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Herb Spotlight - Holy Basil

Herb Spotlight - Motherwort - Sun God Medicinals

Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)

Family: Lamiaceae

Part Used: Leaf

Flavor/Aroma: Pungent; Sweet

Energetics: Cooling


Herbal Actions: 

Adaptogen, Nervine, Nuerorestorative, Carminative, Immunomodulator, Anti inflammatory, Antioxidant, Nutritive, Antibacterial, Anxiolytic,Thymoleptic

Overview:

Holy Basil, or Tulsi, as its name implies, has been praised for its mood balancing and immune boosting benefits that date back to around 1000 B.C. It is used in religious ceremonies and is often left at altars as a sign of respect. Holy basil is well known for its ability to balance and nourish the nervous system, and uplift even the gloomiest spirits.

Botany:

Holy Basil grows similarly to others in the mint family- low to the ground, with bright green, slightly fuzzy leaves. The stems may have a purplish hue and the aroma of the white and purple flowers are unmistakable- its scent is similar to lemon, clove, and peppermint combined.

Cultivation and Harvesting:

Holy Basil is native to India, and is regularly planted in gardens as an ornamental and medicinal plant. The leaves are best harvested before the flowers begin to fully express, usually in the late spring or early summer months.

Southern Oregon Cultivation:

Holy Basil is a delicious culinary herb that thrives in the Southern Oregon climate when given proper attention and plenty of sun. The fruity flavor and aroma is unlike any other in the plant family, and will instantly uplift any pot of tea or herbal remedy. Holy Basil’s delicate flowers attract local pollinators, especially honey bees!

History and Folklore:

Traditional Ayurvedic Uses: In India, Holy Basil was a symbol of fidelity, spiritual enlightenment, and longevity. It was known to promote a nourished mind and spirit, and to uplift the emotions.It was used to cool tempers and maintain blood sugar levels. Tulsi was often planted outside the home as a sacred symbol of protection, and in other Hindu ceremonies. 

Holy Basil was mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic texts, referring to this herb as the incarnation of a companion of Lord Vishnu- speaking to its tenacious ability to calm the mind, even in the most precarious situations.¹

Modern Applications:

Holy Basil is indicated to balance the nervous system by helping maintain all biochemical levels associated with the stress response. It is used to help maintain circulating blood sugar levels, as a general antioxidant and anti inflammatory, support cognitive function, as a therapy for the treatment of cancer³, and to elevate the spirits. Tulsi is used to remedy stomach upsets, fevers, malaria, colds and influenza, tuberculosis, and various mouth and heart diseases.²  

Uses and Preparations:

Dried Herb Tea Preparation: 

1 Tablespoon of leaf per cup of water.

Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds. 

Tincture: 

2-4 mL up to 4 times per day.

Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.  

Dosage:

It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended dosages are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the dosage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.  

Precautions:

Holy basil might slow blood clotting; taking holy basil along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. We recommend consulting with your practitioner if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, or if you are using any other medications.

References:

  1. Holy basil. (n.d.). www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/holy-basil-krishna/profile 
  2. Pai, M., Mallikarjun, S., Rao, A., Rajesh, G., Shenoy, R. (March 20, 2016). Antimicrobial efficacy of Tulsi leaf (Ocimum sanctum) extract on periodontal pathogens: An in vitro study. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27143825 
  3. Rao, P., Sunitha, V., Saldanha, E. (2013). Ocimum sanctum (Holy Basil of Tulsi) and its phytochemicals in the prevention and treatment of cancer. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23682780

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.