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*Sumitha K V and Dr. John E Thoppil


In the present review, an attempt has been made to congregate the cytotoxic property of Ocimum, a medicinal herb used in indigenous system of medicine. This medicinal herb is considered as a sacred plant by the Hindus in the Indian subcontinent. Scientific explorations based on traditional medicinal properties of Ocimum (tulsi) have got momentum mostly after the middle of the 20th century. Most of these evidences are based on in-vitro, experimental and a few human studies. Studies in biological models provide proof for its anticancer activity. Since tulsi exhibit anticancer activity in animal models, studies were carried out in human cancer in vivo, viz., human cell fibrosarcoma and in vitro in human cervical cancer cell line (HeLa) and human laryngeal epithelial carcinoma cell line (HEp-2) and it was found to be effective. Studies were found to correlate the cytotoxic potential with anticancer activities. Thus, this review is a concise version of cytotoxic effect of Ocimum. Evaluating the potential cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of plant extracts is essential for standardization of the herb, not only forsafety purposes, but for determining its dosage and to understand the mechanism and broad range of action of these herbs. Therefore, it is worthwhile to review its cytotoxic properties to give an overview of its status to scientists, both modern and Ayurvedic.

Keywords: Ocimum, cytotoxicity, anticancer.

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