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Holy Basil aka Tulsi

What is Holy Basil?

Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), also referred to by its Sanskrit name Tulsi, has been one of India’s greatest healing herbs for thousands of years and remains a principal remedy in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.  It is an adaptogenic herb popularly used in foods, religious rituals, and medicine for centuries throughout Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, and Australia.

Tulsi is a member of the basil species.  It contains several compounds that contribute to the support of virtually every system in the body.  As an adaptogen, it helps modulate the stress response, which can have far-reaching effects in every aspect of health.  Its active constituents include:

Potent phytonutrients

  • Eugenol, a volatile oil also found in cinnamon, cloves, and sweet basil= Antiviral and antibacterial
  • Ursolic and oleanolic acids, triterpenoid compounds = Anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory. anti-ulcer, antimicrobial (Liu,1995)
  • Rosmarinic acid, a plant polyphenol that exerts antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammitory

Immune – supporting nutrients:

  • Vitamins A and C
  • Calcium, iron, and Zinc
  • Chlorophyll
  • Alpha linolenic and linoleic acids

Dosages (Winston & Maimes, 2007):

  • Tincture (1:5 or 1:2): 40-60 drops, three times per day.
  • Tea: Add 1 tsp dried leaf to 8 oz hot water, steep 5-10 minutes. Take 4oz up to three times per day.
  • Capsules: Various forms of encapsulated products are available.  These include extracts in gel caps, dried or powdered herb in capsules, and standardized extracts (2% ursolic acid) in capsules.

Herb/Drug Interactions (winston & Maimes, 2007): Preliminary studies indicate that holy basil might enhance CYP-450 activity, thus speeding up the elimination of some medications.

Avoid during pregnancy

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