A Review on Significance of Ocimum tenuiflorum and Alpinia galanga and their Combined Effects


Brindha Devi P., Bagyalakshmi K. R., Gayathri S.

Department of Bio-Engineering, B. Tech Biotechnology, Vels Institute of Science, Technology and Advanced Studies, Chennai

*Corresponding Author E-mail: pbrindhadevi@gmail.com



The plants are one of the common and highly useful medicinal sources that are used since ages. Every single parts of plant like leaves, stem, roots, seeds, fruits and flowers has its very own restorative medicinal properties and applications. They are the rich sources of natural phytoconstitutents and have more therapeutic potentials which are used for drug development. Medicinal plants are essential wellspring of organic compounds. The Aromatic plant Ocimum tenuiflorum commonly called as Tulsi and Alpinia galanga commonly as greater Galangal are two of the natural plants that are loaded with more medicinal properties like antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, etc. Tulsi is known as ‘Queen of Herbs’ and its eugenol a phenolic phytoconstituent which is responsible for therapeutic actions against skin infections, diabetes, neuralgia, cancer, respiratory, gastric, cardiac and genitourinary disorders, digestion issues and so on. Galangal mainly the rhizome part is famous for food spices and its fragrance. It has more potency to fight against different kinds of cancer; it is a good anti-inflammatory agent and antimicrobial agent and a perfect free radical scavenger. The both ayurvedic plant species have a predominant solution to modern lifestyle health related issues. Their activities get more enhanced when their extract are combined as both the benefits act for a single cause. This paper summaries the pharmacological activity of both Ocimum tenuiflorum and Alpinia galanga and their combined effects.


KEYWORDS: Medicinal Plants, Ocimum tenuiflorum, Alpinia galanga, phytoconstituents, combined effects.




The plants are considered to be as a god’s gift. Plants have been utilized for therapeutic purposes well before ancient period. A study states that Indian Vaids and other European and Mediterranean societies were treating disease with herbs for more than 400 decades. The backwoods in India is the chief store of vast number of restorative and fragrant plants, which are generally gathered as crude materials for make of medications and perfumery items. Some of these medicinal plants are being used to treat infectious disease.





In the developing world, infectious disease is often super imposed on a background of public health problems and challenging emergent condition. Such diseases are growing resistant to the current modern medicines and treatments. Thus, upcoming research is finding treatment and prevention for the resistant diseases developing in the current era. Traditional plants are used to treat multiple diseases and injuries all over the world. Plants are the cheap and readily available source for the medical treatment, with fewer side effects. The can be utilized by humans because they are vastly available renewable energy sources with beneficial effects. In the traditional system, plants have been evidenced to be effective source for the antibacterial drugs and also have more therapeutic potentials, and the use of plants in medicine has proved to be economical. Till now different parts of plants like leaves, roots, flowers, rhizomes serves as the important source for drug development, international seed banks, synthetic seed cultivation, green house plantation, etc.[7][54].


New technologies and methods like in the modern world are present to prevent plant species from extinction. These methods help to store extinct plant seeds and the plant so they can be cultivated in the future when they are nearing extinction or when needed. Many people still consume the traditional medicinal plants and the utilization of plants is exceptionally old. In India, be that as it may, most punctual references of utilization of plants as medication show up in Rigveda which is said to be composed between 3500 – 1600 B.C. Afterward the properties and restorative employments of restorative plants were considered in detail and recorded exactly by the old doctors in Ayurveda (an indigenous arrangement of medication) which is a fundamental establishment of antiquated therapeutic science in India [42,56].


