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The Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Tulsi in Humans: A Systematic Review of the Literature.

1. Introduction

Tulsi in Hindi or Tulasi in Sanskrit (holy basil in English) is a highly revered culinary and medicinal aromatic herb from the family Lamiaceae that is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent and been used within Ayurvedic medicine more than 3000 years. In the Ayurveda system tulsi is often referred to as an "Elixir of Life" for its healing powers and has been known to treat many different common health conditions. In the Indian Materia Medica tulsi leaf extracts are described for treatment of bronchitis, rheumatism, and pyrexia [1]. Other reported therapeutic uses include treatment of epilepsy, asthma or dyspnea, hiccups, cough, skin and haematological diseases, parasitic infections, neuralgia, headache, wounds, and inflammation [2] and oral conditions [3]. The juice of the leaves has been applied as a drop for earache [4], while the tea infusion has been used for treatment of gastric and hepatic disorders [5]. The roots and stems were also traditionally used to treat mosquito and snake bites and for malaria [5].

Three types of tulsi are commonly described. Ocimum tenuiflorum (or Ocimum sanctum L.) includes 2 botanically and phytochemically distinct cultivars that include Rama or Sri tulsi (green leaves) and Krishna or Shyama tulsi (purplish leaves) [6, 7], while Ocimum gratissimum is a third type of tulsi known as Vana or wild/forest tulsi (dark green leaves) [8, 9]. The different tulsi types exhibit vast diversity in morphology and phytochemical composition including secondary metabolites, yet they can be distinguished from other Ocimum species by the colour of their yellow pollen, high levels of eugenol [10], and smaller chromosome number [11]. Despite being distinct species with Ocimum tenuiflorum having six times less DNA than Ocimum gratissimum [11], they are traditionally used in the same way to treat similar ailments [5]. For consistency, this review uses the term tulsi to refer to both Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum gratissimum.

Tulsi has been the subject of numerous scientific studies and its pharmacological and wide range of therapeutic applications are the subject of more than one hundred publications during the last decade alone. Numerous in vitro and animal studies attest to tulsi leaf having potent pharmacological actions that include adaptogenic [12-14], metabolic [15-17], immunomodulatory [18-20], anticancer [21-23], antiinflammatory [24,25], antioxidant [26, 27], hepatoprotective [28, 29], radioprotective [30, 31], antimicrobial [32-35], and antidiabetic effects [36-38] that have been extensively reviewed previously [39-45].

Preclinical studies have demonstrated that tulsi increases swimming survival times in mice and prevents stress-induced ulcers in rats [46] with antistress effects comparable to antidepressant drugs [47]. Similarly, recent studies report leaf extracts from ethanolic and aqueous tulsi protects rats from stress-induced cardiovascular changes [48, 49]. Studies in animal models have further shown that the leaf extract of tulsi possesses anticonvulsant and anxiolytic activities [50, 51]. Several animal studies conducted over the past fifty years report that ingestion of tulsi leaves improves both glucose and lipid profiles in normal and diabetic-induced animal models [36, 38, 52-58]. Tulsi aqueous leaf extract intramammary infusion has also showed promising effect on improving the immune response in bovine models [59].

In addition to the extensive literature documenting in vitro and animal research, studies on the use of tulsi as part of a polyherbal formulation in humans has been systematically reviewed [60]. To date, however, there are no systematic reviews on the clinical efficacy and safety of tulsi as a single herbal intervention in humans. The objective of this review was therefore to summarize and critically appraise human clinical trials of tulsi in order to assess the current evidence on tulsi's clinical efficacy and safety.

2. Methods and Materials

2.1. Search Strategies. Relevant clinical studies were identified through searching PubMed, Google Scholar, ScienceDirect, Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Indian Medical databases. The terms in the title or abstract (MeSH and free search terms) alone or in combination searched were "Tulsi", "Tulasi", "Holy Basil", "ocimum sanctum", "Ocimum tenuiflorum", "Ocimum gratissimum", "ocimum", "Albahaca Morada" or combined with "clinical trial", "clinical", or "human".

