Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), commonly known in the Hindi language as tulsi, is quite possibly the most revered medicinal herb on the planet.
Holy basil is a plant that has violet flowers and blossoms; the stems are green, but sometimes have a purple tinge. This type of basil is much spicier than the other basil variations.
Medicinal preparations are made from the leaves, stems, and seeds of the plants.
Interisting, the hindus worship holy basil; the plant is considered the “Mother Medicine of Nature.” It’s been revered since ancient times as an herb that can promote a healthy body, mind , and spirit.
The sacred plant is often planted around Hindu shrines. The name tulsi means “the incomparable one.” But in Western medicine holy basil is perhaps most valued as an adaptogen (a substance that helps the body adapt to stress).
The plant has been used to combat the nagative effects of stress in the body, maintain stable blood sugar levels, and promote longevity.
Other names for holy basil include: Albahaca santa, bai gkaprow, baranda, basilic indien, Basilic sacre, Basilic sacre pourpre, Basilic saint, brinda, green holy basil, Indian basil, kala tulsi, Krishna tulasi, krishna tulsi, manjari, ocimum sanctum, rama tulsi, red holy basil, sacred basil, hot basil, and tulasi.
Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) isn’t like the sweet basil in your mom’s marinara sauce or the Thai herb you use to flavor a steaming bowl of pho. This green leafy plant, also known as Ocimum sanctum L. and tulsi, is native to Southeast Asia. It has a history within Indian medicine as a treatment for many conditions, from eye diseases to ringworms.
From the leaves to the seed, holy basil is considered a tonoc for the body, mind, and spirit. Different conditions:
●Use its fresh flowers for bronchitis.
●Use the leaves and seeds, with black pepper, for malaria.
●Use the whole plant for diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
●Use the pill and ointment form for eczema
●Use an alcohol extract for stomach ulcers and eye diseases.
●Use an essential oil made from the leaves for insect bites.
Many studies support the use of the entire plant of holy basil for human use and its therapeutic value,
The Nutritional value is also high, as it contains:
●vitamin A and C
Always talk to your doctor before taking supplements. Like many supplements, holy basil is not approved as first-line treatment. It may also interact with medications you’re already taking. Holy basil is called the “Queen of Herbs,”
REDUCE STRESS AND ANXIETY
All parts of the holy basil plant act as an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a natural substance that helps your body adapt to stress and promotes mental balance.
The concept of an adaptogen is a holistic approach. But scientific research shows that holy basil has pharmacological properties to your mind cope with many types of stress.
The source of your stress can be:
In the case of physical stress, holy basil is known to increase endurance in animals. Animals who had holy basil leaf extracts and went through environment-induced stress scenarios showed:
●improved swimming time
●less tissue damage
●lower stress levels in loud environments
Human and Animal studies saw reduced:
According to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, holy basil has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties comparable to diazepam and antidepressant drugs. These studies examined the leaves. One study found that people who took 500 milligrams (mg) of holy basil extract each day felt less anxious, stressed, and depressed. People also felt more social.
Ayurvedic practitioners recommend drinking holy basil as tea using the leaves. And since it’s caffeine -free, it’s okay and even recommended to drink dail. The act of drinking teq can be ritualistic and as calming as yoga. It fosters clear thoughts, relaxation, and a sense of well-being.
But if the basil’s bitter and spicy flavor isn’t your cup of tea, a supplement in pill form or as an alcohol extract is available. There is less risk of contamination when taking an herb in natural form.
STIMULATE AND VITALIZE YOUR BODY
Holy basil is also high in antioxidants and helps your body detox. Studies show that holy basil can protect your body against toxic chemicals. It may also prevent cancer by reducing the growth of cancerous cells.
PROTECT AGAINST INFECTION AND TREAT WOUNDS
Extracts made from its leaves are thought to boost wound healing speed and strength. Holy basil is:
●analgesic (a painkiller)
Some people even use holy basil after surgery to heal and protect their wounds. Holy basil increases your wounds’s breaking strength, healing time, and contraction. Breaking strength refers to how much pressure or weight a wound can take before it breaks.
Research shows that holy basil may work against infections and wounds, such as:
LOWER YOUR BLOOD SUGAR
If you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, all parts of the holy basil plant can help reduce your blood sugar. Animal and human trials have shown that holy basil can help prevent symptoms of diabetes such as:
●hyperinsulinemia, or excess insulin in the blood
In these studies, rats that recieved holy basil extract saw a 24 percent decrease in blood sugar after 30 days. Blood sugar in rats that were fed holy basil leaf powder also decreased after a month.
