The science behind sacredness of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn.)

Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. Oct-Dec 2009;53(4):291-306.


Medicinal properties of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn) are known for thousand years to various civilizations of the world. This medicinal herb is considered as a sacred plant by the Hindus in the Indian subcontinent. Scientific explorations of traditional belief of medicinal properties of Tulsi have got momentum mostly after the middle of the 20th century. In the present review, efforts have been made to sum up different aspects of scientific studies on this medicinal plant. Scientific evidences are available on various medicinal aspects i.e. antimicrobial, adaptogenic, antidiabetic, hepato-protective, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, radioprotective, immunomodulatory, neuro-protective, cardio-protective, mosquito repellent etc. to name a few. Most of these evidences are based on in-vitro, experimental and a few human studies.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology
  • Contraceptive Agents / pharmacology
  • Heart Diseases / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis / prevention & control
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology
  • India
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic / history*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Ocimum / chemistry*
  • Ocimum / toxicity
  • Phytotherapy / history
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Plants, Medicinal / toxicity
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / pharmacology
  • Religion


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Contraceptive Agents
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Protective Agents
  • Radiation-Protective Agents