Holy Basil or Tulsi is an herb held in high regard in Ayruvedic Medicine used to treat colds, flu, and cough. However, more recent research has found multiple uses for this highly desirable plant beyond treating a virus. Tulsi is now considered an adaptogen. If you are unfamiliar with that term, it basically means that when you ingest this herb it will help the body cope with numerous stressors to restore the body’s physiological and psychological function. Think about taking something that intuitively knows where to go and what to do in your body to make things better, that’s an adaptogen.
Tulsi has a remarkable array of actions that range from antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, chemoprotective, radioprotective, neuro-protective, immunomodulatory, memory enhancement, and the list goes on and on.
What does that mean for you?
- Protection from toxins. Tulsi will protect you from toxin induced damage (think pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, etc.), it has been shown to reduce DNA damage from cancer causing toxins, and enables the body to more effectively transform and get rid of toxins by amping up the livers detoxification abilities.
- Protect you from physical and metabolic stress. Overexertion of your body and poor lifestyle choices can lead to an inflammatory response. Tulsi has been shown to help your body adapt, thus protecting from this sort of damage. Specific studies have been done on how it regulates blood glucose, improves lipid profiles (those cholesterol numbers), and protect organs.
- Protect from infection? Tulsi has been studied for its ability to enhance immune response and wound healing in animals. Though human studies in this area have not been observed, Tulsi is currently being used in animals for this purpose.
- Reduce Mental Stress. Psychological stressors of today affect the body as much as physical ones, and many times in similar fashion. See #1 & #2. Studies have shown that Tulsi also has a relaxing and calming effect on the mind, which offers benefits of anti-depressant/anxiety activity and positive effects on memory & cognition.
Tulsi can be taken daily as a supplement, tea, or as a flower essence. In Ayruvedic Medicine, it is often used as a preventative measure. If you are looking to add something beneficial to your daily intake that will provide you with a wide array of benefits both physical and psychological this may be an option for you.