2.2. Inclusion Criteria. Studies were included if they reported on a human intervention study that involved ingestion of any form of tulsi or holy basil (Ocimum sanctum or Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum gratissimum) and at least one clinical outcome.

2.3. Exclusion Criteria. Studies were excluded if they were reviews, were nonclinical studies, did not involve human subjects, did not report a biological outcome, only involved topical application or only used tulsi at part of a polyherbal formulation, and did not report on the use of tulsi as a single herbal intervention.

2.4. Study Selection. All the titles and abstracts were screened on the basis of the predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria described above. The full text of each article was reviewed to assess suitability of the study with duplications removed. The search included clinical studies written in the English language and articles from inception until November 2016 in the above-mentioned electronic databases. The references of selected articles were manually searched to identify further relevant studies and, where appropriate, study authors were contacted to request further information.

2.5. Quality Assessment. In order to evaluate the quality of design and implementation of trials, information was collected on the study design, randomization, blinding, and description of participant dropouts and the Jadad scale was used to assess methodological quality [84].

2.6. Data Extraction. Eligible studies were reviewed with the following data extracted and tabulated: (1) first author name and year of publication; (2) design of the study; (3) Jadad score; (4) study participants (intervention and control groups); (5) extraction method; (6) duration of intervention; (7) tulsi dose and dose form (8) comparator; (9) outcome measure(s) including both primary and secondary, and (10) any adverse event(s).

3. Results

3.1. Study Description. After screening 1553 studies, a total of 31 articles on tulsi met the inclusion criteria. Four articles were excluded due to being inaccessible and one article reported two independent clinical studies, while one clinical trial was reported in three separate articles. This left a total of 24 independent clinical studies to be reviewed. A flow chart of the systematic search and study selection protocol is presented in Figure 1.

The reviewed studies involved a total of 1111 participants with ages ranging from 10 to 80 years old with eight clinical trials limiting participants to [greater than or equal to] 40 years old [38, 61, 66, 68-70, 72, 75]. Only three clinical trials included 100 or more participants [65, 66, 82]. The study durations ranged from 2 to 13 weeks and tulsi dosage and frequency varied from 300 mg to 3000 mg given as 1-3 times per day as tulsi leaf aqueous extract; 300 mg-1000 mg once or twice per day as tulsi leaf ethanolic extract; 6 g to 14 g per day as the tulsi whole plant aqueous extract; and 10 g fresh tulsi leaf aqueous extract administered as once or four equal doses daily, and as tincture solution 30 drops a day were administered as three equal doses daily.

From the 24 studies identified only eight included a placebo [66, 68, 70, 75-77, 81, 82]. Five of the included trials adopted a two-arm parallel design [62, 63, 65, 67, 80], while four used a cross-over design with one being described in three different papers that reported on two different sets of outcomes [70, 75, 77].

Included studies were classified according to three major clinical domains: metabolic related disorders; immunity; and neurocognitive function (Tables 1,2, and 3). Only two studies described the type of tulsi (Krishna) used while all other papers referred to tulsi as Ocimum sanctum [71, 72] not distinguishing between cultivars. Four studies reported on the use of tulsi alone and along with food, hypoglycemic drug, curry or Neem [63, 67,69,76]. Most studies looked at clinical populations with specific acute or chronic illnesses, such as viral infection, psychological stress, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome, with only three studies reporting on the effects of tulsi in healthy human participants [74, 76, 81].

3.2. Effectiveness and Safety Evaluation. The most common outcome measurements were related to blood glucose levels (8 studies), lipid profile (6 studies), blood pressure (6 studies), immune response (6 studies), and neurocognitive changes (4 studies). Other outcomes included mood (3 studies), fatigue (2 studies), uric acid levels (2 studies), diabetes secondary symptoms (1 study), and sleep (1 study). Fifteen of the 24 included studies reported no adverse events and eight studies did not describe or refer to any adverse events. Only one study that used tulsi leaf extract as 250 mg capsule taken before meals twice daily in 16 obese adults reported the occurrence of occasional nausea.

