backup og meta

Beyond the Myths: The Benefits of Holy Basil

Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen · Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Apr 19, 2022

    Beyond the Myths: The Benefits of Holy Basil

    The distinct aroma and leafy good looks of the basil plant make it one of the most widely known and grown herbs in the world. Basil is often associated with Mediterranean cooking and is native to India and Asia as well as parts of Africa. Sweet basil is the most common, but dozens of other varieties include lemon, cinnamon, Thai, and holy basil. Read on to learn more about how holy basil benefits our health and wellbeing.

    Holy Basil Benefits: Why Is It Good for Our Health?

    Basil is a member of the mint family. It has been used as a medicinal plant because its oils and extracts are said to have antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Take fragrant fresh basil, which offers a healthy dose of blood-clotting vitamin K. Two tablespoons of chopped fresh basil provide 27% of the RDA — as well as vitamin A, manganese, and magnesium.

    Use fresh basil whenever possible. When cooking with it, add to the dish during the last few minutes for maximum flavor.

    holy basil

    The Legend of Holy Basil

    Meanwhile, Ocimum sanctum L. (O. tenuiflorum) family-Lamiaceae is related to basil that is often used in cooking. Also known as holy basil, its leaves are pale green and have a somewhat hairy appearance. Holy basil has long been used as a traditional medicine in China and India. Some cultures regard the plant as sacred.

    Holy basil is an important component of the Indian tradition of medicine as well as culture around the world. This plant appears in the ancient texts of Ayurveda as an “elixir of life” (life saving) herb. It has been worshipped for over 3000 years due to its healing properties. Currently, however, about 80 % of the patents on this plant are on extracts or the plant parts (essential oil components).

    In traditional medicine holy basil has several names such as “The Queen of Herbs,” “The Incomparable One,” and “The Mother Medicine of Nature.”

    Being legendary sacred basil (Tulsi), is recognized for its sanctity. It also forms an indispensable part of the traditional herbal medicine of the East.

    It is native to India and parts of northern and eastern Africa, Hainan Island, and Taiwan. Holy basil grows wild throughout India up to an altitude of 1800 m in the Himalayas. The leaf of the plant owes a stronger, somewhat pungent taste than other types of basil.

    Why Do People Take This Herb?

    Holy basil can also treat a wide range of other health concerns, such as:

    • low blood circulation
    • insect bites
    • kidney problems
    • skin problems
    • snake bites
    • stomach problems

    Holy basil may also be useful as an antioxidant, for protecting the liver, or for treating lowering blood sugar.

    Multiple animal studies have determined that holy basil protects against stomach ulcers, which can cause a wide range of symptoms, including stomach pain, heartburn, and nausea

    Other Holy Basil Benefits Include:

    • It reduces stress and anxiety. Holy basil benefits include antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties similar to antidepressant drugs. Studies show it can help people feel less anxious and more social.
    • Holy basil stimulates and vitalizes the body. Because it is high in antioxidants, holy basil can boost your body’s health in a variety of ways. It can help protect against infection, lower your blood sugar, lower your cholesterol, ease joint pain, and protect your stomach.
    • Holy basil can be part of your self-care routine. You can integrate holy basil benefits into your daily life in several ways. You can cook with it, take it in supplement form, make tea with it, or use it as an essential oil.
    • It is relatively safe. Experts have thus far not reported any negative results, but consult with your doctor before incorporating holy basil into your diet and you should try to buy it only from reputable sources.

    More than an odorous plant with mythical healing properties, basil, and in turn, holy basil have proven to be an essential part of the Indian tradition of medicine. Beyond India and Asia, holy basil benefits have proven to be true and not just stories from the past.

    Have you ever tried adding basil to your dishes? Share your go-to recipes with us in the comments!

    Learn more Nutrition Facts here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Expertly reviewed by

    Chris Icamen

    Dietetics and Nutrition

    Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Apr 19, 2022

    advertisement iconadvertisement

    Was this article helpful?

    advertisement iconadvertisement
    advertisement iconadvertisement