Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, is an Ayurvedic herb that is native to India. Tulsi is a sacred plant in the Hindu religion, and is grown in many Hindu households. Holy Basil symbolizes purity, and is also known for it’s diverse range of healing and wellness benefits, and helps maintain balance within the body. Here are some of the health benefits that have recently been discovered:
Fights Inflammation and Asthma
Holy Basil contains ursolic acid, which combats the production of Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), an enzyme that is released when the body experiences inflammation resulting from stress. Ursolic acid also fights the production of 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LOX), which causes asthma attacks by constricting the bronchioles.
Aids in Cellular Repair and Fights Cancer
Holy Basil acts as antioxidant, and helps repair cells that are damaged by oxidation and radiation (Singh, et al., 2012). Holy Basil also Contains eugenol and other cancer fighting phytochemicals, which inhibit the development and spread of cancer cells (Baliga, et al., 2013).
Combats Depression and Fatigue
Prevents reduction of catecholamine and monoamine oxidase (MAOI), which helps to increase dopamine and 5-hydroxytrpytamine (5-HTP). Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that promotes mental clarity, alertness, and energy. 5-HTP is necessary in order for the body to produce serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that fights depression and anxiety. For those wishing to replace prescription stimulants (Eg. Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse) or SSRI antidepressants (Eg., Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil) with a natural remedy, ask your doctor about Holy Basil.
Decreases Symptoms of Autism and Aggression
Found to be comparable to Phenytoin, a prescription anticonvulsant that is often used off-label to treat aggression in individuals with behavior disorders and autism. Holy Basil helps to combat adrenal stress, which can decrease feelings of panic and anxiety that often lead to aggressive behaviors. The herb has also been found to increase levels of glutathione in the body, an antioxidant that is lacking in many children with autism.
Regulates Sleep and Metabolism
Acts as an adaptogen to regulate cortisol levels and balance cortisol spikes, which helps circadian rhythm return to normal (Shimizu, et al., 2013). When cortisol is balanced, the thyroid and adrenal glands are better able to secrete hormones that regulate sleep and metabolism, which helps the body to use calories and nutrients more efficiently.
Where Can I Get Tulsi?
One of the most convenient ways to consume Tulsi is by brewing the tea. Tea can be added to chia seeds to make delicious chia pudding, or can be enjoyed as chai. The best Tulsi products available are made by Organic India: