(Natural News) Ocimum gratissimum, also known by its common name African basil, is a multipurpose plant that is not only ornamental, but also medicinal and serves as a culinary spice. In some African countries, the dried leaves of this aromatic herb features in folk medicine and is used to treat different kinds of ailments. Analysis of its chemical components has revealed an abundance of phytochemicals with various medicinal properties, such as anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant activities, among many others. In a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers from Nigeria discovered that African basil also has useful inhibitory properties. This activity is effective against enzymes associated with erectile dysfunction (ED), suggesting that African basil can potentially be used in the treatment of impotence.
African basil suppresses the activity of enzymes involved in ED
African basil has long been used to make decoctions that enhance erectile performance. However, the mechanism underlying this effect has not been explored in previous studies.
To address this, the researchers obtained an aqueous extract from African basil leaves and tested it against various enzymes involved in ED. These include phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5), arginase, angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE), and acetylcholinesterase (AChE). They used rat penile and testicular tissue for their investigation.
In addition to this, they also assessed the ferric reducing antioxidant property (FRAP) and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazil (DPPH) radical scavenging ability of the African basil extract to confirm its antioxidant activity.
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The researchers found that the African basil extract has higher PDE-5, ACE, AChE, and arginase inhibitory activity in rat penile tissue than in rat testicular tissue. The extract also scavenged free radicals effectively in a dose-dependent manner, demonstrating the potency of its natural antioxidant content.
Based on these results, the researchers concluded that African basil contains bioactive compounds that not only have antioxidant properties, but also show potential for the management of erectile dysfunction. (Related: 8 natural remedies to overcome erectile dysfunction and impotence.)
Other uses of African basil
African basil is also known by other names, such as clove basil, East Indian basil, Russian basil, and wild basil. This widely used flowering herb belongs to the Lamiaceae or mint family of aromatic plants. Many of the plants in this family are used as food flavoring and are known to have various medicinal properties. Some of African basil’s cousins include famous herbs in the culinary world like rosemary, sage, marjoram, lavender, oregano, and thyme. African basil is believed to have originated in Asia and subtropical and tropical regions in Africa.
In traditional medicine, African basil is considered a natural remedy for a wide range of health problems. For instance, in countries like Nigeria, the herb is used for oral care, for alleviating headaches and fever, for facilitating childbirth, and for relieving childbirth-associated pain. Some studies have also reported its use for the management of diabetes. One study from the British Journal of Medicine and Medicinal Research even reported that African basil can be used in combination with moringa to treat diabetes-associated sexual dysfunction and testicular damage.
African basil is rich in beneficial compounds like alkaloids, glycosides, and tannins. Analysis of African basil essential oil also revealed an abundance of phytonutrients, such as eugenol, alpha- and beta-caryophellene, carvacrol, gamma-terpinene, and camphor, among others. These compounds are responsible for African basil’s medicinal properties, which include:
- Anti-inflammatory activity
- Antimicrobial activity
- Antioxidant activity
- Vasorelaxant effects
- Cardioprotective properties
- Blood glucose-lowering properties
- Gastroprotective effects
- Anti-cancer activity (against some types of cancer)
- Larvicidal activity
- Liver-protective properties
- Anti-anemic activity
- Anti-diarrhea effects
Because of its beneficial properties, African basil is currently the focus of many pharmacological studies. While no adverse reactions or toxic effects have been reported in relation to the use of African basil essential oil, pregnant or breastfeeding women are still cautioned against its use.
For more news on African basil and other plants that can help with erectile dysfunction, visit PlantMedicine.news.