Health Benefits of Holy Basil and How to Use It


Closely related to the culinary herb sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum), holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) is a plant with a rich history of use as a healing herb. Because this venerable herb has so many applications, it has become one of my favorites. I often include holy basil in adaptogenic tonics, and also find it useful for specific conditions. Holy basil is sometimes called "hot basil" because of its peppery taste. Chemicals in holy basil are thought to decrease pain and swelling. They also might lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Holy basil oil might act as an antioxidant.

Don't confuse holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) with basil (Ocimum basilicum), which is very commonly used in cooking.

From the leaves to the seed, holy basil is considered a tonic for the body, mind, and spirit. Different parts of the plant are recommended for treating different conditions:

Use its fresh flowers for bronchitis.

Use the leaves and seeds, with black pepper, for malaria.

Use the whole plant for diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Use the pill and ointment form for eczema.

Use an alcohol extract for stomach ulcersΒ and eye diseases.

Use an essential oil made from the leaves for insect bites.

The therapeutic activities and effects of holy basil include:

(a) Decreases incidence of gastric ulcer.

(b) Increases endurance.

(c) Lowers the stress-induced release of adrenal hormones, and assists in the normalization of cortisol.

(d) Enhances endocrine function, increases physical performance.

(e) Reduces oxidative stress, modulates inflammation (COX-2 inhibition).

(f) Protects the liver.

(g) Promotes eye health, anticatarrh.

(h) Normalizes blood pressure.

(i) Nourishes the cardiovascular system, inhibits platelet aggregation/ profound antiatherogenic effect, normalizes lipids.

(j) Balances blood sugar and insulin metabolism.

(k) Anticancer and antioxidative: protects against radiation and chemotherapy-induced damage.

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LIZZYhealthmedia (via Opera
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