Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), native to Southeast Asia,
is used in Indian medicine for various conditions from ringworm to eye diseases. It differs from
common basil in marinara or Thai cuisine and doesn’t even have the same flavor.
But it is considered a body, mind and spirit tonic in that it is used to treat various body conditions.
Here are several treatment recommendations using various
parts of the plant: 1.
Fresh flowers for bronchitis. 2.
Leaves and seeds with black pepper for malaria. 3. Whole plant for diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. 4.
Pill and ointment for eczema. 5.
Alcohol extract for stomach ulcers and eye
Essential oil from leaves for insect bites.
Studies also support its therapeutic value and high
nutritional content, including vitamins A and C, calcium, zinc, iron, and
It is also known to reduce stress and anxiety.
Stress and Anxiety Reduction
Holy basil is a plant with adaptogenic qualities which assists
the body in adapting to stress and maintaining mental balance. As a natural
substance, adaptogens are known for their holistic approach to stress
management. Scientific studies indicate that holy basil possesses
pharmacological properties effective in addressing various stress types.
We experience various stress sources such as chemical, physical,
infectious, and emotional factors. In cases of physical stress, holy basil has
demonstrated the ability to enhance endurance in animals. Studies with animals
exposed to stress scenarios showed improved metabolism, swimming performance,
reduced tissue damage, and lower stress levels in loud environments.
Both human and animal studies support the idea that holy
basil can reduce stress, alleviate sexual problems, improve sleep, prevent
forgetfulness, and reduce exhaustion. The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative
Medicine suggests that holy basil's leaves exhibit antidepressant and
anti-anxiety properties comparable to certain medications, such as diazepam.
A specific study found that daily intake of 500 milligrams
of holy basil extract led to reduced feelings of anxiety, stress, and
depression, while enhancing sociability. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend
consuming holy basil as a caffeine-free tea made from the leaves, promoting a
calming and ritualistic experience similar to yoga.
For those who find the taste unappealing, holy basil
supplements in pill or alcohol extract form are available, reducing the risk of
contamination compared to natural herb consumption.
Holy basil also helps to revitalize and stimulate the body.
Body Revitalization and Stimulation
Holy basil is rich in antioxidants, aiding your body's
detoxification. Research suggests it shields against toxic chemicals,
potentially preventing cancer by impeding the growth of cancerous cells.
Extracts from holy basil leaves enhance wound healing by
being antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic
(pain-relieving). Post-surgery, it's used to accelerate healing, strengthen
wounds, and reduce healing time. This includes combating mouth ulcers, keloids (thick raised scars), and acne.
For those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, all parts of
the holy basil plant can help lower blood sugar. Studies show a significant
decrease in blood sugar levels, but consultation with a doctor is advised,
especially for those on medications.
Holy basil addresses metabolic stress, aiding in weight loss
and regulating cholesterol levels. Animal studies demonstrated lower bad
cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) and higher good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol).
As an adaptogen with anti-inflammatory properties, holy
basil can alleviate stress, anxiety, and inflammation. It may be beneficial for
individuals with arthritis or fibromyalgia.
Holy basil counters stress-induced ulcers by enhancing the
stomach's defense, decreasing stomach acid, increasing mucus secretion, and
prolonging the life of mucus cells. It's a potential alternative to drugs which
have side effects.
How to Add Holy Basil to Your Daily
Supplements of holy basil extract come in pill or capsule
form. For general prevention, the recommended daily dosage ranges from 300 mg
to 2,000 mg. When used as a treatment, the suggested dosage is 600 mg to 1,800
mg taken in multiple doses throughout the day. Supplements and topical
ointments may utilize all parts of the plant.
You can also use the essential oil of holy basil which is obtained by distilling
leaves and flowers.
If you like drinking tea, you can make holy basil tea using leaves, flowers, or dried
leaf powder. Brewing freshly made tea involves placing 2–3 teaspoons of holy
basil in a cup of boiling water and letting it steep for 5–6 minutes. The
leaves are commonly used in cooking, and some people eat them raw even though it has a spicy and bitter taste.
In summary, there are various ways to include holy basil in
your daily routine. You can cook with it, take it as a supplement, or brew tea.
Additionally, holy basil is available in essential oil form.