in hepatic affections.
Reproductive system: it is an aphrodisiac
Skin: leaves are used on boils, ringworms, urticaria, leprosy
Ear nose throat: juice poured in ear cures ear ache
Immunity: Tulsi has antimicrobal properties since it is also anti - inflammatory due to the oil eugenol, present in the leaves. The Ursolic acid present in tulsi, has anti-allergic properties.The plant can play a role in the manangement of immunological disorders such as allergies and asthma. The activities of compounds 1-6 were comparable to ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin at 10-, 10-, and 1000-microM concentrations, respectively. These results support traditional uses of O. sanctum and identify the compounds responsible.
Antioxidant activities of tulsi
Anti-oxidant bioassay-directed extraction of the fresh leaves and stems of Ocimum sanctum and purification of the extract yielded the following compounds; cirsilineol , cirsimaritin , isothymusin , isothymonin , apigenin , rosmarinic acid , and appreciable quantities of eugenol. The structures of compounds 1-6 were established using spectroscopic methods. Compounds 1 and 5 were isolated previously from O. sanctum whereas compounds 2 and 3 are here identified for the first time from O. sanctum. Eugenol, a major component of the volatile oil, and compounds 1, 3, 4, and 6 demonstrated good antioxidant activity at 10-microM concentrations.
Kelm MA, Nair MG, Strasburg GM, DeWitt DL.
Tulsi an immuno stimulant
Preclinical and clinical studies have also proved the well known antistress and immunostimulant property of Ocimum sanctum. A study supporting this involved the evaluation of the effect of Ocimum sanctum extract, on the mouse swimming performance. Wherein the extract of Ocimum sanctum increased the swimming time suggesting a central nervous system stimulant and/or antistress activity. Also the effect produced by the Ocimum sanctum extract was comparable to that of desipramine, an antidepressant drug. In the following study the effect of Ocimum sanctum extract was studied on the noise stress induced changes in albino rats. Pretreatment with the Ocimum sanctum extract brought back the stress-altered values like leukopenia, increased corticosterone level and enhanced neutrophil functions to normal levels indicating the stress alleviating effect of ocimum sanctum
Tulsi as an anti biotic
The oil of Ocimum sanctum to possess significant antibacterial and insecticidal properties. It inhibits the in vitro growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Micrococcus pyogenes var. aureus; in antitubercular activity, it has one-tenth the potency of streptomycin and one-fourth that of isoniazid. Ether and alcohol extracts of leaves of Ocimum sanctum were also shown to possess significant activity against Escherichia coli
Hypoglycaemic, hypolipidemic and antioxidant properties of Tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum Linn) on streptozotocin induced diabetes in rats
ABSTRACT: Effect of oral administration of 200 mg/kg body weight of the aqueous extract of Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi) mixed with diet for eight weeks to diabetic (streptozotocin induced) rats was studied. There was significant reduction in fasting blood glucose, serum lipid profile, lipid peroxidation products, (LPO) and improvement in glucose tolerance. The aqueous extract also decreased LPO formation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances TBARS) and increased antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), glutathione transferase (GT) and one antioxidant reduced glutathione (GSH) in plasma and rat liver, lung, kidney and brain. The decrease in TBARS and increase in GSH, SOD, CAT, GPX, and GT clearly shows the antioxidant property of Ocimum sanctum
Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry. 2001 Jul; 16(2): 190-4
Dose: powder (seed) 1-2 g
Powder (leaf) 2-3g
Capsule Tulsi contains pure and concentrated Tulsi
Dosage: one capsule twice a day.
Package 60 capsules
- Prof P.V Sharma, Dravya Guna Vigyana, Vol II, pg 516-518
- Dr.KM Nadkarni, The Indian Materia Medica, Vol.I, pg 865-867
- The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India, Part I, Vol.II, pg 162-167