Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) is an herb native to India, where it is known as tulsi. and is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an “adaptogen” . An adaptogen is a unique group of herbs which are known for assisting with everything from stress to fatigue, and they help the body to adapt on many levels while building the immune system. The Hindu name for holy basil, Tulsi, means "the incomparable one." Medicine is made from the leaves, stems, and seeds. Holy Basil is sacred in the Hindu religious tradition and is regarded as one of the most important plants used in Ayurvedic medicine. If you go to India, you will see holy basil growing everywhere around Hindu temples. It comes in red and green varieties, both with a strong, pleasant aroma. More clove-like than that of culinary basil, holy basil has been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical conditions including high blood pressure, insomnia, asthma, bronchitis, arthritis and eye disorders. Holy basil is also used for the common cold, flu, diabetes, bronchitis, earache, headache, stomach upset, heart disease, fever, viral hepatitis, malaria, stress, and tuberculosis. It is also used for mercury poisoning, to promote longevity, as a mosquito repellent, and to counteract scorpion bites.
One study, published in 1991 in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology, compared holy basil to Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and found that holy basil was the most potent anti-stress agent of the three. Holy basil is well know as a treatment for reducing both stress and elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and to promote physical and emotional endurance. Using holy basil along with breathing exercises and regular aerobic exercise can help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.
Organic holy basil is now available at Luna's studio at South Congress Massage. Please consult with your health care practitioner before adding new herbs to your diet.