Holy basil, also known as “hot basil”, is a plant native to India and an integral part of Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medical system. Its peppery flavor is due to the presence of powerful chemicals that are believed to have many health benefits.
From reducing pain and swelling to lowering blood sugar in diabetics, holy basil has been used to treat a number of ailments.
Treats Skin Infections and Acne
Holy basil has been found to have powerful antiseptic properties and is an effective treatment for skin infections and acne. The primary active ingredient in holy basil oil is eugenol, which is also present in clove oil and is widely believed to help combat many skin disorders. When used with coconut oil, the absorption of holy basil into the skin is even more effective, making it a potent natural remedy for acne and other skin irritations.
Supports Diabetic Health
Studies have shown that holy basil has the ability to control blood sugar levels, making it an effective treatment for non-insulin dependent diabetes. A clinical trial showed that patients with this condition experienced a decrease in fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels, as well as a reduction in cholesterol levels during the treatment period. This herb is believed to be effective in managing metabolic syndrome and mild to moderate non-insulin dependent diabetes.
Protects Against Cancer
Research has shown that consuming holy basil regularly may help prevent certain types of cancer, such as lung, liver, oral, and skin cancer. This is due to the herb’s anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant properties, which can prevent healthy gene expressions from becoming altered, induce cancer cell death, and stop the spread of cancer. In addition, holy basil may also protect the body from radiation poisoning and minimize damage from radiation treatment.
Balances Stress Hormones
Holy basil is known as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body manage physical, chemical, metabolic, and psychological stress. It helps to balance hormones, manage anxiety, and reduce symptoms of stress. Holy basil contains three phytochemical compounds that have anti-stress properties and can help lower stress hormones and alter neurotransmitter levels in the brain. To use holy basil for anxiety, taking a leaf extract twice daily or drinking tulsi tea are recommended.
Holy basil is a natural fever reliever, as it supports immune function and protects against bacteria and viruses. It is often used as a remedy for fevers, as it helps the body fight infections and is recommended by practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine.
Improves Respiratory Disorders
Holy basil contains compounds such as camphene, eugenol, and cineole that help relieve symptoms of respiratory disorders such as congestion. Studies have shown that holy basil has impressive anti-asthmatic and bronchodilatory properties, making it an effective treatment for various respiratory conditions.
Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin K
Tulsi leaves are a fantastic source of vitamin K! Just one cup of tulsi leaves has more than the daily recommended value, making it a great way to avoid deficiency. Vitamin K is an important fat-soluble vitamin that contributes to your overall health, including your bones, digestive system, and more.
Good for Your Teeth and Gums
Tulsi has antibacterial properties that can help keep your teeth and gums healthy. It may help fight against cavities, plaque, tartar, and bad breath.
Compounds in tulsi leaves are also beneficial for maintaining a healthy oral microbiome by killing harmful bacteria and germs. Using a basil leaf extract mouthwash twice daily may reduce plaque and the risk of gingivitis.
Tulsi may also help relieve mouth ulcers and may stop the growth of oral cancer cells. To support your dental health, try adding a drop of tulsi essential oil to your toothpaste or drinking a cup of tulsi tea each day.
Tulsi is commonly used in Ayurveda as a natural remedy for headaches, including migraines. Research suggests that tulsi helps relieve headaches by reducing inflammation, sinus pressure, and muscle tension, and by fighting the effects of stress.
Try diffusing tulsi essential oil or drinking tulsi tea to help alleviate headache symptoms.
Eye Health Support
Our eyes are susceptible to viral, bacterial, and fungal infections, so it’s important to take good care of them. In Ayurveda, tulsi is often used to treat conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye) due to its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
Tulsi may also help prevent various eye issues, including cataracts.
According to Dr. S.K. Gupta from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, using an herbal eye drop mixture containing turmeric and tulsi extracts can help counteract oxidative stress and insoluble protein formation that can lead to cataracts.
In conclusion, Holy basil is a traditional herb with various health benefits, including antioxidant properties, stress and anxiety relief, anti-inflammatory effects, immunity boost, and improved cognitive function. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before adding it to your routine.