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Taxonomic Distribution, Medicinal Properties and Drug Development Potentiality of Ocimum (Tulsi)

Author(s): Gayatri Nahak, RC Mishra, RK Sahu

Journal: Drug Invention Today
ISSN 0975-7619

Volume: 3;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 95;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Ocimum | Antioxidant | Antibacterial | Antifungal | Anticancer | Immunomodulatory

Ocimum belonging to family Lamiaceae is widely distributed in tropical and warm temperate regions. The plant iscommonly used in folk medicines to treat different diseases for e.g. upper respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, headache,ophthalmic, skin diseases, pneumonia and also a treatment for cough, fever and conjunctivitis. There are about 160 speciesin this genus broadly dispersed over the warm regions of the globe. The plant grows in wide variety of soil and climaticconditions. The morphology of Tulsi varies from herbs to trees with large variations in leaf shape, size, hairs, glands andmany more morphological peculiarities. All Ocimum species yield essential oils which is responsibe for the medicinal usesincluding antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal and anti-inflammatory activities. Chemotaxonomy has been used as a toolto separate different species by some authors. The review describes the different morphological parameters used in thetaxonomic distributions of Tulsi as much as possible further this review focuses on the therapeutic potential of a largenumber essential oils, cineole, methyl chavicol, carvacrol, eugenol, eugenol methyl ether, methyl eugenol, p-cymene etc andsecondary metabolites like phenols, alkaloids, steroids, sterols, saponins, flavones, flavonoids, tannins etc and an array ofactive phytochemicals for commercial application in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. We hope this review willprovide some useful information on classification of plant species, medicinal uses and their potentiality in biotechnologyindustries.

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