1.2. Importance of Natural Plants:

Plant based medicines proved to be the major cure in traditional system of medicine. Therapeutic plants have given human a stronger medication to reduce or destroy disease despite progression in modern drugs. The utilization of plant-derived medications all over world is expanding[6][46,28]. Angel M et al and Smet pa et al said that there have been many notable advances made in the cutting edge (engineered) medication there are as yet an expansive number of infirmities or contamination (illnesses) for which the cure is not found still. Through ongoing explores on home grown plants or prescription, there have been incredible advancements in the pharmacological assessment of different plants utilized in customary frameworks of drug. Subsequently, the medicinal plants can be depicted as a noteworthy wellspring of meds, not just as separated dynamic standards to be administered in institutionalized measurement shape yet in addition as unrefined medications for the populace. These days medications and natural drugs are a part of the living being and it’s a complimentary one[3] [35, 41, 45,49].


1.3. Benefits of Combining Plants:

Rioz JL et al stated that Samyoga is an ancient practice of combining herbs. This is best in treatment because these distinctive sorts of herbs, exactly mixed, make an entire that is more prominent than the individual and result in a last recipe that has the twin advantages of wholeness and equalization. A study has proved that the combined extract of Psidiumguajava and Syzygiumcumini indicated more alpha amylase that increased the ability of glucose uptake in rats than the individual plants and they are proved to provide good anti-diabetic activity[11]. Also another study says that the combined plant extracts of Aloe secundiflora, Bulbinefrutescens, Tagetesminuta and Vernonia were proven to treat against the bacterial pathogens. Their study proved that the plant extracts can be used in combination that improves effectiveness in treating the diseases[14] [39].


2. Ocimum tenuiflorum:

Ocimum tenuiflorum commonly known Tulsi or Holy basil “The Queen of Herbs” is an aromatic perennial herb with pungent taste belongs to the family Lamiaceae which are widely distributed in Southeast Asian Tropics. Tulsi is an upright, branched shrub, 30 to 60 cm long with minute hairy stems and their leaves are like green or purple in colour. It has been worshiped as religious herb, used for traditional medicine purposes. Among the aromatic herbs tulsi has a rich wellspring of naturally dynamic compounds and secondary metabolites like eugenol, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid, carvacrol, linalool, beta-caryophyllene, germacrene, alpha-selinene, beta-pinene, camphor and some traces of compounds[16].


2.1. Importance of Ocimum tenuiflorum:

O. tenuiflorum has a potent adoption to pathogenic microorganisms and also protects and detoxifies the body. Many research studies reveals basil have numerous activities such as antimicrobial, anti-cataract, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypercholesterolemia, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic, antipyretic, memory enhancement, antitussive, antifertility, anti-stress, diaphoretic, anti-thyroid, anti-emetic, anti-lekukodermal, hypoglycemic, hepatoprotective, expectorants, analgesics, anti-emetics, antipyretics, stress reducers, inflammation relievers, anti-asthmatics, hypolipidemic and as immune modulatory agents[10,31,36,48]. The whole plant of O. tenuiflorum has medicinal properties and the tulsi’s Eugenol (Phenolic compound) proposed as an active cure for numerous disease including anxiety, cough, asthma, arthritis, back pain, skin infections, ringworm, neuralgia, eye diseases, vomiting, gastric, cardiac and genitourinary disorders, disinfectant, insect, snake and scorpion bites and malaria. Thus, Tulsi have a predominant solution to modern lifestyle health related issues [9, 37]. In-vitro studies, of many research suggests that the O. tenuiflorum has an effects on neurocognition, treats metabolic syndrome, inhibits the growth of HIV, treats chronic diseases called diabetes, psychological stress and the Preclinical studies tells about it prevents stress-induced ulcers in rats[17,22,33].


2.2. Antimicrobial activity:

The disease causing microorganisms are a threat to the living creatures. The ability of a compound to kill or decrease the activity of microbes like bacteria, virus, and fungi is called an antimicrobial agent. The Tulsi’s (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is one of the best antimicrobial agents, its flower spikes, leaves and essential oils have more antibacterial properties. Staphylococcus aureus (together with MRSA), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli are foremost pathogenic creatures incurring pores and skin and soft tissue damages. Yamani et al found Tulsi’s oil, at concentrations of 4.5 and 2.25% inhibits the growth of those bacteria[59]. Jayatiet al stated that different concentrations of tulsi plant parts also acts as an antiviral agent. The warm aqueous extract of tulsi leaves averted the cytopathic results and boom of NCD (New castle disease) Virus in chicken fibroblast monolayer[18]. Tulsi vital oil have a precious topical antimicrobial activity for controlling skin infections due to those organisms and it is the wound dressing to prevent infection.


