Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) also known as Tulsi is an aromatic herb in the mint (Lamiaceae) family. Holy Basil has believed to be indigenous to the Indian continent over 5,000 years ago and now is cultivated all over the world.
This is such an amazing herb and there are more than 60 varieties of this pungent plant, each with its own characteristic color and aroma. Depending on the type, basil can be green, white or purple with a scent reminiscent of lemon, camphor, cloves, cinnamon, anise, and thyme. Some non-edible kinds are cultivated for ornamental purposes or to guard against garden pests.
Scientific research is now confirming the beneficial effects of Holy Basil. Holy Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese which is a very good source of copper, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids such as beta-carotene), and vitamin C, calcium, iron, folate, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Fights Cancer – Phytochemicals in Holy Basil prevent chemical-induced lung, liver, oral and skin cancers because they increase antioxidant activity, alter healthy gene expressions, induce cancer cell death, prevent blood vessel growth contributing to cell growth and stop metastasis, which is the spread of cancer from one organ to another.
- Anti-Inflammatory – Holy Basil has been proven in a study with leaf extract on rats to significantly reduce the formation of cancerous micronuclei, enzymes which metabolize toxins in the body, and oxidation in both proteins and fats. Antioxidant and healthy enzymatic activity was increased.
- Antibacterial Properties – Researchers have found that using Holy Basil as an essential oil exhibited antimicrobial activity against a wide range of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, yeast, and mold.
- Antimicrobial Properties that Fight Viruses and Infections – Helps in the treatment of various human bacterial infections including urinary tract infections, skin and wound infections, typhoid fever, cholera, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, acne, herpes simplex, leishmaniasis, various cases of pneumonia and fungal infections, as well as mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria and filariasis.
- Combats Stress – By increasing adrenaline and noradrenaline and decreasing serotonin.
- Supports the Liver and detoxifies the body – In a study conducted researchers found that Holy Basil extract significantly increased the production of detoxifying enzymes and reduced the buildup of fat.
- Stress – A study with rabbits showed that they displayed improved respiratory and cardiovascular protection, and decreased blood sugar levels and oxidative stress with “Holy Basil.”
- Infertility – Research has shown that Holy Basil can help with erectile dysfunction.
- Digestive Health – Holy Basil contains manganese which keeps your digestive system healthy, which enables the vitamins in basil to be absorbed properly not allowing you to become vitamin deficient.
- Cardiovascular Health and Diabetes – Holy Basil has been shown to reduce glucose levels. In addition, it alleviates the unhealthy levels of cholesterol and triglyceride that diabetes can cause. Studies have also shown that it can be safely used for treating or preventing diabetes.
Researchers have found that Holy Basil is safe for consumption and topical use. Keep in mind though, that Holy Basil may slow blood clotting. Taking Holy Basil along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel, dalteparin, ticlopidine enoxaparin, heparin, and warfarin. Here is a link that will let you know some dangers when mixing with other medications. You can also talk with your doctor.