This extract is derived form the plant of Ocimum sanctum belonging to family Labiatae. Hindus regard it as an earthly manifestation of goddess Vrindavani, who is dear to Lord Vishnu. It has been widely grown throughout the world and commonly cultivated in gardens. Traditionally Ocimum sanctum is used in malarial fevers, gastric disorders and in hepatic infections. Ocimum sanctum leaves is also used in bronchitis, ringworm and other cutaneous diseases and earache. The leaves are used as a nerve tonic and to sharpen memory. Ocimum sanctum leaves are abundant in tannins like gallic acid, chlorogenic acid etc and also contain alkaloids, glycosides, and saponins along with the volatile oil. The major active constituents of Holy basil leaves include urosolic acid.
Preclinical and clinical studies have also proved the well known antistress and immunostimulant property of Ocimum sanctum. A study supporting this involved the evaluation of the effect of Ocimum sanctum extract, on the mouse swimming performance. Wherein the extract of Ocimum sanctum increased the swimming time suggesting a central nervous system stimulant and/or antistress activity. Also the effect produced by the Ocimum sanctum extract was comparable to that of desipramine, an antidepressant drug. In the following study the effect of Ocimum sanctum extract was studied on the noise stress induced changes in albino rats. Pretreatment with the Ocimum sanctum extract brought back the stress-altered values like leukopenia, increased corticosterone level and enhanced neutrophil functions to normal levels indicating the stress alleviating effect of ocimum sanctum.