Though related to the basil we use in cooking, Holy Basil has different medicinal properties. Ocimum tenuiflorum (also known as Ocimum sanctum, tulsi or holy basil) is a medicinal plant with a long history of traditional use in India and in Ayurvedic medicine. Traditionally, holy basil was used to treat everything from malaria, diarrhea, and dysentery, to skin diseases, joint inflammation, painful eye diseases, chronic fever and insect bites. This is likely due to Holy basil’s numerous active constituents including tannins, phenolic compounds and flavonoids which are responsible for its antifungal, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, antispasmodic, analgesic, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, and cellular protective activities.
Today, Holy basil is mainly used as an adaptogen as it has been reported to induce relaxation, promote a feeling of calm and reduce stress and moodiness. It has also been shown to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol in diabetic subjects, and animal studies have shown reductions in cortisol, the stress hormone.
Holy Basil is an excellent option for those looking for an herbal anti-stress supplement with additional blood sugar balancing and cardiovascular benefits.