08 Sep 2008
Basil can protect against the harmful effects of ageing, according to research presented at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester.
Holy basil, (Latin name Ocimum sanctum), is a close relative of the herb commonly used in Western cooking. Native to India, its extract has long been used in the ancient system of Ayurvedic medicine practiced in India and other parts of Asia as a rejuvenation drug, to promote a youthful state of physical and mental health.
In the first formal study of the herb, pharmacy researchers found that holy basil extract was effective at actively searching for and eliminating harmful molecules and protecting against damage caused by some free radicals in key organs such as the heart, liver and brain.
The researchers, led by Dr Vaibhav Shinde from Poona College of Pharmacy, Maharashtra, India, studied the herb for anti-oxidant and anti-ageing properties.
Dr Shinde said: "The study validates the traditional use of herb as a youth-promoting substance in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. It also helps describe how the herb acts at a cellular level."
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