3.3. Quality Assessment. The studies were classified as either Randomized Clinical Trial Placebo Controlled (RCT-PC 6), Randomized Clinical Trials with no placebo (RCT 7), or Clinical Trials where no information on randomization or control was available (CT 6). Only three out of 24 studies, two of which examined neurocognitive effects [81, 82] and one reported on immunity as well as cardiovascular changes [74, 77], were rated as high quality with Jadad scores of 45 points, with the remaining studies varying in quality with Jadad scores ranging from 0 to 3 points. The score for each included study is presented in Tables 1-3.

3.4. Metabolic Disorders. Seventeen clinical trials reported on metabolic conditions with ten studies reporting on type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome with measures of blood glucose, lipids, and blood pressure, yet only one study reported on the clinical symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes such as polydipsia, polyphagia, polyuria, sweating, fatigue, burning feet, itching, and headache [69]. In addition one study reported on obesity [62] and two studies on uric acid changes in participants with gouty arthritis [38, 65].

Six of the identified trials on metabolic conditions were randomized clinical trials with placebo controls [66, 68, 70, 74,75]. In addition, eight studies were of 2-5 weeks duration [38, 63, 64, 70, 73-75], three were of 6-8 weeks [61, 62, 68], and six were of 12-13 weeks [65-67, 69, 71, 72]. When the duration of the tulsi intervention was increased from 4-5 weeks [38, 70] to 12-13 weeks there was a more dramatic reduction in fasting blood glucose (FBG) and postprandial glucose (PPG) compared to controls [66, 67]. In particular, HbA1c (35.8%) significantly decreased when tulsi was added as adjunct therapy to hypoglycemic medication compared to drug medication alone [67].

The earliest clinical trial conducted in 1964 with 10 patients with type 2 diabetes reported that over a period of 12 weeks, a 14 g decoction of whole Krishna tulsi plant led to a gradual improvement in fasting blood glucose in 9 out of 10 patients [71]. Three decades later, the first randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial reported daily ingestion of 2.5 g of tulsi leaves led to significant improvements of FBG, PPG, and urine glucose in type 2 diabetes patients after 4 weeks [70]. In addition, Rai et al. reported that 4 weeks of supplementation with tulsi powder significantly lowered blood glucose and glycated proteins, reduced uric acid levels, and improved lipid profiles in participants with type 2 diabetes [38]. In comparable trials with longer durations, FBG and PPG improved by 1.2-2.2 and 1.5-6.0 folds, respectively, while HbA1c improved 1.5 and 3.2 fold after 12-13 weeks [66, 67]. Similarly, lipid profile was improved significantly in MetS and diabetes participants in three clinical trials [38, 66, 68] with a separate clinical trial reporting significant improvement in lipid profile in obese participants [62] and a further study reporting improved lipid levels in healthy subjects [74].

A further 12-week study of type 2 diabetes patients reported greater improvement in both blood glucose and HbAc1 levels when 300 mg of tulsi leaf extract was administered along with the antidiabetic drug glibenclamide, compared to drug treatment alone [67]. Similarly, a controlled trial of patients with diabetes found that consumption of 2 g of tulsi powdered leaves, either alone or combined with curry leaves, led to significant improvement in blood sugars after two weeks [63]. In a further 12-week randomized trial in diabetic patients, 2 g of tulsi leaf extract alone or combined with neem leaf extract produced marked reduction in diabetic symptoms with greatest effect noted for the combination [69].

