Ocimum Plants and Anxiety

Ocimum plants are a group of plants, many of which are considered to possess medicinal value. In particular, Ocimum plants have been shown to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, immunomodulatory, memory enhancing and anti-diabetic effects. Ocimum bascilicum is commonly called basil, and Ocimum sanctum is commonly called holy basil. Both plants have been studied for their medicinal effects in animals, and in particular their ability to protect from mood disorders. For example, in one study, researchers experimentally induced the formation of amyloid plaques in the brains of rats. This caused increased depressive and anxiety-like behaviour of the rats. However, inhalation of essential oils from both basil plants was significantly able to attenuate the negative behavioural effects. Chemical analysis of the essential oils revealed that the main compound found in both plants was linalool, camphor, β-elemene, α-bergamotene,  bornyl-acetate, estragole, eugenol, and 1,8-cineole. 

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Gradinariu, V., Cioanca, O., Hritcu, L., Trifan, A., Gille, E. and Hancianu, M. 2015. Comparative efficacy of Ocimum sanctum L. and Ocimum basilicum L. essential oils against amyloid beta (1–42)-induced anxiety and depression in laboratory rats. Phytochemistry Reviews. 14(4): 567-575

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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