2.3. Anti-Diabetic activity:

Antidiabetic agent is a compound that helps to control the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood of a diabetic patient. The study says that, oral anti-diabetic movement of the hydroalcoholic concentrate of O. tenuiflorum at 125, 250 and 500 mg/kg was examined against streptozotocin and nicotinamide initiated diabetes mellitus stated Parasuraman et al. The animals were treated with the investigational plant concentrate and standard medication (glibenclamide) for 21 days respectively. The liver and kidney were gathered for organ weight examination for investigating blood glucose levels. The plant concentrations at 250 and 500 mg/kg, sugar level have been decreased in animals and this concentration are found to be effective against diabetes. The natural exercises of phytoconstituents of O. tenuiflorum demonstrated nearness of different pharmacological activities, which incorporates against diabetic and hostile to hyperlipidemic exercise. Forecast of toxicological properties of phytoconstituents of O. tenuiflorum did not demonstrate any major poisonous impacts[34].


2.4. Free Radical Scavenger:

A free radical scavenger is a substance such as antioxidant that helps the cells to withstand the damage caused by the free radicals that may increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. Samson et al said that oxidative tension in different discrete cerebrum locales in male albino rodents exposed to three particular lengths of clamor exposures (acute, sub-acute and chronic noise stress) upto100dB and the in vitro and in vivo free radical scavenging movement of tulsi concentration range upto 800mg/kg has been investigated. The results exhibit that change in accordance with noise stress does not occur in the cerebrum zones not with standing following 30 days of noise distruption. Along these lines, this examination demonstrates that tulsi has the potential for further appraisal as impeccable cell support for the noise impelled oxidative stress. The most astounding phenolic content is responsible for antioxidant activity. Deoet al explained that the expansive scope of cell reinforcement movement of this concentrate shows the capability of the plant as a wellspring of common cancer prevention agents or nutraceuticals with potential application to diminish oxidative pressure and ensuing medical advantages[12, 44].


2.5. Anti-Inflammatory activity:

Anti-inflammatory is a substance that is used to reduce few discomforts such as fever, pain, swelling etc. Mirjeet al Inflammation keeps on being a zone of incredible enthusiasm for research. This has prompted increment sought after for herbal products with anti-inflammatory action having fewer symptoms. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like indomethacin are given somewhat side effects which cause gastric harm as a noteworthy antagonistic response. The study has examined that the anti-inflammatory activity of tulsi alone and in mix with indomethacin was considered using Carrageenan-instigated rat paw edema O.tenuiflorum 200mg/kg, 400mg/kg showed estimations of 80.48%, 92.68% and 95.12% rate hindrance of paw edema at 4h individually. The decline of edema by tulsi was better than that of the standard NSAID, indomethacin and on co-association impalpably enhancing the anti-inflammatory profile of indomethacin. Tulsi has critical anti-inflammatory action probably as a result of obstruction of both cyclooxygenase and lipooxygenase pathways of arachidonic acid digestion (double inhibitory property) [30].


2.6. Antifertility activity:

A tendency to reduce or destroy the fertility or control the child birth is called the antifertility agents. Sethi et al stated that Tulsi additionally goes about as a prophylactic operator to counteract fertility. Fresh leaves of O.tenuiflorum were utilized to examine its impact on male regenerative capacity (sperm check and reproductive hormones) in male pale skinned rabbits with control. Tulsi leaves supplement range upto 2g/day. Sperm check and hormonal estimation were done in serum tests for the two groups and compared. A critical reduction of sperm was checked in test aggregate rabbits. The level of serum testosterone demonstrated checked addition while FSH and LH levels were essentially lessened in tulsi dosed rabbits. The outcomes recommend the actual use of tulsi as an effective male protection pro[47]. Nagarjunet al stated that the polar and non polar solvents such as benzene and petroleum ether basil‘s leaf extracts contain 60-80% of antifertility activity that examined in female rats [32].