Six trials reported on the effect of tulsi on individual features of metabolic syndrome [62, 72-75]. Two studies reported significant improvement of blood pressure in hypertensive participants given 30 mL of fresh tulsi leaf juice once daily or 30 mL twice a day for 10 and 12 days, respectively [75], with a further study reporting normalisation of blood pressure in hypotensive adult females [73]. Yet another study reported improvement in serum lipids with no difference in blood pressure in healthy adults administered 300 mg per day of tulsi leaf ethanolic extract for 4 weeks [74]. A further study reported improved lipid profiles in older adults (60-80 years) with psychosomatic symptoms after administration of 3 g of whole plant tulsi extract twice daily for 12 weeks [72]. A more recent study also reported improvement in lipid profiles, as well as BMI of obese participants administered 250 mg capsules of tulsi leaf extract twice daily for 8 weeks [62].

3.5. Immunomodulation and Inflammation. Enhanced immune response was reported in five clinical studies [76-80]. A small randomized double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial found increased immune response with increased Natural Killer (NK) and T-helper cells in healthy adult participants compared to placebo volunteers after 4 weeks of 300 mg or ethanolic tulsi leaf extract daily taken before food [77]. Another 2-week controlled randomized study in which young adult volunteers were provided with nutrition bars fortified with 1 g of ethanolic tulsi leaf extract found that compared to control participants, the intervention group had significantly improved VO2 max, less fatigue, reduced Creatine Kinase, and improved immune response to viral infection as indicated by reduced load of human herpesvirus 6 in saliva [76].

Two clinical trials studied the effect of daily administration of 10 g of an aqueous extract of fresh tulsi leaves in patients with acute viral infections, with a study on patients with acute viral encephalitis reporting increased survival after 4 weeks in the tulsi group compared to a group given dexamethasone and a study on viral hepatitis reporting symptomatic improvement after 2 weeks [79, 80]. A further study of asthmatic patients found that 500 mg of dried tulsi leaves taken three times daily improved vital capacity and provided relief of asthmatic symptoms within 3 days [78]. 3.6. Neurocognitive Effect. The four studies that reported on neurocognitive effects all showed significant improvements in mood and/or cognitive function regardless of age, gender, formulation, dose, or quality of the study [72, 81-83]. Cognition function was assessed in a randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial that demonstrated an improvement in cognitive flexibility, short-term memory, and attention in 40 healthy young adults (17-30 years) following treatment with 300 mg daily tulsi for 4 weeks [81]. However, the cognitive effects of tulsi were only significant after the first two weeks compared to the placebo, with no significant difference found in stress levels. This is in contrast to three clinical studies that reported significant reduction in anxiety and stress levels with higher doses of tulsi given over a longer time period [72, 82, 83]. The positive effect of tulsi on mood was demonstrated in three studies, with two studies reporting reductions of 31.6%-39% in overall stress-related symptoms in patients with psychosomatic problems compared to a control group [82, 83].

4. Discussion

Despite a long history of traditional use and widespread availability, relatively few human intervention studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of tulsi for clinical conditions and this is the first comprehensive literature review of published human research on the ingestion of tulsi as a single herbal intervention. The studies identified in this review could be classified according to three main clinical domains including metabolic disorders (15 studies), neurocognitive or mood conditions (4 studies), and immunity and infections (5 studies), which are all extremely relevant to the growing world-wide epidemic of lifestyle-related chronic disease. The finding that the reviewed studies reported favourable clinical effects across these domains suggests that tulsi may indeed be an effective adaptogen that has a role in helping to address the psychological, physiological, immunological, and metabolic stresses of modern living.

It is interesting that tulsi has important clinical effects across diverse therapeutic domains, all of which may have inflammation as an underlying factor. The anti-inflammatory effects of tulsi have been previously documented in many in vitro and in vivo studies [43, 85-88], and it is likely that tulsi has multiple bioactive secondary metabolites that act alone or synergistically to inhibit inflammatory pathways. There is also evidence to suggest that tulsi may be useful as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy and nutrition in the treatment of metabolic disorders thereby reducing the need for high doses of drugs, which may have adverse effects. The clinical effects demonstrated in the reviewed studies suggest tulsi may have an important role in addressing other inflammatory disorders and that the Ayurvedic tradition of consuming tulsi on a daily basis may be an effective lifestyle measure to address many modern chronic diseases.

The most commonly used part of the tulsi plant is the leaf (dried or fresh), which is known to contain several bioactive compounds including eugenol, ursolic acid, [beta]-caryophyllene, linalool, and 1,8-cineole [89-91]. Eugenol has been found to be the major bioactive metabolite common to all three tulsi varieties with varying amounts in each cultivar [92, 93] and it has recently been suggested to act via dual cellular mechanisms to lower blood glucose levels. These include competitively preventing the binding of glucose to serum albumin and inhibiting the conversion of complex carbohydrate to glucose [93]. However, while eugenol has been shown to be bioactive, the phytochemical composition of tulsi is very complex and varies depending on different conditions [94-97] and there are many other potential active secondary metabolites such as other phenylpropanoids (methyl eugenol, rosmarinic acid), monoterpenes (ocimene), and sesquiterpenes (germacrene) that could alone or synergistically produce therapeutic benefits [98].

All reviewed studies reported favourable clinical effects with minimal or no side effects irrespective of dose, formulation, or the age or gender of participants, with only one clinical trial reporting transient mild nausea [62]. As the longest study was only 13 weeks, the failure to report any adverse effects does not preclude the presence of any long term side effects; however, the long traditional history of regular tulsi use suggests any serious long term effects are unlikely and that daily ingestion of tulsi is safe. Furthermore, the results of this review are consistent with previous evidence for the clinical efficacy and safety of tulsi, which includes multiple in vitro and in vivo studies and many human clinical trials in addition to traditional use.

4.1. Limitations and Scope. This review, which comprehensively reviewed all human clinical trials published in English language on ingestion of tulsi as a single herb, has many limitations. While the review included 24 studies and minimized bias by using a systematic and independent search strategy without limiting publication year or study design, we cannot be certain that all studies were located; this is especially due to the fact that almost all studies were conducted in India and published in local journals, some of which are very difficult to access or search. There may also be unpublished studies that report negative outcomes [99]. Furthermore, while the reviewed studies were consistent in reporting positive effects of tulsi in humans, only 7 out of 24 can be considered high quality studies with all but three failing to include a double-blind strategy. Tulsi's therapeutic effects may have therefore been overestimated and while the efficacy of tulsi was reported across a wide range of formulations and doses, many studies also failed to provide details of the cultivar, dosage form, or specific dosage or quality control measures of the tulsi used.

This review suggests that tulsi is an example of the Ayurvedic holistic lifestyle approach to health and appears to provide a vast array of health benefits that offers solutions to many modern day health problems. While the reviewed studies could be classified into three major therapeutic domains, there is insufficient evidence for any specific tulsi formulation to assist in any one condition. More rigorous studies with larger sample sizes and longer durations and standardised formulations are therefore needed before specific recommendations can be made for the treatment of any specific disease. This review further highlights the need to investigate and determine unique signature compounds specific to each of the three tulsi varieties, to not only identify the bioactive metabolites that may synergistically interact, but also shed light on the underlying mechanism of action on metabolic and inflammatory pathways.

5. Conclusion

Despite the lack of large-scale or long term clinical trials on the effect of tulsi in humans, the findings from 24 human studies published to date suggest that the tulsi is a safe herbal intervention that may assist in normalising glucose, blood pressure and lipid profiles, and dealing with psychological and immunological stress. Furthermore, these studies indicate the daily addition of tulsi to the diet and/or as adjunct to drug therapy can potentially assist in prevention or reduction of various health conditions and warrants further clinical evaluation.

Conflicts of Interest

Professor Marc M. Cohen receives remuneration as a consultant and advisor to Organic India Pty. Ltd., which is a company that manufactures and distributes tulsi products.

This article is the independent work of the authors and Organic India did not have input into the article's content or the decision to publish it.


Negar Jamshidi is a Ph.D. student supported by an RMIT University Scholarship.


