Help Stop Stress and Anxiety With Holy Basil

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holy basil leaves

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  • Holy basil is revered in India as one of the most sacred herbs because of its perceived effects on spiritual, mental and physical health
  • Learn more about holy basil and how you can benefit from this supplement today

Holy basil, or tulsi, is a famous medicinal herb in Ayurvedic medicine because of the vast health benefits it offers. For hundreds of years, it's been widely utilized in Southeast Asia. Today, it's starting to make a name for itself in Western medicine as more and more people are finding out about its impressive properties.

It is now available as an essential oil, supplement and tea around the world. Continue reading this article to learn more about it and how you can benefit from this supplement today.

What Is Holy Basil?

Holy basil, or Ocimum tenuiflorum, is a green leafy plant native to India. It is especially popular for its use in Ayurvedic medicine, where it functions as an adaptogen, or a substance that helps the body normalize when it is exposed to severe stress.

The local name for holy basil is "tulsi," which may be translated to "the incomparable one." This is especially understandable as the holy basil plant positively influences human health in more ways than one, making it almost "incomparable" to other herbs.1

For more than 5,000 years, tulsi, aka tulasi, has been treasured in India by Hindus as one of their most sacred herbs — it's the plant manifestation of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of prosperity and fortune. In fact, according to legend, it's even noted that a single holy basil leaf has more value than gold when weighed against Lakshmi's power.2 Judging by how holy basil can positively influence important body processes, it's no surprise that it's revered to this day as the "queen of herbs."3

Today, the number of holy basil products available in the market is increasing, which may make it easier for you to benefit from this herb. One of these products is holy basil supplements. These are made with holy basil extracts, and are available in liquid extract, capsule or a tablet form.4

How Can You Benefit From Holy Basil Supplements?

Based on the numerous possible benefits of holy basil, it may be one of the most impressive herbs in the plant kingdom. Its usefulness in the realm of Ayurvedic medicine knows no bounds as the whole plant may be utilized for various human conditions. Some of the benefits you might get from holy basil supplements include:

Helps abate stress and anxietyHoly basil is well-known for its adaptogenic properties, which may help the human body cope when exposed to stressful environments. In a 2007 animal study, holy basil was found to contain ocimumosides and ocimarin, two compounds that have anti-stress properties.5

Supports the immune system — oly basil is thought to be especially useful for combating infections due to its powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. A 2011 study found that holy basil boosts the immune system by increasing cytokine and immune cell efficacy in mounting immune responses.6

May be hepatoprotective — Holy basil may be able to inhibit toxin-induced damage in the liver because of its membrane-stabilizing properties. A 2011 animal study shows that holy basil may help reduce fatty changes and cloudy swelling in the liver.7

Helps soothe painful conditions — According to a 2015 study, holy basil contains analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic properties. It may help alleviate arthritis and joint pain due to these characteristics.8

May help reduce diabetes symptomsHoly basil is noted to reduce diabetes symptoms by helping to control weight gain and cholesterol, and regulating excess insulin in the blood.9

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Studies Also Show That Holy Basil May Help Boost Your Dental Health

Holy basil is rich in a variety of active compounds, vitamins and minerals that may largely influence important body processes. In fact, the health benefits that holy basil possesses are backed by numerous scientific studies and research.  Among these is its potential for improving dental health.  

Two 2016 studies observed the effectiveness of holy basil as an antimicrobial agent for oral health. The first study, published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, collected bacterial samples of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans from five patients with periodontal disease.

After introducing a 6-percent concentration of holy basil to the bacterial cultures, the researchers concluded that holy basil may be used to fight bacteria linked to periodontal disease.10

The second in vitro study, which appeared in the Journal of Clinical Diagnostic Research, used ethanolic extracts of tulsi to observe its antimicrobial function against P. actinomyctemcomitans, P. gingivalis and P. intermedia.

The 5 percent and 10 percent concentrations of holy basil proved to be effective against P. actinomycetemcomitans, but the succeeding two bacterial strains expressed resistance against the extract. The researchers note that holy basil may be used as an aid for periodontal conditions, together with other treatment options.11

Watch Out For These Possible Holy Basil Side Effects and Contraindications

Holy basil is generally considered safe for consumption without causing serious side effects or complications. However, note that there are little to no studies claiming that holy basil supplementation is safe during pregnancy; while holy basil may look beneficial for your health, there is no clear indication whether it's safe for your unborn child. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should veer away from this supplement to stay on the safe side.

In addition, people who will undergo surgery should also avoid taking holy basil supplements at least two weeks before their scheduled operation, as it may hinder proper blood clotting during or after the surgery and cause bleeding.12

Holy Basil Is an Impressive Herb, but It's Not a Magic Bullet

Holy basil has a long history in the use for improving human health, and it has played a significant role in Ayurvedic practice for protecting people from disease even before it was introduced to Western medicine. Now that supplements have been developed, its health benefits have become more accessible.

However, remember that overall health cannot depend on this or any other one supplement alone. Holy basil may help you in achieving your best self, but remember that it is just as important to implement healthy lifestyle strategies, such as optimizing your diet, following a regular exercise regimen and minimizing your exposure to environmental toxins, to ensure that you maintain your health for the better.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Holy Basil

Q: What is holy basil good for?

A: Holy basil is filled with numerous active compounds that may help alleviate inflammation, abate stress and anxiety and soothe painful conditions.

Q: Where can you buy holy basil?

A: Holy basil supplements, tea and other products are available at numerous health stores across the country. There are also a handful of online stores that sell holy basil supplements. However, make sure you get only the highest quality from trustworthy sources.

Q: Are holy basil supplements safe?

A: Holy basil supplements are safe to ingest during short periods of time. Long-term supplementation is yet to be proven safe due to limited studies conducted.