Holy Basil, ( Ocimum sanctum ) “the incomparable one”

Holy basilOcimum sanctum / Ocimum tenuiflorum, has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for thousands of years in India and S.E. Asia.  Its distinct cooling mellow “peppery” flavor distinguishes it from other varieties of basil.  The aroma is a blend of peppermint, cloves, licorice and lemon.  This flavor and aroma make holy basil an essential ingredient for Thai cooking.  In addition to its culinary use, holy basil is a medicinal herb in the category known as “adaptogens.”

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Health Benefits 

  • Soothes physical, mental and emotional stress.
  • Balance adrenaline, cortisol and corticostrone stress hormone levels.
  • Enhance mental clarity
  • Weight Loss
  • Skin Health
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-viral
  • Respiratory Soother
  • Prevent Diabetes
  • Lower Bad Cholesteral
  • Detoxifying Agent
  • Anti-Aging effects
  • Contains  Vitamins A and C

Interesting Facts

  •  The anti-microbial essential oils contained in holy basil are efficacious in the prevention and cure of a wide range of infections ranging from malaria, typhoid, flu and acne.
  • The Hindu name for holy basil is “Tulsi” which means “the incomparable one.” Tulsi holds a special status in Hindu mythology where it is considered sacred.
  •  Today clinical research and scientific studies are verifying many of the medical claims of the ancient masters.
  • Aromatic compounds found in holy basil (particularly eugenol) combat stress and enhance mental clarity.  Additionally triterpenoic acid and caryophyllene (a primary terpene) found in holy basil enhance the body’s adaptive stress response.
  • Daily supplementation of holy basil has been shown to significantly reduce corticosterone levels helping the body to handle stress, elevate mood, and improve mental clarity.

In-Depth Look

Adaptogens are the precious gemstones of botanical medicine.  Ancient traditions gave them spiritual significance and made amazing claims of supernormal healing abilities based on their consistent extraordinary results.

The wide range and depth of healing abilities of adaptogens is due to their ability to promote homeostasis (balance) throughout the body.

Chronic stress contributes to a wide spectrum of health problems.  Holy basil enhances the body’s ability to function optimally in the face of physical, mental and emotional stress.  The  primary adaptogenic metabolic pathway taken by holy basil is to balance adrenaline, cortisol and corticostrone stress hormone levels.  While a certain level of stress is healthy, chronic (on-gong) stress is damaging and requires therapeutic intervention.

Holy basil contributes significantly to maintaining levels of stress hormones  such as cortisol within normal (healthy) parameters thereby reducing the damaging effects of chronic stress on many aspects of your health and well-being.

More Information

From Wikipedia:

Ocimum tenuiflorum (synonym Ocimum sanctum), commonly known as holy basiltulasi (sometimes spelled thulasi) or tulsi, is an aromatic perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and widespread as a cultivated plant throughout the Southeast Asiantropics.

Tulasi is cultivated for religious and supposed traditional medicine purposes, and for its essential oil. It is widely used as a herbal tea, commonly used in Ayurveda, and has a place within the Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving holy basil plants or leaves.

The variety of Ocimum tenuiflorum used in Thai cuisine is referred to as Thai holy basil (Thai: กะเพราkaphrao); it is not to be confused with Thai basil, which is a variety of Ocimum basilicum.


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