Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) or tulsi is an aromatic plant from the family Lamiaceae.This herb owes its origin in India where it is used for religious and medicinal purposes. There are numerous health benefits associated with this herb.
The health benefits of holy basil, include oral care, relief from respiratory disorders. As well as treatment of fever, asthma, lung disorders, heart diseases and stress.
Even going close to a Tulsi plant alone can protect you from many infections. A few leaves dropped in drinking water or foods can purify it and can kill germs within it as well. Even smelling it or keeping it planted in a pot indoors can protect the whole family from infections, coughs, colds and other viral infections.
Holy basil is a powerful antioxidant with demonstrated antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. In Ayurvedic medicine, holy basil has been used to treat a variety of conditions – everything from the common cold to bronchitis to fever to certain digestive complaints, including ulcers.
Although many of these treatments are still unproven by conventional testing, modern science is now taking a closer look at this fascinating herb. In the past decade, a number of scientific studies have focused on the effects of holy basil. Some investigations have shown great promise – suggesting holy basil may indeed prove effective in those customary uses. But science has even looked beyond the traditional scope, studying the herb for its therapeutic potential in cancer. Specifically as an adjuvant to radiation therapy, and even for its stabilizing effects in diabetes.
The most compelling data, however, suggests that holy basil possesses its greatest potential in the areas of stress relief and relaxation. And in the fast paced world in which we live, these findings may prove to be extremely significant.
Combat stress (Holy Basil)
Holy basil functions as an adaptogen, enhancing the body’s natural response to physical and emotional stress. Adaptogenic herbs do not alter mood, but rather, they help the body function optimally during times of stress.
Multiple scientific studies examining this property of Ocimum sanctum have found that supplementation with various extracts of holy basil decrease stress hormone levels, corticosterone in particular.
Lower levels of corticosterone are associated with improved mental clarity and memory, and long-term, can reduce the risk of age-related mental disorders.
Holy basil leaves are a natural source of many important compounds that provide a wide variety of health benefits.
Eugenol and caryophyllene are aromatic compounds, so named because of their pleasing fragrance or “aroma”. These compounds are present in many plants, including holy basil. And have long been used in essential oils because their fragrant scent is said to elevate both mood and spirit. Scientific studies have shown that eugenol, in particular, helps to combat stress and enhance mental clarity. Research has also shown that the triterpenoic acids isolated from holy basil effectively improve the body’s response to stress.
Holy basil is very beneficial in the treatment of asthma, since it relieves congestion and facilitates smoother breathing. The phytonutrients and essential oils, along with the other minerals in it, help cure some of the underlying causes of asthma as well.
The compounds like vitamin-C, Camphene, Eugenol and Cineole that are present in the essential oils of holy basil do not only cure the infections in the lungs, but also cure congestion of the lungs. Furthermore, they are found to be effective in healing the damages caused to the lungs due to smoking, tuberculosis, and lung cancer. It also helps to cure tuberculosis due to its antibiotic properties.
Thanks to a potent anti-oxidant component in holy basil, the level of bad fats are reduced. Thereby averting the consequences of various cardiovascular conditions such as stroke.
Heart Diseases: Holy Basil contains vitamin-C and other antioxidants such as eugenol, which protect the heart from the harmful effects of free radicals. Additionally, eugenol is very beneficial in reducing the cholesterol levels within the blood.
Bacterial infections can complicate even the smallest of wounds. Staph infections are a growing problem across the globe. Research suggests that holy basil may be a powerful antibiotic against these debilitating and deadly bacteria.
Vitamin-C, A, phytonutrients and the essential oils in Holy Basil are excellent antioxidants and protect the body from nearly all the damage caused by free radicals in the body, which are hazardous byproducts of cellular metabolism that are responsible for a wide swath of diseases, including cancer. In the traditional Indian medicine system called Ayurveda. It is considered as a tonic to retain youth and avoid premature aging.