Antimicrobial efficacy of Tulsi leaf (Ocimum sanctum) extract on periodontal pathogens: An in vitro study

Sajjanshetty Mallikarjun, Ashwini Rao, Gururaghavendran Rajesh, Ramya Shenoy, Mithun Pai

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Periodontitis is an infection of the periodontal complex with severe forms of disease associated with specific bacteria colonizing the subgingival area. Widespread use of drugs has resulted in the emergence of side effects, uncommon infections, and resistance. Plant medicine like Tulsi has been used in many clinical conditions, and it appears to be a suitable alternative to manage conditions affecting the oral cavity. Hence, the objective was to assess the in vitro antimicrobial activity of Tulsi leaves extract (Ocimum sanctum) on periodontal pathogens with doxycycline as standard, as doxycycline has been used as an adjunct to nonsurgical therapy in periodontitis patients. Materials and Methods: Ethanolic extract of Tulsi was prepared by cold extraction method. Extract was diluted with an inert solvent, dimethyl formamide, to obtain five different concentrations (0.5%, 1%, 2%, 5%, and 10%). Doxycycline was used as a positive control and dimethyl formamide, as a negative control. The extract and controls were subjected to the microbiological investigation against Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Prevotella intermedia, and Porphyromonas gingivalis. Agar well diffusion method was employed to determine the concentration at which Tulsi gave an inhibition zone, similar to doxycycline. Data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance and Tukey post-hoc test was used for inter- and intra-group comparisons. Results: At 5% and 10% concentrations, Tulsi extracts demonstrated antimicrobial activity against A. actinomycetemcomitans, similar to doxycycline with similar inhibition zones (P > 0.05). P. gingivalis and P. intermedia, however, exhibited resistance to Tulsi extract that showed significantly smaller inhibition zones (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Tulsi demonstrated effective antimicrobial property against A. actinomycetemcomitans, suggesting its possible use as an effective and affordable 'adjunct' along with the standard care in the management of periodontal conditions. However, further research assessing the toxicity, durability, and other assessments followed by clinical trials is necessary to explore the potential of Tulsi in combating oral conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-150
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Indian Society of Periodontology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-03-2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Periodontics


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