Benefits, side effects, and more

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Holy basil is an herb in the basil family. It has several potential health benefits and is important in some forms of traditional medicine.

Holy basil is the English name for the plant Ocimum sanctum. This should not be confused with the culinary form of basil that comes from the plant Ocimum basilicum.

This article examines the types and variations of holy basil, along with some of its benefits, side effects, and risks. This article also tells you how to take it and when to seek medical advice.

Holy basil is a component of many different areas herbal medicine due to its healing properties.

Holy basil originally grown on the Indian subcontinent, where the plant is called Tulsai in Sanskrit or Tulsi in Hindi.

Since then it has spread to areas in the eastern tropics.


Holy basil can come in a variety of forms. It is possible to tell the different species apart by comparing the color of their leaves.

The three most common types are:

  • Rama or Sri Tulsi which has green leaves
  • Krishna or Shyama Tulsi, which has purple leaves
  • Vana or wild / forest tulsi that has dark green leaves

Some studies suggest that holy basil offers a range of health benefits that act on the body, mind, and spirit to improve overall wellbeing.

Some medicinal properties of holy basil are as follows:

  • antioxidant properties
  • antimicrobial properties
  • antidiabetic properties

The herb too:

  • reduces skin and wound infections
  • counteracts stress
  • stimulates the metabolism
  • improves the immune system
  • protects the liver
  • reduces inflammation
  • protects against radiation

In addition to numerous health benefits, holy basil is an ethical herb obtained through growing processes that typically use fair trade and smallholder farming practices. Growing holy basil can provide livelihoods for thousands of farmers.

ONE Systematic review 2017 the scientific literature on holy basil found no evidence of side effects from taking the herb.

However, a recent review found that ingesting excessive amounts of holy basil could cause the following side effects:

  • It can affect the development of the fetus during pregnancy.
  • Ursolic acid levels can affect the menstrual cycle.
  • It can lower blood sugar levels to dangerously low levels, especially for people with diabetes.
  • It can affect the functioning of the male reproductive glands and affect fertility.

In addition, eugenol – an active ingredient found in holy basil – can cause the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • diarrhea
  • a fast heartbeat
  • Liver damage

Despite its natural origin, holy basil has medicinal properties. Therefore, as with all dietary supplements, a person should take precautions when using the herb for health purposes.

Importantly, people should avoid combining holy basil with pharmaceutical medications without first consulting a doctor.

The herb helps people relax due to its anti-stress properties, but this can cause drowsiness if a person takes it with certain medications.

There are many ways to use holy basil depending on why a person is using it. For example, people can try:

  • Make tea from the leaves
  • consume the seeds or leaves
  • with oil from the seeds
  • Taking dietary supplements in the form of capsules or pills

In Hinduism, the whole plant has both ceremonial and practical purposes. People use holy basil for spiritual reasons such as cleansing, while the herb’s scent keeps harmful insects away.

There are several ways to ingest holy basil, including the following methods.


To make holy basil tea, add hot water to the dried leaves and let them steep for 1-2 minutes.

Holy basil tea can be bought online.


In Hinduism, holy basil is a goddess, and all aspects of the plant are sacred.

Keeping a sacred basil plant indoors can have mental and spiritual benefits. In addition, the plant can act as an insect repellent and keep flies and mosquitoes away.

Sacred basil plant seeds can be purchased online.


People can use the oil made from holy basil seeds orally, but they can also apply the oil on hair and other external parts of the body.

In addition, holy basil oil can be an essential oil that can be used in diffusers or candles, among other things. It is worth noting, however, that holy basil is not on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) list of essential oils, oleoresins, and natural extracts that are generally recognized as safe.

Holy basil oil is available online.


As a supplement, holy basil can come in the form of capsules or pills. Instructions for use will vary based on the amount of holy basil in the supplement. People should always follow the advice on the label.

Holy basil supplements can be bought online.

the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements like medicinal products. For this reason, it is recommended that you seek medical advice before taking any dietary supplement.

A doctor can provide advice on dosage and, based on a person’s individual medical history, whether or not the supplement is suitable for use.

Consult a doctor if you experience any side effects while taking holy basil for health purposes.

Holy basil is a plant that people have used for thousands of years for its healing properties, including its mental and physical benefits.

Research suggests that holy basil has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, among other things. There is little evidence of long-term side effects from consuming holy basil, but excessive consumption can have certain effects on a person’s health.

Further studies are needed to confirm the benefit in humans and to determine the most effective dosage at which the benefit occurs. This is because most of the studies on holy basil so far have been conducted either in vitro or on animal models.


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