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Indian J Exp Biol. 2007 May;45(5):403-12.

Biological activities of Ocimum sanctum L. fixed oil--an overview.

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Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, University of Delhi, Pushp Vihar, Sector-III, New Delhi 110 017, India.


Seeds of Ocimum sanctum L. (Labiatae; popularly known as 'Tulsi' in Hindi and 'Holy Basil' in English) contain a pale yellow colored fixed oil. The oil possesses antiinflammatory activity due to dual inhibition of arachidonate metabolism supplemented by antihistaminic activity. The antiinflammatory activity is not dependent on the pituitary adrenal axis. The oil possesses antipyretic activity due to prostaglandin inhibition and peripherally acting analgesic activity. The oil has been found to be effective against formaldehyde or adjuvant induced arthritis and turpentine oil induced joint edema in animals. Lipoxygenase inhibitory, histamine antagonistic and antisecretory activities of the oil contribute towards antiulcer activity. The oil can inhibit enhancement of vascular capillary permeability and leucocyte migration following inflammatory stimulus. The LD50 of the oil is 42.5 ml/kg and long-term use of oil at 3 ml/kg dose does not produce any untoward effects in rats. The oil contains a-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, which on metabolism produces eicosapentaenoic acid and the same appears to be responsible for the biological activity. The oil has hypotensive, anticoagulant and immunomodulatory activities. Antioxidant property of the oil renders metabolic inhibition, chemoprevention and hypolipidaemic activity. Presence of linolenic acid in the oil imparts antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus. The oil alone or in combination with cloxacillin, a beta-lactamase resistant penicillin, has been found to be beneficial in bovine mastitis, an inflammatory disorder resulting from staphylococcal infection. Existence of anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antibacterial activities in single entity i.e. fixed oil appears to be unique.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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