8 Benefits of Holy Basil
Holy Basil (or Tulsi) is originally from India and is used in Ayurvedic medicine. It has long been considered a sacred plant by the Hindus and is often planted around shrines. The Hindu name, Tulsi, means the “the incomparable one.” Medicine from this plant is made from the leaves, stems, and seeds. And with a name like that it’s not surprising that this herb has is used for a variety of benefits.
Let’s take a look at 8 of Tulsi’s incredible benefits:
Stress is number one on the list for a reason. We all deal with it and it is a major risk factor for diseases such as depression, hypertension, and heart disease. Luckily, Tulsi has been shown to relax the mind which makes it easier to release it. Actually, in a recent study, researchers subjected albino rats to extreme noise levels, an act that altered their brain chemistry. However, Tulsi leaf extract had a normalizing effect on the neurotransmitter levels that had changed due to the noise stress. In addition, Holy Basil leaves are regarded as an ‘adaptogen’ or anti-stress agent. Recent studies have shown that the leaves afford significant protection against stress. Chewing just 15 leaves a day can help lower cortisol levels.
Helps Treat Fever
In India, it’s common to reduce fever by steeping the leaves in hot water. Animal studies have found that consuming Tulsi leaf extract or tea can even reduce fever caused by typhoid. If you are running a high fever, some Tulsi may help you get back on your feet again.
Helps Respiratory Disorders
Studies show holy basil can be useful in the treatment of a respiratory system disorder. Holy Basil contains eugenol that has antiviral properties that help provide relief from respiratory ailments like a blocked nose, allergic bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory disorders.
Decreases Blood Sugar
According to research, tulsi leaves have the ability to significantly lower blood glucose. Furthermore, they have antioxidant properties that hunt free radicals, contributing to its antidiabetic effect.
Prevents Gastric Ulcers
Gastric ulcers are actually incredibly common. They can be caused by bile salts, stomach acid, and the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), often used to help with pain and inflammation, can also lead to ulcers. Research has found that both the leaves and the seeds of the tulsi plant can actually protect your stomach lining from becoming ulcerated. A study which gave rats NSAIDs followed by a holy basil leaf extract found that the holy basil protected the body’s antioxidant enzymes and prevented gastric tissue injury.7 If you’re prone to ulcers, a steeping cup of holy basil tea may be the key to preventing stomach issues.
Out immune system is the defense against all the germs we come into contact with everyday that damage our health. Our system recognizes and then destroys these germs, which in turn protects us from infection. Tulsi is the perfect right hand man to support your hard-working immune system. Tulsi leaves have been shown to enhance immunity when consumed on an empty stomach. Researchers have even tested this traditional remedy and found that T-helper cell level increased after administration of a tulsi leaf extract. These T-helper cells are responsible for activating the immune system’s secretions of interferon and interleukin-4, two substances that strengthen the body against disease.9
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke – this is where tulsi comes in! It has actually been found to significantly lower total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. At the same time, it also can increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol and the amount of fat excreted through stool. Tulsi isn’t a cure all, so remember a healthy diet and regular exercise are also key to controlling cholesterol levels.12
Tulsi has some amazing essential oils which have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral effects. They contain beneficial substances like eugenol, caryophyllene, carvacrol, and methyl eugenol; these compounds are thought to be responsible for tulsi’s microbe-fighting properties. As a result, tulsi has the ability to combat fungi from the Aspergillus species, a microorganism that can cause allergic reactions and lung infections. On top of all that, It can also treat thrush and yeast infections caused by the Candida species.