Tulasi(Ocimum Sanctum) as radioprotector in head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy

Kumarchandra Reshma, S. Kamalaksh, Y. S. Bindu, K. Pramod, A. Asfa, D. Amritha, S. Aswathi, R. Chandrashekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Objectives: Radiotherapy, the effective mode of treatment for tumors of head and neck, causes normal tissue damage, which can be limited by the usage of radioprotectors. Earlier studies report several botanicals as radioprotectors. Radioprotectors generally act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. The Indian holy basil, Ocimum sanctum has shown promising results as radioprotector in animal studies. It is therefore essential to apply this strategy in human cancers. Methods: Oral cancer patients, grouped into two arms, Arm A (n=20) received Ocimum sanctum orally, half an hour before radiotherapy, while Arm B (n=20) received vitamin B complex as placebo.In the treatment schedule of 30 days, blood samples were collected before radiotherapy (baseline) and 29 th day of radiotherapy (follow up).Erythrocyte glutathione, Superoxide dismutase, catalase, total plasma antioxidant activity and inflammatory markers, plasma C Reactive protein and leukocyte myeloperoxidase were assayed. Healthy individuals served as controls for biochemical tests. The week-wise assessment for acute radiation reactions viz, radiation induced mucositis, skin reactions and salivary status, were done Results: A significant decrease in plasma total antioxidant activity in the baseline and follow up samples of both arms, was observed in comparison with controls (p<0.05). Catalase levels were significantly lower in cancers (p=0.05), which increased in the follow up samples of arm A. No significant changes were observed in GSH, SOD and CRP levels. But a significant decrease in myeloperoxidase activity was observed in the follow up samples of arm A compared to baseline values (p<0.05).The acute radiation reactions did not vary between both arms. Interpretation and Conclusion: Emphasizing the role of Ocimum sanctum as a radioprotector is relatively ambiguous due to lack of correlation in the parameters. Evaluating the efficacy of this drug, may need larger sample size. Since, no detectable changes were observed in early radiation reactions, it is quite possible that radioprotectors act on the late reacting tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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