Palla Ravi et al / IJRAP 3(2), Mar – Apr 2012
A REVIEW ON KRISHNA TULSI, OCIMUM TENUIFLORUM LINN.
Palla Ravi*, A.Elumalai, M.Chinna Eswaraiah, Raju Kasarla
Department of Pharmacognosy, Anurag Pharmacy College, Ananthagiri (V), Kodad (M), Nalgonda (DT), Andhra
Received on: 02/01/12 Revised on: 18/02/12 Accepted on: 12/03/12
Palla Ravi, Student. Email: email@example.com
Ocimum tenuiflorum is the most sacred herb in India and it is otherwise called a s Krishna tulsi. O.tenuiflorum belongs to La miaceae family, which
posses various healing medicinal properties for human life. Traditionally the various parts like leaves, flowers and stems are being used in the
treatment various disorders such as skin diseases, cold, cough, fever, vomiting, swelling etc. Into this, O.tenuiflorum was reported t o have anti-cancer,
antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and immuno-stimulatory properties. The main chemical
constituents present in O.tenuiflorum are eugenol, methyl cinnamate, camphor and thymol. The aim of this work is t o highlight the updated review
consists of scientifically proved medicinal activities against various disorders.
Key Words: Ocimum tenuiflorum, Lamiaceae, Traditional uses, updated review.
There is rising interest of herbal drugs in the health and
their benefits. The beneficial reason is that they might
offer a natural safeguard against the development of
certain conditions and be a reputed treatment for some
diseases or ailments. At the present time, the practice of
using herbal drugs has become main stream throughout
the world. The herbal preparations are considered
moderate in efficacy and are less toxic than the most
commonly used pharmaceutical drugs1. India has been
identified as one of the top twelve mega bio-diversity
centre of the world. This is because India has a vast area
with wide variation in climate, soil, altitude and latitude.
India with its biggest repository of medicinal plants in the
world may maintain an important position in the
production of raw materials either directly for crude drugs
or as the bioactive compounds in the formulation of
pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
O.tenuiflorum is native throughout the old world tropics
and widely cultivating for its medicinal value2. It is an
erect, much branched sub shrub, 30–60 cm tall, leaf
arrangement: opposite arrangement, stipule: absent,
petioles: 5 mm, leaf: dark green to green in colour, ovate,
margin: serrate, inflorescence: raceme type, floral bracts:
caudiform in shape, flowers: vertical, 5-7 mm in length,
calyx: greenish in colour; 5 in number, corolla: bilabiate
in shape and covered with scattered hairs, white petals,
stamens: 4, filament length is 1 mm. filament colour is
white, ovary: absent, style: single style; colour is white,
fruit: none seed: plant is a prolific producer of seed; the
seed is very small, white in colour, stem: stem are covered
with minute hairs.
Species: Ocimum tenuiflorum Linn.
In traditional medicine, aqueous extract of O.tenuiflorum
leaves is used for common colds and fever. Whole
powder is also used for treating jaundice and for
alleviating blood pressure.
The main chemical constituents present in O.tenuiflorum
are oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid, eugenol,
carvacrol, Linalool, and β-caryophyllene.
Sermakkani and Thangapandian reported the anti-
microbial activity of hexane, acetone and ethanol extracts
of leaves of O.tenuiflorum by disc diffusion method
against certain Gram-positive and Gram negative bacterial
pathogens and some fungus. The acetone extracts showed
a wide range of antibacterial activity against bacterial and
fungal pathogens than the hexane extract, where as
ethanol extract were slightly lower antimicrobial activity
than acetone extract. The preliminary chemical tests
performed in all extracts showed the presence of
saponins, alkaloids, flavonoids, cardiac glycosides,
steroids, phenols and tannins4.
Balaji et al reported the antioxidant activities and total
phenolic assay in methanolic extracts of stem and leaves
of Ocimum tenuiflorum by using BHT (Butylated
hydroxyl toluene) and ascorbic acid as standard
antioxidant. Total phenolic content was estimated in both
extracts, leaf extract showed more activity (3.66g/100gm)
than stem. 1, 1-diphenyl-2-picryl hydrazyl (DPPH) free
radical scavenging activity was assayed; leaf showed 71%
higher activity than stem, in leaf extract showed more
(82%) of Superoxide anion scavenging activity than stem.
Hydroxyl radical scavenging activity was assayed leaf
showed 69.2% higher activity than stem. Determination
of carotenoids showed 26.5g/100gm higher in leaf extract.
Quantification of ascorbic acid showed higher in leaf
extract 6.4g/100gm than stem. This study reveals that
Palla Ravi et al / IJRAP 3(2), Mar – Apr 2012
O.tenuiflorum would exert several beneficial effects by
virtue of their antioxidant activity5.
Ameeta et al reported the hypoglycaemic activity on 123
plants. In that one of these plants was O.tenuiflorum.
