Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
Holy basil, also known as tulsi, is an herb native to Southeast Asia that has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. It is a member of the mint family and is known for its strong aroma and flavor. Holy basil has numerous health benefits, including stress reduction, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-modulating effects.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Holy basil has adaptogenic properties that may help to reduce stress and anxiety. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that taking holy basil extract for six weeks significantly reduced anxiety and stress levels in people with generalized anxiety disorder (1).
Lowers blood sugar levels
Holy basil may help to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. In a randomized controlled trial, taking holy basil leaf powder for 30 days resulted in significant reductions in fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels compared to a placebo group (2).
Holy basil contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. In one study, holy basil extract was shown to reduce inflammation in the lungs of mice with asthma (3). Another study found that taking holy basil extract for six weeks helped to reduce markers of inflammation in people with type 2 diabetes (4).
Holy basil has been traditionally used to treat various infections. Studies have found that holy basil extract has antimicrobial properties against bacteria, viruses, and fungi (5, 6).
Improves cognitive function
Holy basil may help to improve cognitive function and memory. In one study, healthy older adults who took holy basil extract for 15 days showed significant improvements in cognitive function and short-term memory compared to a placebo group (7).