Tulsi, the alternative name for holy basil is a common herb in the ancient Indian history. It was first mentioned around 1500 B.C in the Rig Veda, and it was celebrated for its countless benefits in the Ayurvedic medicine.
It originates from tropical Asia, but nowadays it grows in tropical climates throughout the world. In fact, is one of the most highly utilized and important plant in numerous countries. Its leaves are considered as adaptogen herbs that provide many different benefits for the entire body.
Adaptogen herbs are a unique class of healing plants, which protect, balance and restore the body. Edward Wallace, a naturopath, explains that adaptogen does not have a specific action, but it helps the body respond to any stressor thus normalizing its physiological functions.
Some of the most popular adaptogen herbs include astragalus, ashwagandha, licorice root, ginseng, Rhodiola, holy basil and some medicinal mushrooms.
Benefits of holy basil
These days, holy basil is mostly used in the form of tulsi tea or in the supplement form. It is used to treat acne, anxiety, high blood sugar, adrenal fatigue, and thyroid problems.
Researchers from Thailand conducted a study to find out whether the essential oils of tulsi can fight bacteria that cause acne and provide optimal skin care. By testing its antimicrobial capability, the researchers have found that a 3 percent concentration of Tulsi is the most potent substance against bacteria that cause acne.
Eugenol, the primary compound of Tulsi is the active ingredient in the potent clove oil. One of the widely-celebrated benefits is clove’s oil is that it effectively treats many skin conditions.
When using tulsi for treating of acne, make sure you use an unrefined virgin coconut oil as a carrier because when melted it can be absorbed into the skin more quickly than any other oil.
According to a review published in Nutrition and Cancer, holy basil 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 prevents radiation-induced sickness and mortality, and are known to protect normal tissues from the detrimental effects of radiation.
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 showed amazing results. The fasting glucose dropped by 21 mm/dl, post-meal glucose dropped by 15.8 mm/dl, which represented a reduction of 17.6 percent and 7.3 percent. In addition to this, cholesterol levels were also significantly reduced.
Another study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, has proved that the extract of tulsi reduced glucose by over 36 percent in normal rats and up to 18percent in diabetes-induced rats.
4. Balances hormones and lowers stress
Another article published in the journal Die Pharmazie points out that the hypoglycemic effects of Tulsi are due to its ability to regulate the cortisol levels.
Cortisol or also called stress hormone is responsible for a high number of diabetes cases throughout the world. Its adverse effects can damage memory, learning, bone density, immune function, heart disease and weight gain.
According to Psychology Today, high level of cortisol is considered a number one public enemy. Another benefit of holy basil is that it successfully reduces emotional stress and anxiety.
Some of the symptoms of high cortisol level include:
- Puffy, flushed face
- Weight gain (in the abdomen/stomach area)
- Acne or some other skin changes
- Mood swings
- High blood pressure
- High level of anxiety
- Muscle pains and aches
- Poor sleep/fatigue
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
5. Relieves fever
Holy basil is often recommended as a natural fever treatment, especially by practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine Holy basil leaves are thought to act as antibiotic, germicidal and disinfectant agents, which means they can protect us from bacteria and viruses.
When we have a fever, it’s proof that our bodies are fighting against an infection. Therefore, with its infection-fighting properties, tulsi may help to fight a fever and restore your health quickly.
6. Relieves headaches
Practitioners of Ayurveda recommend holy basil as a natural headache remedy that can help relieve migraine pain. Some believe this is due to its ability to relieve sinus pressure, and recommend diffusing holy basil essential oil or making tulsi tea to reduce headache symptoms.
Holy basil tea recipe
- 1-quart water
- 4 teaspoons tulsi leaf or 2 teaspoons powder
- 1-inch ginger root or 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon raw, organic honey (optional)
- Infuse all the ingredients in boiling water for about 20 minutes
- Strain, then add the honey
- Drink as tea