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Negar Jamshidi and Marc M. Cohen

School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Correspondence should be addressed to Marc M. Cohen;

Received 21 December 2016; Revised 20 February 2017; Accepted 22 February 2017; Published 16 March 2017

Academic Editor: Daniela Rigano

Caption: Figure 1: Flow chart of systematic search and study selection protocol.
Table 1: Effect of tulsi on metabolic related-disorders in human
clinical trials.

Clinical     Authors            Study design           Jadad
domain       (year)                                    score

             Gandhi et al.      Randomized             1
             (2016) [61]        controlled clinical

             Satapathy et       Randomized parallel    3
             al. (2016) [62]    group clinical trial

             Venkatesan and     Clinical trial
             Sengupta (2015)    controlled parallel    0
             [63]               group

             Srinivasa          Clinical study case
             Prasadacharyulu    report                 0
              (2014) [64]

Metabolic    Ahmad et al.       Randomized single-
disorders    (2013) [65]        blind parallel group   2

             Devra et al.       Randomized, placebo-   1
             (2012) [66]        controlled clinical

             Somasundaram       Randomized,
             et al. (2012)      controlled parallel    1
             [67]               clinical Trial

             Dineshkumar et     Randomized placebo-
             al. (2010) [68]    controlled clinical    3

             Kochhar et al.     Randomized,
             (2009) [69]        clinical trial         1

             Rai et al.         Clinical trial         1
             (1997) [38]        controlled group

             Agrawal et al.     Randomized, single-    1
             (1996) [70]        blind, Placebo-
                                controlled cross-

             Luthy (1964)       Clinical trial         1

             Verma et al.       Clinical trial         0
             (2012) [72]

             Bhargava et al.,   Clinical study open    1
             (2013) [73]        label

                                Randomized, double-
             Mondai et al.      blind, placebo-        5
             (2012) [74]        controlled cross-
                                over leaves

             Sarvaiya (1986)    Randomized placebo
             [75]               controlled cross-      1

             Sarvaiya (1986)    Randomized placebo-
             [75]               controlled             1

Clinical     Participants **        Tulsi                  Intervention
domain       (age range)            extract                Duration *

             40 male adults         Tulsi leaves caps      6.5 weeks
             T2DM (45-55 years)

             30 adults Obesity      Tulasi1 leaves caps    8 weeks
             (17-30 years)

             30 adults T2DM         Tulsi powder leaves
                                                           2 weeks

             3 adults T2DM          Fresh tulsi leaves
                                                           5 weeks

Metabolic    200 adults             Tincture(2) from
disorders    Gouty Arthritis        tulsi                  12 weeks

             100 adults MetS        Aqueous tulsi Leaves   12 weeks
             (>40 years)

             60 adults              Tulsi leaves +
             T2DM                   glibenclamide          13 weeks
             (30-65 years)          drug

             40 adults
             T2DM (45-55 years)     Aqueous tulsi leaves   8 weeks

             90 male adults         Powder                 12 weeks
             T2DM/MetS              tulsi leaves
             (40-60 years)

             27 adults T2DM/MeS     Tulsi powder leaves    4 weeks
             (45-65 years)

             40 adults T2DM         Tulsi powder leaves    5 weeks
             (41-65 years)                                 (+5-day
                                                           wash out)

             10 adults T2DM         Whole plant            12 weeks

             5 adults               Powder whole plant
             psychosomatic          tulsi Fresh juice 15   12 weeks
             (60-80 years)          tulsi leaves
             50 Female

             adults hypotensive                            4 weeks
             (18-30 years)

             22 healthy adults      Ethanolic              4 weeks
             (22-37 years)          tulsi                  (+3-week

             20 adults,             Fresh Juice 75%        10 days
             hypertension           tulsi                  (+5-day
             (45-64 years)                                 wash-out)

             16 adults,             Fresh Juice 75%
             hypertension           tulsi                  12 days
             (45-64 years)

Clinical     Intervention           Comparator
domain       Dosage

             3 g/day before meal    Not disclosed

             250mg/day 2x daily     Parallel group no
             before meal            intervention