Talk to your doctor before adding holy basil to your diet. If you’re already taking medications to control blood sugar, it may lower your blood sugar levels even more.
LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL
Since holy basil targets metabolic stress, it can also help with weight loss and cholesterol levels. Animal studies saw significant changes in rabbits fat molecules when they ate fresh holy basil leaves. They had lower “bad”cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) and hogher “good” cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol).
One animal study found that the oil in holy basil (eugenol) lowers stress-induced cholesterol levels. There was a reduction of total cholesterol in the kidney, liver, or heart in rats with and without diabetes after they ate holy basil leaf powder.
EASE INFLAMMATION AND JOINT PAIN
Imagine being able to tackle stress, anxiety, and inflammation with a relaxing cup of tea made with the leaves of holy basil. As a adaptogen with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, holy basil provides all of these benefits. It can even help people with arthritis or fibromyalgia.
PROTECT YOUR STOMACH
Holy basil can counteract the effects of stress-induced ulcers. It naturally increases your stomach’s defense by:
●decreasing stomach acid
●increasing mucus secretion
●increasing mucus cells
●extending life of mucus cells
Many drugs for peptic ulcers have side effects and can cause discomfort in some people. Holy basil may be preferred alternative. One animal study showed that 200 mg of holy basil extract reduced both the number and index of ulcers significantly in two-thirds of the animals.
Holy basil is used to treat many conditions, including H1N1 (swine) flu, diabetes, the common cold, headache, fever, stress, upset stomach, earache and more. It has also been used as a mosquito repellant and topically (on the skin) to treat ringworm.
Studies have shown that holy basil has a wide range of health-promoting properties including:
● Antimicrobial (including antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and more)
● Liver, brain, and heart protective
● Anti-pyretic (prevent itching)
● Antitussive (treat cough)
What Are Adaptogens?
Holy basil is an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens are substances found in plants that help boost the body’s resilience in dealing with stressors. Because the effects of stress on the body play such a huge role in the aging process, adaptogens are also considered to have anti-aging properties. They may perform many different functions including:
● Balancing hormones such as cortosol (the stress hormone)
● Improving brain function
● Boosting the immune system
● Lowering inflammation
● Improving energy levels
● Improving organ and bodily system (such as GI) function
In a 2017 systematic review, study authors suggest that holy basil may be an effective adaptogen, helping to “address the psychological [mental], physiological [the way the body or its parts function], immunological [the immune system], and metabolic [relating to the metabolism of the body] stresses of modern living.”
Holy basil is used for its many health benefits, and is used widely in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, but there is insufficient evidence for the treatment of many conditions, including:
● Nausea and Indigestion
● Back pain
● Cold and flu
● Genitourinary disorders (conditions involving the urinary system and genitals)
● Viral hepatitis
● Snakebite antidote
● Heart disease
A 2014 review of tulsi suggests that modern-day science is beginning to gather enough medical research data to back up claims of the many touted health benefits of holy basil
The fact that science is not only beginning to study these ancient herbal medicine, but also lends cridibility to them, is a big leap in Western healing modalities.
In a 2017 review of 24 independent clinical studies on tulsi, over 1,000 study participants (from ages 10 to 80) were observed after taking holy basil in various forms and dosages. In three primary categories called “clinical domains,” holy basil was found to “provide favorable clinical effects.” The three domains included:
● Metabolic disorders (15 studies on conditions such as diabetes)
● Neurocognitive disorders (4 studies on conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or mood disorder, like depression)
● Immunity and infections (5 studies)
Holy basil has been identified in studies as having important health benefits in many medical conditions involving inflammation.
In fact, one of the studies in the independent review of studies concluded that tulsi may have many substances that act alone or synergistically (with other chemicals) to inhibit inflammation.
Also, one study found that holy basil may be useful as an aid to other drugs or nutritional interventions for the treatment of metabolic disorders (such as diabetes).
In the 2017 systematic review, the study authors concluded , “The clinical effects demonstrated in the reviewed studies suggest [that] the Ayurvedic tradition of consuming tulsi [holy basil] on daily basis may be an effective lifestyle measure to address many modern chronic diseases.”
HOW IT WORKS
The phytochmical (bioactive compounds in plants) makeup of holy basil is considered very complex.
In the 2017 review study, holy basil leaves were reported to have several bioactive compounds, including eugenol, a compound that has “recently been suggested to act via dual cellular mechanisms to lower blood glucose levels,” according to the study authors.
Some chemicals in holy basil are though to reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation.