The tulsi plant whose medicinal properties have been known to Indians since ages is now the subject of research being conducted by the DRDO's (Defence Research Development Organization) Institute of Nuclear Medicines and Allied Sciences and Department of Radiobiology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal for anti-radiation properties.
Scientists at the institute have successfully tested tulsi extracts on mice in studies dealing with cancer and radiation. The defecse organisation is spending Rs7 crore on the tulsi project.
Earlier, research students at the department of biotechnology of Vignan College in Guntoor, in Andhra Pradesh, had found that tulsi extracts contained several ingredients useful in the treatment of diabetes and cancer in humans.
With the discovery, the traditional belief about the health benefits of growing a tulsi plant in the backyard has been shown to have scientific basis. It now becomes clear that the leaves of the tulsi plant do indeed have curative properties and can be used to treat not only diabetes, cancer but also as an anti-radiation substance.
Research has shown that tulsi or Indian basil contains a substance called glutathione which mitigates the ill-effects of radiation and protects cells in patients undergoing radiation therapy for cancer.
The effect of radiation on the human body is first seen in the bone marrow, with reduction in the immunity level, and the body being rendered vulnerable to a host of diseases.