Ethnopharmacological relevance: The genus Ocimum (Lamiaceae) has a long history of use as culinary and medicinal herbs. Many species are used for their antioxidant and neuroprotective activity in various parts of the world. Ocimum basilicum Linn. has been used traditionally for the treatment of anxiety, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, headaches, nerve pain, as anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory, and used in a variety of neurodegenerative disorders.
Aim of the study: The present study is designed to investigate the effect of ethyl acetate extract of Ocimum basilicum leaves on ischemia and reperfusion-induced cerebral damage, and motor dysfunctions in mice.
Materials and methods: Global cerebral ischemia was induced by bilateral carotid artery occlusion for 15 min followed by reperfusion for 24h. Cerebral infarct size was measured using triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining. The concentration of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and reduced glutathione (GSH) content was determined by colorimetric assay. Short-term memory was evaluated using elevated plus-maze. Inclined beam walking was employed to assess motor coordination. Bilateral carotid artery occlusion followed by reperfusion produced significant increase in cerebral infarct size and lipid peroxidation (TBARS), and reduced GSH content, and impaired short-term memory and motor coordination.
Results: Pre-treatment with standardized ethyl acetate extract of Ocimum basilicum (100 and 200mg/kg, p.o.) markedly reduced cerebral infarct size and lipid peroxidation, restored GSH content, and attenuated impairment in short-term memory and motor coordination.
Conclusion: The results of the study suggest that Ocimum basilicum could be useful clinically in the prevention of stroke.
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