THE NEW NEW AGE
Queen of Herbs, Incomparable One, Sacred Feminine Medicine — holy basil is a premier adaptogenic herb designed by Nature to nourish both body and spirit.
Revered for millennia for its therapeutic prowess, there are few better places on our farm to commune with the Divine Feminine than among the violet blossoms of holy basil. Known in Hindi as tulsi, holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum sanctum L.) has long been cherished for its ability to regulate hormones such as cortisol, promoting an anti-stress, balancing influence on the body and mind.
Holy basil is an aromatic flowering herb in the Lamiaceae plant family. Native to the Indian subcontinent and known to thrive in humid and tropical climates, holy basil is described as an “elixir of life” for its use as a tonic for a range of ailments.
Despite its use for over 5,000 years in both medicinal and spiritual practices, western science is only just beginning to tap into the potential of holy basil. Emerging research suggests that holy basil acts as a natural protector of organs and tissues, and defends against chemical stress caused by industrial pollutants, heavy metals, as well as stress from prolonged physical exertion.
Sacred Roots of Holy Basil
Ancient texts identify holy basil (known as Tulsi, or “Incomparable One”) as the earthly incarnation of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and generosity. Tulsi is also viewed as a living gateway between heaven and earth and regarded as the manifestation of the divine within the plant kingdom.
In Hindu mythology, holy basil is ceremonially married to Lord Vishnu on the 11th bright day of the month of Karttika. This festival lasts five days and concludes in mid-October. Called the 'Tulsi Vivaha', this ritual inaugurates the annual marriage season in India.
Another legend relates Tulsi to the churning of the cosmic ocean by the gods and demons. At the end of the churning, Dhanvantari, the physician to the gods, rose from the ocean with the elixir of immortality and offered it to the gods. The Hindu god Vishnu shed happy tears for the gift, which then fell into the elixir and sprouted the Tulsi plant.
What are the Benefits of Holy Basil?
As the Queen of Herbs, holy basil promotes peaceful ascension through its work as an adaptogen. Adaptogens are substances found in plants that work to boost the body’s resilience in dealing with physical and emotional stress. Because stress has wide-ranging effects on the body, holy basil may help to “address the psychological, physiological, immunological, and metabolic stresses of modern living.”
Reduce stress and anxiety
As an adaptogen, holy basil has been shown to normalize the stress response in the body, meaning that, over time, the body becomes more stable and peaceful. A well-researched benefit of holy basil is its ability to naturally balance hormone levels (such as cortisol) and to lower symptoms of anxiety.
According to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, holy basil leaves have antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties similar to certain antidepressant drugs, while another study found that holy basil extract consumed every day resulted in decreased feelings of anxiety and stress as well as an increase in sociability.
To use holy basil for anxiety, try taking our holy basil leaf extract twice daily after meals to help manage symptoms.
Stabilize blood sugar levels
If you’re looking to stay mindful about your blood glucose levels, holy basil has been shown to effectively lower blood sugar levels and assist with insulin sensitivity. In fact, a randomized placebo-controlled, single-blind trial of holy basil leaves concluded that it may be a beneficial treatment for people with non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
Blood sugar is also directly related to holy basil’s ability to help the body deal with stress: balanced blood sugar leads to a balanced mood, and when your mood is steady, it's easier to deal with stress.
Holy basil is an adaptogen with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which means it could help ease a range of inflammation or joint pain conditions, from arthritis and fibromyalgia to headaches. In fact, studies concluded that holy basil may include substances that, either alone or with other chemicals, inhibit inflammation.
Practitioners of Ayurveda use holy basil as a natural headache remedy: research suggests this is due not only to holy basil’s ability to fight inflammation, but also to help with sinus pressure and muscular tension. To bring you relief from your headache symptoms, try brewing a cup of holy basil tea.
Holy basil has also been shown to be high in vitamin K, which plays an important role in your bone density, digestive health, and brain function. In fact, one cup of holy basil leaves has more than your daily recommended value of vitamin K, making it a perfect addition if you’re looking to increase your vitamin K uptake.
As an antioxidant, holy basil may also help with brain health. A small study found that adults who took holy basil regularly for 15 days experienced a boost in cognitive function compared to those who were given a placebo. Further, studies have found that holy basil has favourable clinical effects on neurocognitive disorders such as mood disorders or Alzheimer’s disease.
Fight skin infections
Finally, holy basil has been found to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties, making it ideal protection against infection. It can help kill bacteria that can cause skin infections, which means it’s a perfect natural remedy for wounds, acne, and other skin irritations.
Extracts made from holy basil leaves have been shown to increase wound breaking strength, healing time, and contraction, and it’s believed to benefit and treat skin infections both internally and externally.
For use topically, try our Midsummer Nectar Face Oil which features holy basil and other healing herbs infused into a nutritive, non-comedogenic blend of organic jojoba, coconut and evening primrose oils.
How to use Holy Basil
As with most adaptogens, holy basil works best if consumed regularly over time. Whether you choose to have it as a tea, capsule, or tincture, aim for a dosage of about 300 milligrams.
Holy Basil can be used in a variety of culinary applications, such as a seasoning spice, flavouring for infused vinegar, herbal beers, kombucha, ferments, and much more.
To easily incorporate holy basil into your daily routine, try herbal tea.
Holy basil has been cherished for millennia for its ability to regulate hormones, promote an anti-stress, balancing influence on the body and mind. When regularly consumed, holy basil can help defend, stabilize, and uplift you on your interconnected and sacred adventure with Mother Earth.
There are no known negative side effects of holy basil, however, if you’re looking for a compliment to an ongoing medical ailment, or if you are pregnant or nursing, it’s always a good idea to talk to your health practitioner to ensure that any herbs will not interact with any other herbs, supplements, or medications you currently take.