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Tulsi, or Holy Basil

Herbal Spotlight:
Tulsi. Also known as Holy Basil


Let’s take a look at Tulsi, otherwise known as Holy Basil, “The Incomparable One”. It is a sacred Indian plant with use tracking all the way back to 1500 BC in the Rig Veda, and even further back to Charaka Samhita, written around 1000 BC. Holy basil is a member of the mint family and is closely related to sweet basil, which is primarily used for culinary use. [1]

In ancient Ayurvedic medicine it is used for treating colds, fevers, digestive complaints, ulcers, and bronchitis. According to Ayurveda, it is a “kapha reducing herb supporting the healthy expectoration of mucus from the lungs and respiratory tract as well as any excess mucus in the digestive tract”. [2]

Today it is regarded as an adaptogenic herb, and can be found both as a supplement and as a tea. [3]

An adaptogen like Holy Basil helps to enhance the body’s natural stress response. It doesn’t alter mood, it simply helps the body to function optimally during times of stress (whether that’s running a marathon or dealing with a traffic jam). As such, Holy Basil is one of many adaptogens that can help when it comes to dealing with stress. [4] For example, in the German journal Die Pharmazie (The Pharmacy), Holy Basil was reported to have an effect towards regulating serum cortisol levels. [5]
When brewed into a tea, Holy Basil earns the nickname “Liquid Yoga”. [6]

In addition being an effective adaptogen, Holy Basil is also a surprisingly powerful antioxidant and agent for detoxification. It increases another antioxidant known as glutathione, and enhances the activities of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase and catalase. Plus, it also enhances the activity of liver detoxification enzymes (cytochrome P450) that deactivate toxic chemicals and enable them to be safely excreted by the body. [7] Studies have also discovered it’s remarkable ability to protect otherwise healthy cells from the damaging, toxic effects of radiation and chemotherapy. [8]
Moreover, Holy Basil also offers protection against a plethora of industrial chemicals (butylparaben, carbon tetrachloride, copper sulfate, ethanol), pesticides (rogor, chlorpyrifos, endosulfan, lindane), anti-tubercular and pharmaceutical drugs (acetaminophen, meloxicam, paracetamol, haloperidol), and heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and mercury).  [8]

But Holy Basil isn’t only good as defense- on the offense, it has also been shown to exhibit both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. For instance, one study found that it helps to protect the beneficial microbes in the gut when they were exposed to harmful bacteria and yeast like Candida. [9] The active compound Eugenol (found in Holy Basil, as well as clove oil) was shown to effectively target acne-causing bacteria, according to a team of researchers from Thailand. [10]

Lastly, Holy Basil can also help with the management of blood sugar, with an article published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences confirming this effect. [11]

All in all, Holy Basil is another powerful gift from nature with a renowned effect towards helping our body stay balanced during stress in addition to helping it tackle potential pathogens and remove harmful toxins.

While supplementing is definitely doable, the easiest form would be consuming it as a tea. Found in our Golden Sunrise blend, pour a cup and savor the powerful effects of this magnificent herb from the east.



[4] Bhargava KP, Singh N. Anti-stress activity of Ocimum sanctum Linn. Indian J Med Res. 1981 March;73:443-451.
[5] Gholap S, et al. Hypoglycaemic effects of some plant extracts are possibly mediated through inhibition in corticosteroid concentration. Pharmazie 2004; 59 (11):876-8.
[10] Vivoch J, et al. Evaluation of in vitro antimicrobial activity of Thai basil oils and their micro-emulsion formulas against Propionibacterium acnes. Int Journal of Cosmet Sci 2006; 28(2): 125-33
[11] Khan V, et al. A pharmacological appraisal of medicinal plants with antidiabetic potential. J Pharm Bioallied Sci 2012; 4(1):27-42.


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  • Golden Sunrise is a delicious soothing way to get the benefits of this herb! ?


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