Ocimum tenuiflorum, or more commonly known as holy basil or tulsi, is an aromatic plant part of the mint family. It is cultivated throughout the Southeast Asian tropics. This plant grows to be 1 to 2 feet tall and has green or purple, highly aromatic leaves that have slightly ridged edges.
Holy basil, considered an elixir of life, has a deeply rooted place in the Hindu tradition of Vaishnava. This herb has for centuries been used in other parts of the world, like Ancient Greek and Rome, for holistic purposes.
Benefits of Holy Basil
Holy basil is packed with antioxidants, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties; the leaves, stems, and seeds of this plant are used to make medicine.
Holy basil is commonly used to treat symptoms associated with the common cold, the flu, fever, asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, and an upset stomach. It is used as a pain reliever to relieve headaches, back aches, earaches, etc. Other uses of holy basil include the treatment of:
- Heart disease
- Bad breath
- Mercury poisoning
- Snakebite poison
- Night-blindness and sore eyes
- Chicken pox
It is used to help those suffering from stress and anxiety. There is evidence that supports daily use of holy basil reduced stress, anxiety and depression in adults and improved overall sleep.
Holy basil, when applied to the skin, relieves inflammation, pain and swelling, and treats ringworm. It is also used to repel mosquitos.
How to Use Holy Basil
Reap in the benefits by consuming it in tea form. Tulsi tea, as it’s commonly called, is a hot or iced tea that is made the same way as green or black tea. Take a teaspoon of the dried leaves and boil in water for five minutes. Strain out the leaves, and it’s ready to give of its stress-relieving beauty.