It is well that Tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum) an Ayuredic herb has several curative properties. One of the important medical values of Tulsi is its antibacterial activity. Tulsi is a small herb which is widely distributed in India. It grows in all climatic conditions. Two varieties of tulsi plants are recognized are slightly violet in colour and another is slightly green in colour. Tulsi is recognized by its pleasant odour. Its anti bacterial property may be due to some of organic compounds like camphor, camphere, cineole, limolene, pine (a,b) present in it. Tulsi is used in cosmetics, soaps and hair oils. Tulsi leaf has the property of antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic.


1. Chemicals

NaOH. LR, Na2Co3. LR, Soap, Na2SiO3 LR, H2O2, distilled water, CuSo4, K2Cr2O7 and acetone LR are the main chemicals used for the experiment.

Treatment for grey cotton fabric:

(a) Desizing:

The grey cotton fabric was desized with alkali and soap solution. In same bath scouring was also done. The bath composition for desized and scouring process is as follows.

NaOH 2 g/l

Na2Co3 2 g/l

Soap 1 g/l

Weight of grey fabric 80 gm

Time for heating 1 hour

Temperature of the bath - 100°C

The process can be represented by a line diagram as shown below

The fabric after desizing and scouring is swilled with water until all alkali and soap is removed.

(b) Bleaching:

The post treated fabric was bleached with suitable bleaching agent to get a white fabric. The composition of the bleaching bath is given below with experimental conditions.

Na2SiO3 2 g/l

NaOH 2 g/l

Na2Co3 2 g/l

H2O2 12 ml/l

Weight of grey fabric 80 gm

Time for bleaching 1 hour

Temperature of the bath - 80°C


The scoured cotton fabric is bleached with H2O2 so as to obtain a clean white fabric free from all impurities. A line diagram will be of use to understand the process.

(c) Preparation of tulsi ticaution or extract:

Tulsi plant is dried and the product is powdered to get dried powder. This is made into a paste with water. To this paste 10% acetone was added. The solution was diluted and filtered to get a clear filterate free from residues. A fixing agent like CuSo4 or K2Cr2O7 was added and the whole solution was stirred well, in order to get a clear solution. Now, this solution is ready for fixing the organic compounds to the fibre. The composition of the finishing bath is as follows:

Weight of the fabric 80 gm

Concentration of the Tulsi extract 25%

Acetone 10%

Copper Sulphate (mordant) 1%

Time for fixation 1 hour

A line diagram will help to understand the process.

The whole process can be drawn as follows:

(Pre treatment process)

(d) Finishing process:

The tulsi extract of 20% concentration to which 1% CuSo4 is added and the solution stirred well so that the added blue vitriol dissolved well. The finished cotton fabric was dipped in this extract and after an hour the material was taken out of the bath, washed and dried.

Results and discussions:

The finished cotton fabric was subjected to the following tests viz spectroscopic, wash fastness, abrasion, wicking, thickness and microbial tests. Some of the results obtained are discussed below.


IR Spectroscopy:

IR spectra is a powerful tool to identify the organic compounds. Some of the groups like C=O, CHO, COOH, aromatic, symmetric ring are identified from the wave lengths. An IR obtained for 25% tulsi extract was identified on the fabric the attachment some of the essential ingredients of the tulsi extract. Some identified compounds by IR are camphor, cincole, limolene lprine (a,b).

Wicking Test:

Wetting time of the treated and untreated cotton fabric of specified dimension 1"x1" was studied. The ability of a fabric to absorb water by capillary action which can be named as wicking may be observed by the measuring time and calculate the rate of water climbing up by capillary action when a piece of fabric suspended vertically with its lower end dipping into water. A square fabric of 2"x2" dimension was dipped in water at 20C for 20 sec and removed and weighted. The weight percentage of water absorption was calculated from the difference in weight of dried and wet sample of the cotton fabric. Table I gives the percentage of water absorption.

Table I: Wickability of Fabric


Wicking time
of the fabric

Dry weight

Wet weight

% of water

Grey Fabric





Fabric treated with tulsi





It is clear from the experimental results that the wetting property of tulsi treated fabric is less than grey cotton fabric and hence wettability of treated fabric is more. This is due to adsorbed organic molecules on the fabric.

Abrasion resistance:

Martindale abrasion tester was used to test the treaded and untreated cotton fabric so as to study the abrasion wear resistance. It is important to note that the treated fabric is antibacterial in nature and it is used as bed spread in hospital, the abrasion resistance should be of high value. The treated and the untreated samples of the fabric was tested after a number of rubs. The end point of the rubbed product was determined by visual examination.

Number of cycles - 50

Weight of the sample - 200 gms

The appearance of holes for a known cycle or loss of weight of the sample for a known cycle or revolution is determined from the Martindale abrasion tester. The experimental results obtained from tests are given below in table II

Table II: Abrasion Test for Tulsi treated sample.

Type of fabric

Weight of fabric
before abrasion in mg

Fabric weight after
abrasion in mg

% of change

Grey fabric




Treated fabric




The results indicate that the treated fabric are resistant to abrasion because of organic molecules adsorbed in the voids of the fabric which helps to wear and tear. This indirectly indicates that tha adsorbed specieces retain on the fabric even after several rubbings.

Thickness Testing:

Fabric properties such as resilience, dimensional stability, fabric resistance to abrasion, wear and tear, fabric geometry are very important characteristic features which determine the quality. The thickness gauge viz Shirley thickness gauge was used to measure the thickness of the fabric before and after abrasion. The test sample was compared with grey fabric before and after the experiments.


Thickness of the fabric by Shirley gauge for grey and treated material

Thickness of template (mm)

Grey fabric

25% treated Tulsi fabric

Thickness of fabric

Before abrasion (mm)

After abrasion (mm)

Before abrasion (mm)

After abrasion (mm)

Grey fabric


Before abrasion (mm)

After abrasion (mm)

Before abrasion (mm)

After abrasion (mm)










































He experimental results are tabulated in. The results indicate that tulsi treated fabric has good quality of abrasion resistance. From this result, hence, we can conclude that the antimicrobial and antifungal materials if included from tulsi it can retain even after abrasion.

Anti-microbial Test

Antimicrobial property of tulsi leaf extract was studied by zone inhibition of crude tulsi leaf extract using standard Kirby Barerr disc diffusion method using sterile paper disc with tulsi extract. The plate was incubated for 18- 24 hours at 37C. The zone inhibition around the disc was absorbed and its diameter was measured. This value is compared with the untreated sample. The results indicate that tulsi leaves extract has more bacteriostatic effect than bactericidal.


Concentrated solution of tulsi extract which can be applied to cotton fabric by a conventional method. The attachment of tulsi has been confirmed by IR studies on the treated fabric. Parallel streek studies confirm the effectiveness of the constituents in tulsi has anti bacterial properties. The fastness property of the natural herbal material is poor. Ayurvedic textiles will be great importance because of its healing and soothing and medical property on skin. These materials are eco-friendly and they do not create any side effects to the environment. Tulsi have special antimicrobial property and its retention is established by abrasion tests. Kids wear, diapers, socks, bed spreads, cotton gloves, cotton head caps and inner wears may be herbal washed fabric is recommended. This reduces fungal and bacterial infections.