Holy Basil – Image Courtesy: Shadowfall
Holy Basil is an ancient herb that is known as ‘Tulsi’ in its homeland of India. This herb’s name literally means “matchless” and its benefits have been documented from around 3000 years ago and are mentioned in the classic Indian Ayurvedic text that deals with natural healing. In modern times, there has been a significant amount of research on holy basil’s benefits.
Holy basil was originally used to combat upper respiratory ailments – but nowadays we are reaping its stress relieving benefits. It can boost our ability to maintain homeostasis, including maintaining a balance between acidity and alkalinity, and producing a healthy response to stressful situations.
Addressing the Core of Our Stress
What It Does Best
Holy basil is primarily used to combat stress, decrease blood sugar and improve digestion. The herb appears to work as an adaptogen–in other words, it helps the body adapt to stress in a healthy way, supports immune function and bolsters resistance against disease.
By working to improve our digestion, holy basil prepares us to handle stressful situations with more clarity. Often, it isn’t just one specific occurrence that skyrockets our stress levels – it’s a pile-up of events and emotions that go un-cared-for, that leave us on edge. When we continue to bear with worry, fear and anxiety, many of us will experience physical pain, potential ulcers and more. One reason why picking up the pieces from an over-stressed experience can seem impossible is because our natural defenses are down.
Stress is physical, biological and chemical as much as mental and emotional. When we deal with it naturally, we often get better long term results with little or no side effects.
The Tulsi Plant
Many households in India grow their own Tulsi plants. Since it has been considered as an incarnation of the goddess Tulsi in Hindu mythology, it is accorded great reverence – hence the title ‘Holy Basil’. It is possible to grow it in your own home in a clean area of your garden or in a pot by planting the seeds a half inch below the surface in rich potting soil. The seeds will sprout in a couple of weeks and soon after the plants will offer you the leaves and you can start enjoying the great benefits of this ancient herb.
Other Uses for this Magical Herb
… fever, inflammation, malaria, dysentery, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, bronchitis, bronchial asthma, arthritis, insect bites, skin conditions and painful eye diseases.
This magical herb may be taken by brewing its dried leaves in a cup of tea; it provides the tea with a nice aroma too. Also, fresh leaves of holy basil can simply be chewed or its liquid extract may be consumed in a capsule form which should be available at your natural health store.
Although generally considered safe, pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant should consult their doctor before consuming this herb.
Gina Laverde is a Chicago-based writer, researcher and health coach whose expertise in natural health stems from her experiences recovering her son from autism.