Holy basil, also known as tulsi, was used for medicinal purposes even 3,000 years ago. This aromatic plant has been celebrated in Purana and highly appreciated in Ayurvedic medicine. Although it grows in many tropical climates worldwide, it is believed that it is native to tropical Asia. Due to its potent healing properties, holy basil is now widely used as adaptogen herb and even used to promote overall health.
In an article by Dr. Axe, adaptogen ( anti-stress) herbs, are described as follows:
“Adaptogens are a unique class of healing plants: They help balance, restore and protect the body. As naturopath Edward Wallace explains, an adaptogen doesn’t have a specific action: It helps you respond to any influence or stressor, normalizing your physiological functions. Naturopath Marcelle Pick of Women to Women reports that adaptogenic herbs can recharge your adrenal glands, helping you to respond to stress. Adaptogens include ashwagandha, astragalus, ginseng, licorice root, holy basil, some mushrooms and rhodiola.”
Holy Basil Benefits
These days, holy basis is mostly used in the form of tulsi tea or in the supplement form. It is used to treat acne, anxiety, blood sugar, adrenal fatigue, and hypothyroidism.
A group of researchers from Thailand teamed to study the effectiveness of holy basil essential oils against acne-causing bacteria. As testing its antimicrobial activity, they found that a 3% concentration of holy basil works best against bacteria responsible for acne.
Eugenol, the active compound of holy basil is the primary compound of the potent antimicrobial clove oil, too Given that clove is one of the best essential oils when it comes to treating acne, it`s no wonder holy basis works wonders as well. When using tulsi for natural acne treatment, opt for unrefined virgin coconut oil as carrier as it absorbs into the skin easily and much more efficiently compared to other oils.
According to a review published in Nutrition and Cancer, holy basis contains potent immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties that protect against stress, pain, and fever. Therefore, people who consume holy basil on a regular basis are less susceptible to poor immunity and developing cancerous cells.
The phytochemicals contained in holy basil protect against lung, liver, oral, and skin cancer, due to their ability to boost antioxidant activity, prevent blood vessel growth, alter healthy gene expression, and induce cancer cell apoptosis. Tulsi extract prevent radiation-induced sickness and mortality, and are known to protect normal tissues from the detrimental effects of radiation. In brief, holy basil is an effective natural cancer treatment which not only kills cancer cells, but it protects against destructive effects of conventional cancer treatments.
Holy basil`s ability to keep blood glucose in check has been widely known since the mid-1900s. For example, to investigate its ability to treat and reverse diabetes, a team of researchers from Azad University of Agriculture and Technology (India) studied the effects holy basil leaves had on rats. The group given holy basis exhibited amazing results. The fasting glucose dropped by by 21 mm/dl, post-meal glucose dropped by 15.8 mm/dl, which represented reduction of 17.6 percent and 7.3 percent. In addition to this, cholesterol levels were also significantly decreased.
Another study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, has proved that the extract of tulsi decreased glucose by over 36% in normal rats and up to 18% in diabetes-induced rats.
Hormones and Thyroid
Apart from managing diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels in check, a recent study published in the the journal Die Pharmazie (German for “The Pharmacy”) suggests that holy basil is also capable of regulating serum cortisol levels.
Cortisol, commonly known as the ‘stress hormone’, affects the body in a variety of ways, wreaking havoc on weight gain, bone density, memory, learning, heart disease, and lowered immune function.
Increased cortisol levels are dangerous to the extent of being refered to as “Public Enemy #1”! Supplementing with holy basil has been found to lower cortisol levels, and thus reduce emotional stress and anxiety.
Some of the most common symptoms of high cortisol levels include puffy face, high blood pressure, acne, weight gain, excessive thirst, muscle aches and pains, mood swings, poor sleep, and increased urination.
Holy Basil Tea Recipe
- 1 quart water
- 4T tulsi leaf or 2T powder
- 2T lemon grass
- 1t anise seeds
- 1/4t vanilla powder or vanilla stevia
- 1/2t dried ginger root pieces or 1t fresh
- 1T coriander seeds
- 1T coconut sugar or raw honey
- Infuse all the ingredients in boiling water for about 20 minutes
- Strain, then add vanilla and sweeteners
- Drink as tea