                                    Curry leaves tulsi +
             2g/day                 curry

             fresh leaves (3) 3x    None

Metabolic    10 drops 3 times/day   Tincture
disorders                           wild rosemary 10
                                    drops x 3/day

             5 mL/x2 day before     Not disclosed

             300 mg/day tulsi       5 mg/day
             + 5 mg                 glibenclamide

             500 g/day              Water

             2g/day                 Neem
                                    neem + tulsi

             lg/day in morning      None
             before meal

             2.5g/day in morning    Spinach powder
             before meal            leaves 2.5 g/day

             14 g/day               None

             3 g x 2/day            None

             Juice x 2/day          None

             300 mg/day             300 mg/day
             before food            sucrose

                                    Green colored
             30 mL/day              water 30 mL/day
                                    before meal

             30 mL                  Green-colored
             2 times a day before   water 30 mL x 2/day
             before meals

Clinical     Outcome                Adverse
domain       measure(s)             events (s)

             Significant!           Not reported
             postprandial glucose
             & fasting blood

             Improved BMI, lipid    Mild nausea
             profile (except TC),
             TG & IR

             Significant[down       Not reported
             arrow] post-
             prandial glucose &
             fasting blood

             decrease in blood      None
             glucose reaching
             near normal levels

Metabolic    Significant
disorders    reduction in serum     Not reported
             uric acid

             Improved lipid         Not reported
             profile, fasting
             blood glucose, and

             Significant [down
             arrow] [fasting blood  None
             & postprandial
             glucose reduced

             improvement in lipid   None

             Improved T2DM          Not
             symptoms: [down        reported
             arrow] polydipsia,
             [down arrow]
             polyphagia, & BP

             Improved lipid         Not reported
             profile, blood
             glucose, glycated
             proteins (HbA1c) &

             Significant [down      None
             arrow] fasting blood
             glucose, post-
             prandial glucose and
             urine glucose

             Reduced blood          None
             glucose in 9 T2DM

             improvement in lipid   None

             Significant changes,   Not reported
             in Blood pressure

             Reduction in lipid     None
             profile, in 6

             Significant [down      None
             arrow] blood

             Significant [down
             arrow] blood           None
             pressure (lowered by

BMI = body mass index measured by weight (kg)/height ([m.sup.2]);
BP = blood pressure; HbA1C = glycosylated haemoglobin; IR = insulin
resistance; MetS = metabolic syndrome; T2DM = type 2 diabetes
mellitus; TC = total cholesterol, TG = triglycerides; UA = uric

* Intervention duration is the time the intervention was
administered excluding any washout periods.

** Participants who completed the study are listed excluding any

(1) Tulasi Tablets are product of Himalaya Herbal Healthcare
Pharmaceutical Company in India.

(2) Tincture is a product of BM private limited.

(3) The quantity of tulsi fresh leaves was not specified; "handful"
of leaves was given to each patient.

Table 2: Effect of tulsi on immune system and viral infections in human
clinical trials.

Clinical           Authors           Study design           Jadad
domain             (year)                                   score

                   Venu Prasad       Randomized, placebo-   3
                   (2014) [76]       controlled clinical

Immunomodulation   Mondaf et al.     Randomized, double-    5
                   (2011) [77]       blind, placebo-
                                     controlled cross-

                   Sharma (1983)     Open clinical trial    1

Viral infections   Rajalakshmi et    Clinical trial         0
                   al. (1986) [79]

                   Das et al.        Randomized clinical    1
                   (1983) [80]       trial parallel-

Clinical           Participants **        Tulsi
domain             (age range)            extract

                   30 healthy adults      Ethanolic
                   (18-30 years)          tulsi leaves in Bar *

Immunomodulation   22 healthy adults      Ethanolic
                   (22-37 years)          tulsi leaves

                   20 adults, asthma      Aqueous tulsi leaves

Viral infections   20 cases, viral        Aqueous extract
                   hepatitis (10-60       fresh tulsi leaves

