Health Benefits of Holy Basil: Ayurveda's "Sacred Herb"Reading Time: 5 minutes
Tulsi or Holy Basil is amongst the most highly revered of the known therapeutic shrubbery for its ability to elevate the mind, heal the body, and uplift the soul. This enchanting herb, also known as Ocimum sanctum, is an important part of the repertoire of India’s traditional system of medicine, known as Ayurveda.
Holy Basil boasts cherished status as one of the world’s most sacred herbs because it possesses what many traditional healers consider to be near-miraculous healing potential − hence why it’s earned esteemed titles including “The Elixir of Life” and “Mother Medicine of Nature.”
In Ayurveda specifically, Tulsi is classified as a “rasayana,” delineating its MVP (most valuable player) status in the realm of adaptogenic herbs. Similarly, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Tulsi is regarded as a “Shen tonic,” a designation that suggests it possesses an almost inherently divine essence. A healing gift straight from the heart God, so to speak.
What seems to set Holy Basil apart is the fact that it encapsulates each of the three elements that embody holistic health − mind, body, and soul.
Even in contemporary functional medicine, Holy Basil is recognized as having what some might describe as miracle-esque properties. Its other name, Tulsi, actually translates as “incomparable one,” and the plant is considered to be sacred everywhere that it’s grown.
From calming the mind and relieving stress to boosting immunity and helping to quell inflammation, Tulsi outperforms many other therapeutic herbs. One reason is that it works holistically at the systemic level to normalize and balance the entirety of the human form, as opposed to just one or a few individual parts.
The Physical Healing Power of Holy Basil
The traditional Indian way to use Holy Basil involves brewing it as a tea or taking it as a tincture to treat colds and influenza. It’s used to help break up mucus and phlegm while cleansing the respiratory tract, lungs, and nasal passages of toxins, and it can even be added to baths for the same purposes.
Holy Basil taken orally is also helpful in overcoming digestive distress. It’s been shown to not only help improve nutrient absorption and boost mucus production inside the stomach, but also help unwind all that nervous stress that many people carry around with them inside their guts.
Also remarkable is the pronounced restorative effect that Holy Basil has on the central nervous system. Regular use of the herb is said to strengthen nerve tissue and improve brain neurochemistry, which in turn leads to better memory and improved mental clarity. Holy Basil’s nerve-calming properties are likewise beneficial in helping to relieve bodily stress.
Tulsi Helps Protect Against Radiation
With regards to the human genome, Holy Basil also shows radio-protective benefits in that it helps to shield the body against the DNA-damaging effects of ionizing radiation.
Cumulative exposure to radioactive elements from things like mobile phones, wireless routers, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, and other sources can cause prolonged damage to cells, which absorb and store it as inflammation.
Holy Basil is also considered to be a powerful prophylactic (life-extending) herb. Among its many researched benefits in the longevity department are stress reduction, cholesterol modulation, blood sugar balance, and liver protection.
It works even better when combined with other plants and herbs of a similar nature such as chamomile and rose. This concept is what’s known as nutritional or therapeutic synergy, or the combining of multiple substances to produce a more pronounced effect.
Can Holy Basil Address “Mind-Spirit” Causes of Disease?
As you can probably imagine, anything that helps soothe the body by gently alleviating pain, calming the nerves, and melting away stress as Holy Basil does is sure to have a positive impact on one’s mental state as well. The body and mind are intimately connected, after all, as is the spirit or soul. Holy Basil’s effects on all three are profound.
Recognizing that the herb helps restore the central nervous system and keep it in balance, many believe that Holy Basil also possesses curative properties when it comes to addressing the so-called “Mind-Spirit” causes of disease. This is the unhealthy thought and belief patterns that sometimes manifest as physical ailments.
By helping to essentially restore peace of mind, Holy Basil is traditionally used to get to the root of a Mind-Spirit illness and nip it in the bud in a way that pharmaceuticals and other methods often can’t.
As mentioned above the Chinese consider Holy Basil to be a Shen tonic with a divine nature. This concept centers around the idea that Holy Basil is a bio-energetic field harmonizer.
This basically means that it helps normalize the various subtle electromagnetic fields throughout our bodies and minds that govern how we function physically. Maintaining this balance is an important part of what it means to be healthy.
How to Grow and Use Holy Basil
So how does one use Holy Basil? If you’re all about fresh, you can actually pick the leaves right off the live plant and eat them with your salad or another dish. You can also consume them all by themselves, with a typical serving ranging between 3-15 leaves.
Growing the plant at home is actually quite simple as well, especially if you’re already familiar with how to grow normal basil − make sure the soil is moist and feel free to expose the plant to either full sun or partial shade.
If tea is more your style, you can derive many of Holy Basil’s healing benefits by steeping between 1-3 bags of the dried herb in water. Some experts recommend heating water to just below a full boil to preserve as many of the plant’s active constituents as possible.
You can also take the fresh leaves and flowering tops of the plant and turn them into tinctures or infused oils by adding the raw plant material to a glass jar and soaking it in either 80-proof vodka or pure vegetable glycerine for four-to-six weeks, shaking or stirring the mixture regularly. When complete, strain the liquid through an unbleached cheesecloth and use as needed.
To ensure that you’re getting the most potently bioavailable extracts, be sure to choose only wild-harvested, biodynamic, or certified organic varieties sold by companies that source their raw materials in an ethical and responsible way.
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Holy Basil, or Tulsi, is an important herb in traditional Ayurveda, and outperforms many other therapeutic herbs.
Tulsi encapsulates each of the three elements that embody holistic health − mind, body, and soul.
Regular use is said to strengthen nerve tissue and improve brain neurochemistry.
Holy Basil is considered a powerful prophylactic herb.
Holy Basil is traditionally used to treat Mind-Spirit illness in a way that pharmaceuticals can’t.
Growing Tulsi at home is simple and easy.