Holy Basil has been used for thousands of years and is regarded as one of the most important plants used in Ayurvedic medicine! Native to India, its Hindu name is Tulsi, meaning “the incomparable one.” Medicine is made using the leaves, stem, flower, root, seeds and even the whole plant.
Holy Basil, I Love Adaptogens!
In Ayurvedic medicine, Holy Basil is a super adaptogen and is used to counter life’s stresses. It's used to soothe the nerves, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and thus reduce stress.
Adaptogenic herbs are substances that work on creating a state of balance and harmony within the body. They enhance our healing and repair mechanisms and our ability to handle stress. Within the body they create a host-mediated response—this means they create certain reactions beneficial for your individual situation, so they never work the same from one person to the next. They may stimulate a certain aspect of one person’s metabolism whereas they’ll actually lower that in somebody else. It depends on what we need as individuals. Adaptogens truly are very intelligent medicines.
Consuming adaptogenic substances is one of the most beneficial health strategies all of us could implement and benefit from.
Holy Basil to Combat Stress
Research suggests holy basil is effective in treating a range of stressful conditions, but within Ayurveda, it's more commonly recommended as a preventive measure to enhance the ability to adapt to both psychological and physical stress and therefore prevent the development of stress-related diseases.
Tulsi tastes hot and bitter and is said to penetrate the deep tissues, dry tissue secretions and normalize kapha and vata doshas. Daily consumption of tulsi is said to prevent disease, promote general health, wellbeing and longevity and assist in dealing with the stresses of daily life.
Many Ayurvedic practitioners recommend the regular consumption of tulsi tea as an essential lifestyle practice.
Using Holy Basil
When using holy basil for stress, early research shows taking 400 mg of a holy basil extract (by mouth) in the morning and 800 mg at night for 6 weeks decreased symptoms of stress, including forgetfulness, sexual problems, exhaustion, and sleep problems.
If you’re trying to manage stress, consider holy basil in combination with lifestyle modifications such as breathing exercises and regular aerobic exercise for a truly effective outcome.
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods
Cohen, MM. Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014 Oct.-Dec; 5(4): 251-259.
WebMD. Holy Basil.