Two varieties of Basil that are widely used in Ayurvedic medicine have been scientifically shown to reduce inflammation and swelling, suggesting that they could have potential in arthritis treatment.

At the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's annual event, the British Pharmaceutical Conference in Manchester, Mr Vaibhav Shinde from Poona Collage of Pharmacy, Pune, India, presented results of studies on the varieties Ocimum tenuiflorum Linn and Ocimum americanum Linn, which are used in Ayurvedic treatment of bronchitis, bronchial asthma, skin diseases, arthritis, inflammation and fever.

Extracts of O. tenuiflorum were shown to reduce swelling by up to 73%, 24 hours after treatment, and similar results were seen with O. americanum. Results for both plants were similar to those seen with diclofenac - an anti-inflammatory drug that is widely used in the treatment of arthritis.

"Our results supported the use of these traditional treatments in inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, and we will now carry out more detailed evaluation of the plants for active compounds which could be developed into new medicines," said Mr Shinde.

Results of the current study add to previous research supporting the medicinal properties of Basil plants1.


1 Prakash P, Gupta N. Therapeutic uses of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) with a note on eugenol and its pharmacological actions: a short review. Indian Journal Physiol. Pharmacol 2005; 49: 125-131

About Ayurvedic medicine

Ayurvedic medicine originated in India over 2000 years ago and is widely practised in India and SE Asia. It aims to balance body, mind and spirit to help prevent illness and promote wellness. It uses a variety of products, including herbs, proteins, minerals and vitamins, and techniques, such as massage, exercise and meditation, to cleanse the body and restore balance.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain