Holy basil isn’t like the sweet, fragrant basil leaves you add to a marinara sauce or a homemade pizza. From the holy basil seeds to the leaves, this leafy green plant is sometimes considered a tonic for ailments of the mind, body, and spirit.
Holy basil has a long history of use in Indian medicinal practices, where it is used to support everything from stress, to ringworm, to eye diseases. It is said that every part of the plant can be used to help with different conditions, including:
- Holy basil flowers for throat discomfort or coughing
- Leaves and seeds to provide support for diseases spread by mosquitos
- Whole plant may promote stomach comfort in cases of nausea or vomiting
- Holy basil pills or ointments may promote healthy-looking skin
- Holy basil alcohol extract may support healthy eyesight
- Holy basil oils may be used to provide comfort in the case of bug bites
In addition to providing support for many bodily functions and ailments, holy basil has a high nutritional value. It contains vitamins A and C, calcium, zinc, and iron.
The History of Holy Basil
Holy basil, also known as tulsi, originated in India and it has been used in ayurvedic practices for thousands of years. People who practice Hinduism believe tulsi is a sacred plant–that’s why you’ll often see holy basil planted around Hindu temples. There are several legends and stories about how holy basil came to grow on earth. In the classic Hindu myth, the god Vishnu created tulsi from turbulent seas as an aid to all mankind.
There’s good reason why holy basil is considered a sacred plant. This herb has several potential health benefits, but it is widely used as an “adaptogen”–meaning it is thought to help the body adapt to the typical stresses of life. Tulsi is also mentioned in Hindu scriptures as an herb that can help promote healthy blood flow and healthy-looking skin.
How Does It Work?
The chemicals in holy basil possess many potential health benefits, such as promoting healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range and helping people cope with daily life stresses. While researchers aren’t yet sure exactly why holy basil may help with blood sugar balance, another study reported that taking 1,000 milligrams of holy basil per day had a positive effect on blood sugar, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
While research supports many potential health benefits of holy basil leaves and holy basil seeds, it’s most common for people to use holy basil supplements, oils, and teas to provide support with stress or nerves. In studies examining mental stress, holy basil may be connected to less stress and lower levels of depression.
In some ayurvedic practices, it is common to drink holy basil tea daily. This may promote healthy stress levels, sexual and sleep habits, and may potentially address other issues associated with stress.
Try Holy Basil Seeds, Leaves, or Oil
If you don’t enjoy a cup of tea, Natural Healthy Concepts also offers a large variety of supplements, oils, and other holy basil products that may support you in your health goals. For example, Himalaya holy basil capsules support relaxation and stress management — simply take a capsule before meals two times a day. If you prefer a liquid supplement, Herb Pharm’s liquid holy basil is easy to use and it may promote healthy cholesterol levels already in a normal range.
As with other herbs and supplements, make sure you talk to a medical professional before using holy basil. This is especially important for pregnant or nursing mothers, or anyone who has a scheduled surgery. Some research suggests that holy basil could slow blood clotting. However, if your medical provider gives you the go-ahead, studies support the many potential health benefits of using holy basil or tulsi.
Take a few minutes to look through our holy basil products and learn more about how you may benefit from using this herb!