Holy basil is one of the most well-used and revered herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine. It has a rich history, dating back over 3,000 years, making it one of the most well-documented and historical herbs in record.
It's amazingly potent and can help you in multiple different ways. Plus, it's one of the few medicinal herbs that are very tasty and pleasant to drink as part of a tea.
What Is Holy Basil?
Holy basil, or Tulsi, is a relative of the regular basil plant many of us are familiar with as a cooking spice. This one is native to central India and has a richer flavor.
Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine have used it as a immunomodulator and adaptogen. It's used to promote health throughout the entire body.
Current research has focused on specifics of what it can do. For example, they're finding holy basil can help reduce anxiety, manage adrenal fatigue, and help autoimmune issues, diabetes, stress, and infection.
That it tastes terrific is just a benefit.
Tulsi Health Benefits
Some of the benefits you could get from holy basil have historical and modern usage to back it up.
Helps Fight Infection
Some of the compounds in holy basil, such as eugenol, have antibacterial, antibiotic, antifungal activities, and maybe anti-inflammatory. Extracts of holy basil have helped skin irritations such as dry skin, acne, and psoriasis.
Helps Mild Diabetes
For some people with mild, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, supplementing holy basil may help reduce fasting blood sugar levels and help modulate total sugars in the body. It's not a substitute for a low carbohydrate diet, but it may help make that type of diet easier to follow.
Possible Cancer Treatment
Some research that has come out and is currently underway looking at how holy basil might prevent and reverse cancer. Many of those studies are preliminary and only show promise, but it's gaining traction.
When it comes to prevention, people who regularly consume holy basil tea seem to have less of a chance of developing cancer. Several of the phytochemicals within holy basil help increase antioxidant activity and help prevent unhealthy growth. Some even induce cancer death and may help stop metastasis.
One study showed that it could help prevent damage from radiation to normal tissues while accelerating the damage to cancerous tissues.
Most of these studies need to be duplicated before they can say holy basil works for cancer.
Helps Reduce Anxiety
One of the best research articles done on holy basil show it may help lower the symptoms of anxiety. Holy basil constituents may lower corticosterone, a stress hormone, and create positive changes in the neurotransmitter balance in the brain.
Some preliminary research shows that it might be able to help reduce inflammation throughout the body. That's going to help ease joint pain and provide relief for people with arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Other smaller studies show it may help:
- Respiratory disorders
- Nutritional imbalances
- Lowers cholesterol
- Oral and gum health
- Headaches and migraines
- Improve eye health
Where Can You Get Holy Basil In The US?
This is not a common herb found in the United States. Online, you can find the herb, essential oil, and supplements. General recommendations say drinking holy basil tea regularly can take the place of coffee. This is the traditional way to consume Tulsi.
Some supplements online can be found as whole dried leaves in capsules or fermented holy basil leaves, which some claim make it easier to digest.
One of the strongest recommendations is that holy basil should not be used daily for more than six weeks without a week break. In traditional medicine, it was never given as a daily tonic, only when needed.
Also, if you take blood-thinning medication, such as aspirin, you should know that holy basil may slow blood clotting. Although it's not common, it has been noticed in some people.
If you can find holy basil, we recommend trying it as a tea. The health benefits are certainly worth it. And not only does it give health benefits, but the tea is also quite tasty. Combined with a dollop of honey and lemon balm, it can provide a refreshing afternoon tea.