Holy Basil Leaf Health BenefitsHoly basil leaf has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years to promote wellbeing and longevity. In addition, it is used to address a variety of health imbalances. Here are just a few of the reasons why this plant is so powerful.
Holy Basil Leaf for AnxietyResearchers who have studied the effects of holy basil leaf on anxiety have consistently found that it is genuinely helpful. This is partially because holy basil leaf is an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a botanical that improves your body’s ability to handle and resist the effects of stress. Adaptogens work to balance out cortisol and support your adrenals. Beyond helping with mental stressors, adaptogens are also beneficial when it comes to easing physical stress. When you’re exposed to extreme demands or otherwise stressful conditions, your body is forced to respond. Adaptogens boost strength and endurance and help balance your body chemistry so that you can better endure physical stress.
Secondary BenefitsHoly basil leaf does more than soothe anxiety and jangled nerves. Anxiety and stress, especially when chronic, can precipitate a host of other health issues. Reducing stress and anxiety can truly address the root cause of many health imbalances. And when you are less stressed, your overall vitality and wellbeing will get a big boost over time! Specifically, studies have shown that holy basil leaf when administered for anxiety can improve memory, correct sexual dysfunction, improve sleep, and reduce fatigue. Additionally, studies have shown that holy basil leaf has an antidepressant effect similar to that of major medications. In Ayurveda, holy basil is used for asthma, cough, colds, sinus congestion, bronchitis, headaches, stress, sore throat, skin issues, and heart disorders (2). This is by no means an exhaustive list! Holy basil is a versatile plant ally indeed. These are just some of the many holy basil leaf uses in Ayurveda.
Respiratory and Heart SupportAs mentioned above, holy basil is used for both respiratory ailments and to support heart health. In fact, Ayurvedic practitioner and author Vishnu Dass (2013) mentions that holy basil can be used to release grief and sadness lodged in the pericardium and lungs (2). Furthermore, holy basil is helpful for clearing excess phlegm from the respiratory tract. And, it can serve as a vasodilator and heart tonic (2).
Incomparable OneHoly basil is often used for its herbal properties, and is equally revered for its spiritual significance. Tulsi tea (holy basil tea) is often called "liquid yoga" because of its ability to calm and harmonize the body, mind, and spirit. Tulsi/holy basil is also honored as a sacred plant in Hinduism. Hence, one of its nicknames, "incomparable one."
Essential Facts about Holy Basil LeafNames
- Botanical: Ocimum tenuiflorum
- Sanskrit & Hindi: Tulsi is derived from a Sanskrit word, which means "matchless one"
- English: Indian Basil, Holy Basil
- Other: The Incomparable One, Mother Medicine of Nature, and Liquid Yoga
- Rasa (taste): Pungent, bitter
- Guna (qualities): Light, dry, piercing
- Virya (action): Warming
- Vipaka (post-digestive effects): Pungent
- Dosha (constitution): Pacifies Vata and Kapha