A Review on Phytoconstituents of Ocimum (Tulsi)
The use of plants as sources of medicines are human substance has been in vogue since antiquity. Large numbers of plants are utilized in various systems of medicine practiced in India and local health traditions for the treatment of human diseases since time immemorial. Among the plants known for medicinal value, the plants of genus Ocimum belonging to family Lamiaceae are very important for their therapeutic potentials. Tulsi is the legendary 'Incomparable one' of India, is one of the holiest and most cherished of the many healing and healthy giving herbs of the orient. Traditionally, Tulsi is taken in many forms: as an herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf, or mixed with Honey or Ghee. For centuries, the dried leaves of Tulsi have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects. Many research and studies suggest that Tulsi may be a COX-2 inhibitor, like many modern painkillers, due to its significant amount of eugenol. The chemical composition of Tulsi is highly complex, containing many nutrients and other biological active compounds. These constituents significantly vary with time, cultivation process and storage. The nutritional and pharmacological properties of the whole herb in natural form, result from synergistic interaction of many different active phytochemicals, consequently, the overall effects of Tulsi cannot be fully duplicated with isolated compound or extracts. Recent studies have shown new promising pharmacologically active chemical constituents from this ancient phytomedicine. The present review summarizes the comprehensive information concerning the traditional use, Ayurvedic properties and Phytochemistry of Tulsi.
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