                   14 adults, viral       Aqueous extract
                   encephalitis           fresh tulsi leaves

Clinical                     Intervention
domain             Duration *              Dosage

                   2 weeks                1 bar x 2/day (1000
                                          mg tulsi)

Immunomodulation   4 weeks (+3 weeks      300 mg/day
                   wash out)

                   1 week                 500 mg x 3/day

Viral infections   2 weeks for mild       10 g daily
                   cases 3 weeks for
                   Severe cases

                   4 weeks                2.5 g 4 times/day

Clinical           Comparator             Outcome
domain                                    measure(s)

                   Not described          [up arrow] physical
                   "control bar"          performance, [down
                                          arrow] fatigue and
                                          CK levels less
                                          increase in lactic

Immunomodulation   Cellulose 300 mg/day   Increased cytokine
                                          level, interferon-
                                          [gamma], &

                   None                   Relief within 3
                                          days, improved vital

Viral infections   None                   Symptoms all
                                          improved within 2

                   12 mg/day              Increased survival
                   dexamethasone          rate compared to
                   treated group          steroid

Clinical           Adverse
domain             events (s)


Immunomodulation   None


Viral infections   None

                   Not reported

CK = creatine kinase; TPE = tropical pulmonary eosinophilia.

* Intervention duration included wash-out periods where applicable
until study was completed.

** Participants include both control and intervention groups
completing the study and excluded any drop-outs.

([dagger]) Same results as previously published (Mondai et al.,

([double dagger]) Tulsi enriched bar: each 25 g bar contained oats,
resin, peanuts, skimmed milk powder, sugar, and honey and 0.5%
ethanolic tulsi.

Table 3: Therapeutic effects of tulsi on cognitive function, mood, and
stress in human clinical trials.

Clinical         Authors                    Study design         Jadad
domain           (year)                                          score

                 Sampath et al.             double-blind,        5
                 (2015) [81]                placebo controlled
                                            clinical trial

                 Saxena et al.              Randomized,
                 (2012) [82]                double-blind,        4
Neurocognition                              placebo-controlled

                 Verma ([double dagger])    Clinical trial
                 et al. (2012) [72]                              0

                 Bhattacharyya et al.       Clinical trial
                 (2008) [83]                                     1

Clinical         Participants **      Tulsi              Intervention
domain           (age range)          extract            Duration *

                 40 healthy adults    Ethanolic tulsi
                 (18-30 years)        leaves capsules    4 weeks

                 150 adults,          OCIBEST1'
                 stress               whole plant        6 weeks
Neurocognition   (18-65 years)        capsules

                 24 adults,           powder
                 psychosomatic        whole plant        12 weeks
                 (60-80 years)        tulsi

                 35 adults            Ethanolic
                 with GAD             tulsi leaves       8 weeks
                 (18-60 years)        capsules

Clinical         Intervention   Comparator    Outcome
domain           Dosage                       measure(s)

                 300 mg/day     Cellulose     flexibility,
                 before meals   capsules      attention, Improved
                                              working memory only
                                              after day 15

                 400 mg         Cellulose     Reduction in stress
                 3 times/day    capsules      related symptoms:
Neurocognition   after meals                  fatigue, sleep and
                                              sexual problems

                                              Reduced anxiety
                 3 g x 2/day    None          significantly
                                              lowered biological
                                              age score

                 500 mg                       Self-reported
                 2x daily       None          questionnaire, 1
                 after meals                  anxiety, stress, &
Clinical         Adverse
domain           events (s)





GAD = generalized anxiety disorder.

* Intervention duration is the time the intervention was
administered excluding any washout periods.

** Participants
include both control and intervention groups completing the study
and excluded any drop-outs.

([dagger]) OCIBEST is product of
natural remedies and contains tulsi whole plant.

([double dagger]) Authors also reported findings from glucose and
lipid profile for 5 of the participants and found lipid profile
significantly improved.
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