Holy Basil – Tulsi
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Holy basil, also called tulsi or tulasi, is a flowering plant of the mint family grown for its aromatic leaves. Holy basil is not the same as the common green cooking herb found in the produce aisle at the grocery store.
Holy basil is widely used in Ayurvedic and folk medicine, often as an herbal tea for a variety of ailments, and is considered sacred in Hinduism. Interestingly, the Hindus worship holy basil; the plant is considered the “Mother Medicine of Nature.” It’s been revered since ancient times as an herb that can promote a healthy body, mind, and spirit. The sacred plant is often planted around Hindu shrines. The name tulsi means “the incomparable one.”
But in Western medicine holy basil is perhaps most valued as an adaptogen (a substance that helps the body adapt to stress). The plant has been used to combat the negative effects of stress in the body, maintain stable blood sugar levels, and promote longevity.
All parts of the holy basil plant act as an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a natural substance that helps your body adapt to stress and promotes mental balance.
The concept of an adaptogen is a holistic approach. But scientific research shows that holy basil has pharmacological properties to help your mind cope with many types of stress.
The source of your stress can be:
- In the case of physical stress, holy basil is known to increase endurance in animals.
Human and animal studies saw reduced:
- enhanced metabolism
- improved swimming time
- less tissue damage
- lower stress levels in loud environments
- sexual problems
- sleep problems
According to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, holy basil has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties comparable to diazepam and antidepressant drugs. These studies examined the leaves.
One study found that people who took 500 milligrams (mg) of holy basil extract each day felt less anxious, stressed, and depressed. People also felt more social.
Ayurvedic practitioners recommend drinking holy basil as tea using the leaves. And since it’s caffeine-free, it’s OK and even recommended to drink daily. The act of drinking tea can be ritualistic and as calming as yoga. It fosters clear thoughts, relaxation, and a sense of well-being.
If you are highly stressed we suggest also using another well known Ayurvedic adaptogen, Ashwagandha root powder and we are confident you will feel more calm and less stressed.
You could also mix the Holy Basil tea powder with Hibiscus flowers for a refreshing floral beverage with amazing health benefits.
The safety of holy basil use has not yet been established in people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Holy basil should not be used by people who are trying to conceive because preliminary studies on animals showed that holy basil may cause uterine contractions and negatively impact fertility.
Another animal study showed that holy basil may slow down the rate of normal blood clotting, and it is suggested to stop the use of the herb at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery and two weeks after any type of surgery.
Because holy basil’s adaptogenic properties are known to induce relaxation, people who take drugs that also cause drowsiness should not use holy basil.