Holy Basil: One Herb, Many Uses

One Herb Many Uses

According to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Holy Basil is an aromatic shrub in the basil family. It is classified as an adaptogenic herb, which means it helps restore the body to a more balanced state and promotes mental balance, especially during times of stress.

The plant is thought to have originated in North Central India and now grows native throughout the Eastern world tropics. Within Indian Ayurveda, Holy Basil is known and referred to as “Tulsi” or “The Incomparable One,” or “The Queen of Herbs.” It is also revered as an “Elixir of Life” that is without equal for both its medicinal and spiritual properties.

Holy Basil leaf contains a variety of useful parts, including eugenol (a volatile oil), ursolic acid (a triterpenoid), and rosmarinic acid (a phenylpropanoid). Other active compounds include caryophyllene and oleanolic acid, carotenoids, vitamin C, calcium, iron, zinc, and chlorophyll.

The plant, whose botanical name is Ocimum sanctum, did not get the name Holy Basil just for the sake of it, it is an important spiritual herb in India and within India, Tulsi has been adopted into spiritual rituals and lifestyle practises that provide huge health benefits that are just beginning to be confirmed by modern science. A large body of scientific research now supports the traditional uses of this valuable plant. Studies show that Holy Basil has antimicrobial, adaptogenic, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, radioprotective, immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, and cardio-protective actions, among many other benefits.

Here are some other benefits that make Holy Basil HOLY.

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.

The Ayurveda Journal also revealed that 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.

Stimulate And Vitalise Your Body

Holy Basil is also high in antioxidants and helps your body detox. Studies show that Holy Basil protects your body against toxic chemicals. It may also prevent cancer by reducing the growth of cancerous cells.

Holy Basil Is Good For The Skin

Used topically, some of the most powerful Holy Basil benefits are its antimicrobial properties. “Overall, Holy Basil is great for your skin, and when combined with other ingredients, like lemon juice, or mustard oil, it can help treat most skin irritations including acne, eczema and even ringworm.

A study from Thailand reveals that Holy Hasil was used to ward off bacteria that cause acne. “Essentially testing its antimicrobial capability, they discovered that a three per cent concentration of holy basil oil is most effective against bacteria that cause acne,”.

Holy Basil Improves Oral Health

Thanks to its natural antimicrobial properties, Holy Basil can improve the health of your mouth, teeth, and gums to a large extent, as revealed by studies.

A 2016 study in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology showed that Holy Basil was effective in warding off periodontal pathogens, while a 2014 study in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine showed that holy basil was effective against dental plaque and inflammation of the gums.

Protect Against Infection And Treat Wounds

Some people even use Holy Basil after surgery to heal and protect their wounds. Holy Basil increases your wound’s breaking strength, healing time, and contraction.

Research shows that Holy Basil may work against infections and wounds, such as mouth ulcers, keloids, raised scars and cystic acne.

Lowers Your Blood Sugar

If you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, all parts of the Holy Basil plant can help reduce your blood sugar.

Lowers Your Cholesterol

One 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

Picture this: What if you have a one-stop solution that tackles stress, anxiety, and inflammation? Yes! Holy Basil can do all that for you. As an adaptogen with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, Holy Basil provides all of these benefits. It can even help people with arthritis or fibromyalgia.

Protects Your stomach

Holy Basil can counteract the effects of stress-induced ulcers. It naturally increases your stomach’s defence by decreasing stomach acid, increasing mucus secretion, increasing mucus cells and extending the life of mucus cells.

Many drugs for peptic ulcers have side effects and can cause discomfort in some people. Holy Basil may be a 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.

HOW TO USE

Ayurvedic practitioners recommend drinking Holy Basil as tea using the leaves. And since it is caffeine-free, it is okay and even recommended to drink daily as it fosters clear thoughts, relaxation, and a sense of well-being.

However, if Tulsi’s bitter and spicy flavour is a no-no, a supplement in pill form or as an alcohol extract is available. There is less risk of contamination when taking a herb in its natural form.

SIDE EFFECTS

Avoid using Holy Basil if you are allergic or sensitive to it or members of the Lamiaceae (mint) plant family.

You should be cautious about using Holy Basil if you;

Have low blood sugar

Are pregnant or trying to get pregnant

Take anticoagulant (blood-thinning) drugs

Do not take Holy Basil with any sleeping drug because it might change the effect of these medications.

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