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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9217567, 13 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/9217567
Review Article

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

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

Correspondence should be addressed to Marc M. Cohen; ua.ude.timr@nehoc.cram

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

Academic Editor: Daniela Rigano

Copyright © 2017 Negar Jamshidi and Marc M. Cohen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Tulsi, also known as holy basil, is indigenous to the Indian continent and highly revered for its medicinal uses within the Ayurvedic and Siddha medical systems. Many in vitro, animal and human studies attest to tulsi having multiple therapeutic actions including adaptogenic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, and immunomodulatory effects, yet to date there are no systematic reviews of human research on tulsi’s clinical efficacy and safety. We conducted a comprehensive literature review of human studies that reported on a clinical outcome after ingestion of tulsi. We searched for studies published in books, theses, conference proceedings, and electronic databases including Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, Embase, Medline, PubMed, Science Direct, and Indian Medical databases. A total of 24 studies were identified that reported therapeutic effects on metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease, immunity, and neurocognition. All studies reported favourable clinical outcomes with no studies reporting any significant adverse events. The reviewed studies reinforce traditional uses and suggest tulsi is an effective treatment for lifestyle-related chronic diseases including diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and psychological stress. Further studies are required to explore mechanisms of action, clarify the dosage and dose form, and determine the populations most likely to benefit from tulsi’s therapeutic effects.