Holy basil is a plant native to the southeast Asian tropics and Africa, but it now grows in many tropical climates around the world. Its botanical name is Ocimum sanctum but it is also known as Tulsi. Holy basil has been used for 3,000 years and is important to Ayurvedic medicine. 1
Holy basil is referred to as an adaptogen herb and holds spiritual significance in many ancient cultures. 1,2
Holy Basil Health Uses and Health Benefits
As an adaptogen herb, holy basil benefits include being excellent for stress reduction by lowering cortisol levels. Many people use holy basil for anxiety and for general whole body wellness. 1,2
Holy basil benefits include pain relief, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. These benefits provide many holy basil uses including:
- Controlling hyperthyroidism
- Supporting adrenal function and reducing adrenal fatigue
- Regulating blood sugar
- Treating acne and skin conditions
- Treating asthma and preventing asthma attacks
- Preventing heart conditions
- Treating bronchitis, arthritis and vision disorders
Some lab studies have also shown that holy basil has effective anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral health benefits too. 3
Some of the top holy basil uses are for natural treatment of the following conditions:
- Malaria - The powerful antioxidant and antiviral holy basil health benefits can help to treat and control a malaria infection. Taking holy basil can help to suppress a fever and alleviate headaches.
- Diabetes - One of the known holy basil uses is its efficacy in controlling blood sugar, which is important for managing diabetes and the related metabolic syndrome.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - The adaptogenic properties of holy basil help to reduce stress hormone levels in the body which can help to control symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Particularly holy basil for anxiety and flashbacks are effective for those suffering from PTSD.
- Brain Cancer - The herbal adaptogenic and antioxidant holy basil benefits can help to lower stress in the body and kill free radicals. This is important for cellular health in the prevention of brain cancer and other cancer types.
- Cervical Cancer - There are many holy basil benefits that make it an effective remedy for preventing a treating early stages of cervical cancer. Holy basil’s antioxidant benefits have a positive effect on killing free radicals and keeping cells healthy.
- Gastritis - Gastritis is a condition characterized by inflammation in the stomach lining. The anti-inflammatory benefits of holy basil can help to reduce and prevent gastritis.
Holy Basil Side Effects and Precautions
While thought to be safe when taken by mouth for short periods of time, holy basil side effects may occur when used in the long-term. It is unknown what kind of holy basil side effects can occur in pregnant or breastfeeding women and so it should be avoided as a precaution. 4
Always consult a medical professional when using holy basil for anxiety or other medical conditions. 4