2.7. Other applications of Ocimum tenuiflorum:

2.7.1. Anti-Lipidemic activity:

Anti-lipidemic agents are lipid lowering agent that helps to in decreasing the level of cholesterol in blood. Verma et al said that O.tenuiflorum leaves have Anti-lipidemic activity that decreases the risk of hyper lipidaemia, atherosclerosis, lessens the dimension of aggregate cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL[55].


2.7.2. Anti-Carcinogenic activity:

Anti-carcinogenic agents are used to treat or prevent the cancer causing agents. Aruna et al and Banerjee et al stated that Tulsi leaves also have an anti-carcinogenic property. The different types of carcinogen and tumor promoter were introduced into the experimental rats and serially it was fed up with tulsi leaves. After weeks, the reduction of carcinogens was observed. Hencetulsi have anticancer activities[4,5].


2.7.3. Mosquitocidal activity:

Mosquito are one of the highly spreading and disease causing pest. The mosquitocidal activity is the process that is fatal to the mousquito. Kelm et al said that the Ocimum tenuiflorum has also proved to have the mosquitocidal activity. From the hexane extracts of tulsi, the compound eugenol and triglyceride acts against dengue causing Aedesaegypti larvae, hence tulsi proves its mosquitocidal activity[23].


3. Alpinia galangal:

Alpinia galanga is one of the best medicinal plants that belong to Zingiberaceae family and it is commonly called as galangal. Galangal is often used as food spices, fragments aroma and also used as a traditional medicine that has ability to treat gastrointestinal disorders, eliminate blotting, skin infection, and also it has the potential to cure cancer because of its antioxidant activity. Abdulla et al. stated that the Alpinia galanga possess an underground stem called rhizomes that has a high medicinal potential that has aromatic smell. They contain underground rhizomes and are characterized by reddish brown active compounds from the different parts A.galanga were generally contemplated by numerous scientists. They were effectively confined and recognized by past specialists. The active compounds found in A.galanga are 1,8-cineolα-fenchyl acetic acid derivation, β-farnesene, β-bisabolene, α-bergamotene, β-pinene and 1'-acetoxychavicol acetic acid derivation[1]. Yashodaet al the rhizomatous plant also has anti-proliferative, anti-apoptopic, anti-angiogenic as well as cytotoxic efficacy. The plant has unique odour (because of basic oils and phenolic mixes), appropriated broadly found in tropical regions and utilized as a medication in numerous countries. The stiffness, spleen torment, bronchitis, diabetes mellitus are treated by the rhizome. It is sold for its medicinal property by neighborhood natural sellers in and around the south India. To alleviate asthma, the root powder, alongside different plants, is blended with regular nectar and administered[60].


3.2. Applications of Alpinia galangal:

3.2.1. Antimicrobial activity:

The antimicrobial activity is the ability of a biologically active compound to kill or prevent the growth of microbes. The Elsamma et al stated A.galanga dried rhizome was extracted, when tested it shows antimicrobial activity on Trichophyton mentagrophytes. The ether andethyl acetic acid derived extracts of the A.galanga showed antibacterial movement against various gram positive and gram negative microbes in vitro which were acquired from diseased hospitalized patients. A.galanga demonstrated the best action and the ether was stronger than the ethyl acetic acid extracts. The two sorts of concentrates of Alpinia galanga effects affected Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumonia[13]. Roy et al stated that the inhibition of efflux pump by Alpinia galanga at the concentration of 2.5, 6.25 and 5.0 mg/L respectively[40].Chouniet al and Kaushik et al said compound acetoxy eugenol present in the Alpinia galanga enhanced the resistance in Mycobacterium and therefore they can be a new target for the discovery of anti-TB agents [8][21]. Haraguchi.H et al (1996) conducted an experiment that stated A.galanga has an antimicrobial diterpene that showed Antifungal activity. Dysentery, food poisoning and skin diseases can also be treated by Alpinia galanga[15]. Pompimon. W et al (2009) contemplated hexane, ethyl acetic acid derivation, methanol concentrate of the Alpinia galanga underground part demonstrates the Anti-Phytopthoracapsici activates and used as antifungal [57]. Konno et al suggested that Galangal has been a traditional herbal remedy and has active diarylheptanoids with diverse biological properties. the antiviral action of nine diarylheptanoids isolated from galanga showed activity against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), poliovirus, measles and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) using a plaque reduction assay[24].


