Holy basil is a potent green leafy plant that is being used as a treatment for many conditions for centuries. From its leaves to its seeds, holy basil is considered a tonic for the mind, body, and spirit.
This herb acts as an adaptogen, a natural substance that helps our body adapt to stress and promotes mental balance. Results of a study showed that the plant possess pharmacological properties that can help our mind cope with many types of stress – physical, emotional, infectious or chemical stress (1).
So, when we are having a stressed full day, taking holy basil can actually help our body to better adapt to the stress we are experiencing, thus helping us function as optimally as possible during that stressful time (2).
In one study, experts have found that people who took 500 milligrams (mg) of holy basil extract each day felt less stressed, anxious, and depressed while feeling more social (3).
A systematic review has proven tulsi (holy basil) ingestion to be effective in the treatment of psychological stress (4).
Since holy basil has the ability to calm the nervous system, it may help with symptoms associated with depression, depressive moods, or insomnia (5).
For this benefit, it is recommended to drink holy basil as tea using the leaves. This caffeine-free beverage can be consumed daily. It promotes relaxation and a sense of well-being. Simply take a few dried holy basil leaves, or use dried leaf powder and put a teaspoon of the powder in a cup of boiling water. Let steep for 5-6 minutes. Strain the tea. We may opt to add a slice of fresh lemon or a dash of honey for additional taste and benefit. Sip and enjoy.
Its leaves can also be used in cooking as a flavoring. It has spicy and bitter, but some people still enjoy eating holy basil raw.
Other Health Benefits of Holy Basil
A 2017 systematic review revealed that consuming tulsi [holy basil] on a daily basis may be an effective lifestyle measure to address many modern chronic diseases (6).
Holy basil can lower both blood glucose and cholesterol levels. In rats, experts found that holy basil can decrease blood sugar by 26% after 30 days. Similarly, studies with human participants suggest that holy basil may be helpful in easing symptoms for people with type 2 diabetes (7).
It has infection-fighting properties, thus may help in fighting off a fever. Its leaves are thought to act as antibiotic, germicidal, and disinfectant agents (8).
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