Researchers at Western Kentucky University led by an Indian-origin scientist are currently attempting to genetically re-engineer tulsi, or basil plant, in order to improve its pharmaceutical value, including its ability to fight all types of cancer.
The researchers, led by Chandrakanth Emani who is an assistant professor of plant molecular biology, hope to boost basil's production of eugenol, a compound that has been found to stop breast cancer.
Emani said that he hoped their project will be able to test the compound as an effective cancer treatment.
"When you grind basil leaves, a compound called eugenol comes out. If I could make it produce eugenol in higher amounts, that basil plant would serve as a storehouse of that anti-cancerous compound. Eugenol, when they put it on a plate where there are tumour cells, it stopped growth of the tumour cells. That was a proof of concept experiment which was done a long time back. We want to deal with treating cancer in a holistic way. We want to find one treatment that takes care of many cancers", Emani said.