Holy basil is known as “Queen of the Herbs” and is very different than what is used in several delicious cuisines such as Italian basil which is sweet and very popular kitchen herb. It is also known as Ocimum sanctum L. (1, 2, 3) and is native to South-East Asia and very popular in Indian subcontinent.
It is considered as the most popular in traditional medicine in Ayurveda and Naturopathy against bronchitis, diarrhea, malaria, nausea, vomiting, stomach ulcers, eye disease and insect bites.
According to Hindu mythology Tulsi plant is regarded as goddess due to its various lifesaving properties. Every Hindu households has Holy Basil/Tulsi plant in their garden/balcony and offered worship for these miraculous gifts.
Rama Tulsi (Basil): It has bright green leaf and light purple flower. It contains eugenol which is native to cloves and gives it mellow flavor.
Krishna Tulsi (Basil): It has purplish green leaves which gives its name Krishna Tulsi. This variety has capability to cure throat infections, ear infection, skin disease and respiratory diseases. It is also helpful in case of indigestion, malaria, cholera and insomnia.
Vana Tulsi (Basil): Vana Tulsi or Wild Tulsi is native to India, Sri Lanka, and northeast part of Africa. This variety has medicinal purposes and it has greatly imbibed in Indian religious beliefs. It has light green leaves and have lemony aroma and flavor. Its consumption boosts immunity and improves physical and mental endurance.
Holy Basil Health Benefits
There are multiple proven health benefits from traditional medicine in Ayurveda and Naturopathy to modern medical science. Several experimental results suggest consumption of Holy Basil/Tulsi helps in relieving mental and physical stress, prevents CVD, treats metabolic disorders and respiratory illness and boosts immunity. (4)
Holy Basil leaves is rich in vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, C, K, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and iron. (3)
Treats Respiratory Illness
Tulsi/Holy Basil contains camphene, cineole, and eugenol which helps in relieving cold and congestion in the chest. It may relieve the symptoms of bronchitis, cough and cold, sinusitis, sore throat and similar ailments. Inhaling steam with Tulsi leaves or Tulsi extracts helps in reducing nose congestion and helpful in reducing the ill effects of sinusitis. (2, 3, 4, 6)
Prediabetics, hypertension, high lipid markers are the side products of our modern lifestyle. Experimental studies have shown that the consumption of Holy Basil/Tulsi helps in lowering the physical and mental stress which helps in proper functioning of the organs as well as lowering the essential lipid markers.
Holy Basil/Tulsi contains Ocimumosides A and B which reduces the stress and maintains proper balance between neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. The anti-inflammatory properties help in reducing the blood pressure markers. Its consumption also helps in relieving depression, anxiety and provides quality sleep. (2, 3, 4)
Prevents Metabolic Disorders
Modern lifestyle is plagued by poor diet, low physical activity, and psychological stress which is known as “Metabolic Syndrome”. It is also known as prediabetics which includes obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and poor glucose regulation which are precursor to heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
The laboratory studies suggest the consumption of Holy Tulsi may help in reducing blood glucose markers, corrects abnormal lipid profile and protects against kindly and liver damage from metabolic syndrome.
Releases Physical and Mental Stress
Prolonged physical exertion, physical retention, extreme exposure to cold and noise affects the homeostasis by inducing physiological and metabolic stress. When the adaption exceeds the adaptability capacity, maladaptation results in disruption of biochemical pathways and function of different organs
The experimental studies suggest that the consumption of Tulsi may result in enhance metabolism, reduced oxidative tissues damages. It also results in reduction in chronic noise induced stress, enhancement of neurotransmitters and oxidative stress levels.
Holy Basil/Tulsi contain vitamin C and zinc which are natural immunity boosters. Its regular consumption helps in preventing any infection and helps in fighting several diseases and improves the healing process. It also helps in wound healing process.
It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties helps in protecting against varieties of infections. Tulsi extracts helps in increasing the activity of T helper and killer cells and hence boosts the immunity. (2, 3, 4)
Good for Hair
The use of Tulsi leaves helps in achieving thicker, stronger and shiner hair. The consumption of Holy Basil/Tulsi can either in the form of extracts, tea or paste. The anti-fungal properties of the Tulsi leaves prevent dandruff and antioxidants properties provides healthy skin hence stronger hair roots. (2, 3)
Traditional medicine used Holy Basil for its anti-inflammatory properties and hence its consumption might help in relieving arthritis pain. The regular consumption of Tulsi in any form might prevent arthritis. (3, 5)
Treats Mouth Ulcer
The role of holy basil in incredible in the treatment of mouth ulcers. In homeopathic medicine, Krishna Tulsi extract is considered as natural remedy for mouth ulcers with efficacy of 99.9%.
The antibacterial properties of the Tulsi helps in improving the bad breath, plaque and dental caries. It can either be consumed in the form of tea, extract or its leaves can be directly chewed to achieve the above-mentioned results. (4, 7, 8)
Holy Basil Side Effects
- Excessive consumption of Tulsi may nausea and diarrhea.
- Tulsi is good in lowering the glucose however people with low blood sugar should refrain from the use of Tulsi
- Tulsi consumption may not be good women trying to conceive.
Ayurvedic and Naturopathy practices recommends drinking of Holy Basil extracts regularly to prevent several diseases and boost the immunity. The micronutrients present in Tulsi leaves are essential for the proper functioning of the organs and maintains good health. The use of Holy Basil Tea may be as ritualistic as calming yoga. The soothing and refreshing properties of the Tulsi helps in relieving physical and mental stress. “Stay Healthy, Stay Happy”.