Holy basil, or tulsi, is an ayurvedic herb from India. It is an ancient medicine that has risen in popularity in the last few years in the realm of modern alternative medicine. It has been used to treat many conditions, from stress to blood sugar control.
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Holy basil has been used as a medicinal and culinary herb in India for more than 5,000 years. It is revered in the Hindu community for its health benefits and its spiritual properties.
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As well as being a delicious culinary herb used in many dishes for its distinct pungent flavor similar to a combination of traditional basil and oregano, Holy Basil has a wide range of medicinal benefits too.
Its adaptogenic qualities make it perfect for treating the negative effects of stress. It enlivens the spirit, allowing a sense of well being.
Holy Basil lowers the stress hormone cortisol, which tends to make fat gather around the abdominal region.
Its active compounds are antibacterial and antiviral, which help with the cold and flu season by inhibiting the growth of viruses and bacteria.
It counteracts oxidative stress and combats free radicals, making it important for overall health and anti-aging benefits.
Its antioxidant benefits go together with its ability to be an anti-inflammatory, which can be useful for arthritis and any swelling of the joints.
Forms and Dosage
Tulsi comes in a variety of forms from the fresh herb to various extracts.
More difficult to find than the other forms, the fresh herb is mostly found at specialty garden centers and you can grow yourself. There is no recommended dosage for the fresh herb as it is difficult to consume copious amounts.
The dried version is easy to find and is usually put into tea bags to be steeped and drunk. For the dried herb, it is usually recommended that around 2g twice daily should be drunk for stress reduction and antioxidant benefits.
Probably the most common form of Holy Basil is a dry extract; it can be found in various strengths and quality. Around 300mg to 600mg is the recommended dosage on most products, but follow the directions on the label.
Made by macerating the herb usually in a base of alcohol, the liquid extract is great for vegetarians and those who cannot swallow pills. The dosage is generally 30 drops, but it depends on the brand.
The Co2 extracts are known as a "super-critical extract." Makers of these forms say that more compounds that are beneficial can be extracted using carbon dioxide at a low temperature, protecting it from degeneration.
Caution should be taken if you are pregnant or nursing in which case supplementation should be consulted through your doctor. If you have low blood pressure or low blood sugar, take the supplement with food as it lowers blood sugar and can make a person feel light headed and weak. Overall, it is a safe herb and can be taken regularly without any negative side effects. If you have any questions or concerns, check with your doctor or naturopath.