3.2.2. Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Diabetic activity:

Antidiabetic agent is a compound that helps to control the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood of a diabetic patient. Anti-oxidant is a substance that inhibits oxidation, which leads to damage the cells of the organism. Sridivya AR et al conducted an experiment that stated that ethanolic extracts of Alpinia galanga shows tremendous antioxidant and antidiabetic action. Ethanolic extract of galangal confirmed the robust scavenging action by the way of DPPH approach by using Lipid per oxidation technique, hydrogen peroxide radical scavenging activity, radical scavenging approach. Two groups were tested with varying concentration. 400 mg/kg treated group showed that the serum glucose level reduced than 200 mg/ treated group. Total protein degree was observed to boom inside the extract dealt with organization whilst compared to diabetic manage. The level of Serum triglyceride become reduced when compared with diabetic manages in addition to diabetes handled with Glibenclamide. Total LDL cholesterol turned into additionally located to decrease significantly at the management of the extract while in comparison with the diabetic control[51].


3.2.3. Anti-Cancer activity:

Anti-carcinogenic agents are used to treat or prevent the cancer causing agents. Samarghandian et al said Ethanolic extracts of Galangal bioactive compounds show the pro-apoptotic effects in the most prominent breast cancer-derived cell line (human breast adeno-carcinoma cell line (MCF-7 with half minimal inhibitory concentration at 7.5µM and 23.7µM) and it has a capability to act as a beneficial chemotherapeutic agent. The extracts of galangal establish acetyl cholinesterase-inhibitory, Platelet-Activating Factor (PAF)- inhibitory, and apoptosis activities with good inhibition rates[43].


3.3. Other application of Alpinia galangal:

3.3.1. Anti-Platelet and Hypolipidemic activity:

Antiplatelet is an agent that prevents platelets to clot that sometimes result in stroke. Hypolipidemic activity is the substance that is used in the treatment of high level of fats. QI SF et al stated ethanolic concentrate of A.galanga was tested on rats 20mg/day for about a month. That showed hypolipidemic action and an increment in the highdensity lipoproteins (HDL). A.galanga constituents also applied platelet initiating factor (PAF) antagonist and has IC50 value of 5.5µg/ml [26,38].


3.3.2. Insecticidal activity:

The insecticidal activity is an activity that is intended to kill or prevent the insects that transmits the disease. Sukhirun N et al conducted experiment that showed A.galanga, hexane extract gave greater control to mature Bactrocera dorsalis in contrast to other extracts the hexane extract was considered to act as an insecticidal it gave the highest control efficiency for which the LC was 4,866.06 +/- 184.52 ppm (hexane) [52].Wu Y et al stated that the Rhizomes of the plant contains an essential oil that is toxic LD50 value of 12.2μg/adult to Lasiodermaserricorne and also showed fumigant toxicity against L. serricorne adults LC50 value of 3.5 mg/L[58].


3.3.3. Anti-Ulcer activity:

The class of agents that are used to treat the ulcer is known as anti-ulcer agents. AlYahya MA et al stated that the ethanolic mixture of A.galanga were tested on rats at a concentration of 500mg/kg which were pretreated to have gastric ulcer and found that the galanga extract secretes an active agent that act as an anti-ulcer activity[2].


