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Int J Ayurveda Res. 2011 Jan-Mar; 2(1): 64.
PMCID: PMC3157116

Effect of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn) on sperm count and reproductive hormones in male albino rabbits

Sir,

This is with reference to the article by Sethi J et al., “Effect of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn) on sperm count and reproductive hormones in male albino rabbits,” published in IJAR.[1]

The above paper has raised a few questions related to the dose of Tulsi leaves used to feed the experimental animals. The paper states, on p. 209, that “the control group rabbits received along with oral supplementation 2 g fresh leaves of Ocimum sanctum daily for 30 days.”

A reference to the literature shows the dose for Tulsi leaves as:

  • Leaf powder – 2–3 g – The Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India. Part-I, 1st ed, Vol 2. Govt of India;1999. p. 165-7.
  • Leaf infusion (juice) – 4–12 ml – and this amount of infusion will be possible from about 8 to 12 g of Tulsi leaves. Major herbs of Ayurveda. Philadelphia: Churchil Livingstone; 2002. p. 204.

From the above information, it appears that the study evaluated the effect at very high doses of administration, almost the same dose as prescribed in the Ayurveda for an adult, to the experimental animals, without computing the dose for animals’ basis normal scientific process in such studies. The effect reported is quite normal at such high doses and corroborates earlier findings already reported. Seth SD, Johri N, Sundaram KR. Anti spermetogenic effect of Ocimum sanctum. Indian J Exp Biol 1981;19:975.

The paper has thus created “a potential scare on Tulsi known for its safety,” which the authors could have avoided by using a proper title for the paper OR by using the right dose computed for the animals based on the human dose reported.

In the fitness of things, a clarificatry note would be in order so that products containing Tulsi leaves do not get “unnecessary questioning by regulatory authorities with whom such products may have been registered or consider issue of avoidable safety alerts.”

REFERENCE

1. Sethi J, Yadav M, Sood S, Dahiya K, Singh V. Effect of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn) on sperm count and reproductive hormones in male albino rabbits. Int J Ayurveda Res. 2010;1:208–10. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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