Evaluation of immunomodulatory potential of Ocimum sanctum seed oil and its possible mechanism of action

J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Apr;80(1):15-20. doi: 10.1016/s0378-8741(01)00373-7.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation / drug effects
  • Diazepam / pharmacology
  • Erythrocytes / immunology
  • Flumazenil / pharmacology
  • Foot / pathology
  • GABA Modulators / pharmacology
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Male
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic
  • Mice
  • Ocimum basilicum / chemistry*
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Restraint, Physical
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Sheep / immunology
  • Stress, Physiological / immunology*
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • GABA Modulators
  • Plant Oils
  • Flumazenil
  • Diazepam