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."
About the British Pharmaceutical Conference 2008 (BPC)
BPC 2008: Pharmacy in the 21st Century: Adding years to life and life to years. In 2008, as the NHS marks its 60th anniversary year, BPC will examine how pharmacy and the pharmaceutical services are helping to add years to life and life to the year of the UK population. The profession of pharmacy plays an important role in meeting the healthcare challenges associated with the UK's ageing population.
How can pharmacists contribute to caring for the population as well as ensuring quality of life? Increasingly, scientists and practitioners have to consider the cost implications of this conundrum, and the evidence base for all interventions is becoming of paramount importance: BPC 2008 will debate these issues and open up discussion on them. Visit: http://www.bpc2008.org/
The main sponsors of BPC 2008 are: Boots The Chemists (Lead Sponsor), AstraZeneca (Associate Sponsor and BPC-PJ Careers Forum Platinum Sponsor), Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) (Associate Sponsor) and GSK (BPC-PJ Careers Forum Platinum Sponsor).
Research released at BPC is published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology (JPP).
It is estimated that by 2025 there will be more than one billion people globally over the age of 601. Therefore, considerable interest focuses on the prevention of ageing and age-related diseases. World Health Organisation launches new initiative to address the health needs of a rapidly ageing population. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2004/pr60/en/ : Accessed 4 August 2008.