4. Combinational Studies on Ocimum tenuiflorum and Alpinia galangal:

Manikandan P et al. stated Ocimum tenuiflorum and Azadirachta indica were combined and investigated for chemopreventive effect towards N-methyl-N’-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG) which was a cause for gastric cancer in a male wister rat forestomach, based on oxidant- antioxidant status, cell proliferation, apoptosis and angiogenesis changes. As a result, the combinational plant species effectively induced apoptosis in MNNG treated animals. Thus the antioxidant, antiangiogenic, anti-proliferative and apoptopic inducingproperties of O.tenuiflorum and A.indica powerfully act as a cancer chemopreventive agent[25]. Fluoride in consumingwater can cause health related issues. Kumar M et al. conducted combinational effect of Ocimum tenuiflorum and Chrysopogonzizaniflorum proves more De-fluoridation efficacy. Hence the combined effect acts as a very good bioadsorbent[29]. Jeba WC et al. discussed The effect of tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) oil and clove (Syzgium aromaticum) oil on the resistance of mice towards respiratory tract disease was examined. Both the oil ensures that there is no colonization of bacteria’s in the lungs. The most extreme reduction in MDA levels and increment in nitrite levels were noted with long haul sustaining of sustenance enhanced with tulsi. It is also considered to be a significant hepatoprotective. O.basilicum and T. Foenum-graecum treated on liver disease confirmed the hepatoprotective activity by diminished levels of cell reinforcement chemicals (enzymatic and non-enzymatic). This concentrate likewise demonstrated noteworthy enemy of lipid peroxidation impacts in vitro, other than showing huge action in superoxide radical and nitric oxide radical searching, showing their powerful cell reinforcement impact[19]. The antimicrobial activity against Saccharomyces cerevisiae and E.coli was found to be effective when mixture of Alpinia galangal (galangal), Eurycomalongifera (jack) and Syzygium aromaticum (clove) crude extract used to carry outMIC[53]. The development of a toxic Aspergillus flavus strain was minimized with expanding activity of Cinnamomumcamphora leafs and the underground rhizome of Alpinia galanga fused in a fluid medium. The oils fundamentally captured aflatoxin B1 elaboration by A.flavus. The C.camphora oil totally checked aflatoxin B1 elaboration at 750 ppm (mg/L) while that of A. galanga indicated finish restraint at 500 ppm as it were. The oil mix of C. camphora and A. galanga indicated more adequacy than the individual oils[50]. Srivastava B et al. stated the combined synergic effect of a type of compound present in the Alpinia galanga called galangin combined with the gentamicin acting as an inhibitory agent to the MRSA strains of Staphylococcus aureus[27]. Lee YS et al. said that the ethanolic extracts of Ocimum sanctum and Alpinia galanga showed good heat stability and their antioxidant action was more in neutral pH. It also shows powerful superoxide anion scavenging action and acts as lipoxygenase inhibitor[20].



Modern investigation into natural plant products exhibits numerous advantages from devouring tulsi and galanga. These plants are used in traditional as well as new systems. Also only a few notable studies related to the combination studies were given[8,10]. When combining these two medicinal plants they give more potential features, and there is a need for more improvement and research which can be used for fruitful application for the development of human.



The various bioactive compounds present in the plant extracts act as an active compound in formulation of drugs. Various studies can also be done on treating the combined effect of the Alpiniaga langa and Ocimumtenuiflorum on treating MRSA strains as the plant contain useful metabolites. Since it is an easily available source and commercially cheaper they can be an alternative to many modern medicinal compounds. A compound present in them called Eugenol act as a very good antimicrobial agent and many other properties.



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Received on 19.01.2019          Modified on 17.02.2019

Accepted on 18.03.2019        © RJPT All right reserved

Research J. Pharm. and Tech. 2019; 12(5):2577-2583.

DOI: 10.5958/0974-360X.2019.00433.5