They evaluated the anti-diabetic activity by the inhibition
of PPA (porcine pancreatic a-amylase) using the
chromogenic DNSA (3, 5-dinitrosalicylic acid) method.
Of the 126 extracts obtained from 17 plants, 17 extracts
exhibited PPA inhibitory potential to varying degrees
(10%-60.5%) while 4 extracts showed low inhibition (<
10%). However, strong porcine pancreatic amylase
inhibitory activity (> 50%) was obtained with 3 extracts.
All these 3 extracts exhibited concentration dependent
inhibition with IC50 values, viz., seeds of Linum
usitatisumum (540 μgml-1), leaves of Morus alba (1440
μgml-1) and O.tenuiflorum (8.9 μgml-1). Acarbose as the
standard inhibitor exhibited an IC50 (half maximal
inhibitory concentration) value of 10.2 μgml-1.
Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of
alkaloids, tannins, cardiac glycosides, flavonoids,
saponins and steroids6.
Praveen Kumar et al had reported the cardiac effects of
extracts derived from the leaves of Ocimum tenuiflorum,
Ocimum sanctum, stem of Cissus quadrangularis, leaves
of Trachyspermum ammi, Azadirachta indica and flowers
of Alangium salvifolium by Frog’s isolated perfused heart
and Frog’s hypodynamic heart (frog heart perfusion using
syme’s cannula) method. The leaves of O.tenuiflorum,
Ocimum sanctum, stem of C.quadrangularis, T.ammi,
A.indica and A.salvifolium were screened for their effects
on frog-heart in situ preparation. The extracts produced
significant positive ionotropic and negative chronotropic
actions on frog heart. The leaves of O.tenuiflorum
exhibited more cardiotonic and cardiac stimulant effect
than other plants7.
Jhori et al reported the anti-fertility activity in pet ether
extracts of fresh leaves of Ocimum tenuiflorum. The
maximum activity showed at a dose of 250mg/kg. The
treatment was continued upto 7th day of post-mating
period. The extract can affect the oestrous cycle by
blocking the biogenesis of ovarian steroids in high
percentage at any intermediary stage along with the
remarkable imbalance of ascorbic acid and cholesterol
contents in ovary and exhibited them as significant
contraceptive, anti-estrogenic and anti-progestational
Gajula et al reported the anti-cancer activity in leaf
powder of O.tenuiflorum in azoxymethane induced colon
tumours in fisher 344 male rats. Carcinogenesis was
induced by subcutaneous administration of azoxymethane
(16mg/kg body weight in saline) at 7th and 8th week.
Tumors/tumour bearing rat’s ratio was reduced by 78% in
rats. The reduction in hepatic enzymes like Glutathione-S-
Transferase, Superoxide dismutase and catalase by
O.tenuiflorum compared with control diet. Thus extracts
showed higher chemoprotective agent9.
Rushikesh et al reported the larvicidal activity in hydro
distillated oil obtained from fresh leaves of O.tenuiflorum
in Aedes aegypti Instar III mosquito larvae. The volatile
oil showed IC50 value of about 291.29 ppm. The
maximum activity showed at a concentration of 500µg/ml
about 64%. Thus the essential oil was being very useful
in preventing the mosquito borne diseases such as
malaria, dengue, etc10.
Joshi and Parle reported the nootropic activity in
methanolic extract of whole plant part of Ocimum
tenuiflorum by inhibition of acetyl cholinesterase in mice.
Scopolamine at a dose of 0.4mg/kg was used as standard.
The extracts of O.tenuiflorum at a dose of 200mg/kg
showed maximum step down latency about 253.62. Thus
the cholinergic system plays an important role in learning
Archana sharma et al reported the biochemical estimation
of primary metabolites in vivo plant parts (leaves, stem
and root) and in vitro (callus)of Ocimum tenuiflorum like
total soluble sugar, starch, lipid, protein and phenol. The
plant parts varied in composition of their primary
metabolites. The results showed that the maximum
content of total soluble sugar (3.5±0.08 mg/gfw), lipid
(2.6±011 mg/gfw), protein (3.6±0.65 mg/gfw) and phenol
(1.8±0.456 mg/gfw) and maximum starch found in root
(2.1±.014 mg/gfw) 12.
Figure 1: Oleanolic acid
Figure 2: Ursolic acid
Figure 3: Rosmarinic acid
Palla Ravi et al / IJRAP 3(2), Mar – Apr 2012
Figure 4: Ocimum tenuiflorum
The extensive literature survey revealed that Ocimum
tenuiflorum is important medicinal plant with diverse
pharmacological spectrum. The plant shows the presence
of many chemical constituents which are responsible for
varied pharmacological and medicinal property. The
evaluation needs to be carried out on Ocimum tenuiflorum
in order to its uses and formulation of the plant in their
practical clinical applications, which can be used for the
welfare of the mankind.
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