Holy Basil benefits include emotional wellness; stress relief; healthy immune response; and respiratory, heart and brain health.
Modern life is fraught with stress. To complicate matters, many people are dealing with obesity, diabetes, dementia, and depression, some of which may be related to lifestyle-related chronic diseases.
As the world’s oldest medical system, Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to health and disease that focuses on preserving and promoting good health and preventing disease through healthy lifestyle practices. These practices include consumption of adaptogenic herbs that enhance the body’s capacity to maintain balance in the midst of life’s stressors.
Of all of these herbs, Holy Basil may be without equal. The Queen of Herbs is considered sacred by the Hindus for its legendary healing properties. The plant’s Latin name, Ocimum sanctum, means “sacred fragrant basil.” Its Sanskrit name, Tulsi, means “incomparable one.” Holy Basil benefits are both psychological and physiological, and the extract made from the plant may offer well-rounded support for a wide range of modern day health issues.
Holy Basil Benefits: The Elixir of Life
The science on Holy Basil benefits suggests Holy Basil is a tonic for the body, mind, and spirit. Its pharmacological actions seem to promote wellbeing and resilience.
Daily consumption of Holy Basil is said to prevent disease, promote general health and wellbeing, and assist in dealing with the stresses of daily life. It is often used as support for anxiety, cough, asthma, diarrhea, fever, dysentery, arthritis, eye diseases, otalgia, indigestion, hiccups, vomiting, gastric disorders, back pain, skin diseases, and malaria.
Holy Basil’s unique combination of actions include antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, antif-ungal, anti-protozoal, antimalarial, anthelmintic), mosquito repellent, anti-diarrheal, antioxidant, anti-cataract, anti-inflammatory, chemopreventive, radioprotective, hepato-protective, neuro-protective, cardio-protective, anti-diabetic, anti-hypercholesterolemia, anti-hypertensive, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic, anti-pyretic, anti-allergic, central nervous system depressant, immunomodulatory, memory enhancement, anti-asthmatic, anti-tussive, diaphoretic, anti-thyroid, anti-ulcer, anti-emetic, anti-spasmodic, anti-arthritic, adaptogenic, anti-stress, anti-cataract, anti-leucodermal and anti-coagulant.
That’s a long list, we know.
These actions may help the body and mind cope with chemical, physical, infectious, and emotional stresses and help support physiological and psychological function.
Holy Basil Benefits
Many physiological Holy Basil benefits are attributed to its high content of phenolic compounds and antioxidant properties. Studies highlight its ability to protect the liver, kidney, and brain against genetic, immune, and cellular damage. It may also help to reduce DNA damage caused by toxic compounds (e.g., pollutants, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, radiation) and reducing the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells.
Metabolic stress is common today due to poor diet, low physical activity, and psychological stress. “Metabolic syndrome” includes the “deadly quartet”: upper-body obesity, glucose intolerance, hypertension, and elevated triglycerides, and it may affect up to one-third of the population. Also called “pre-diabetes” or “Syndrome X,” Metabolic syndrome is associated with chronic inflammation and a greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Evidence suggests that Holy Basil has anti-diabetic activity. It may reduce blood glucose and protect the liver and kidneys from the metabolic damage caused by high glucose levels. Holy basil benefits include protecting the liver and kidneys from free radical damage; enhancing insulin secretion and action; lowering cortisol levels; and reducing inflammation.
Holy Basil benefits include anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activity against many pathogens responsible for human infections. Evidence suggests Holy Basil may help in the treatment of various human bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections, skin and wound infections, cholera, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, acne, herpes simplex, pneumonia and fungal infections, as well as mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria.
Regular consumption of Holy Basil may help protect and detoxify the body’s cells and organs. Holy Basil benefits may include reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression by calming the mind and offering psychological benefits, such as anti-anxiety and anti-depressant activity with effects comparable to diazepam and antidepressants drugs. In addition, it may enhance memory and cognitive function and protect against age-induced memory deficits.
We Love Holy Basil Extract
Holy Basil is one of the best examples of Ayurveda’s holistic lifestyle approach to health. We like to drink Holy Basil teas as a preventive measure to enhance our ability to adapt to psychological and physical stress and help prevent stress-related diseases. As a bonus, it makes an excellent addition to a daily stress relief smoothie or digestive health smoothie!