HOLY BASIL

OTHER NAME(S):

Ajaka, Albahaca Santa, Bai Gkaprow, Baranda, Basilic Indien, Basilic Sacré, Basilic Sacré Pourpre, Basilic Saint, Brinda, Green Holy Basil, Hot Basil, Indian Basil, Kala Tulsi, Kemangen, Krishna Tulasi, Krishna Tulsi, Manjari, Ocimum sanctum, Ocimum tenuiflorum, Parnasa, Patrapuspha, Rama Tulsi, Red Holy Basil, Sacred Basil, Sacred Purple Basil, Shyama Tulsi, Sri Tulasi, Suvasa Tulasi, Tulasi, Tulsi, Tulsi Patra.<br/><br/>

Overview

Overview Information

Holy basil is a plant. It is originally from India and is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an “adaptogen” to counter life’s stresses. It is considered a sacred plant by the Hindus and is often planted around Hindu shrines. The Hindu name for holy basil, Tulsi, means "the incomparable one." Medicine is made from the leaves, stems, and seeds.

Holy basil is used for the common cold, influenza ("the flu"), H1N1 (swine) flu, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, earache, headache, stomach upset, heart disease, fever, viral hepatitis, malaria, stress, and tuberculosis. It is also used for mercury poisoning, to promote longevity, as a mosquito repellent, and to counteract snake and scorpion bites.

Holy basil is applied to the skin for ringworm.

In cooking, holy basil is often added to stir-fry dishes and spicy soups because of its peppery taste. Cookbooks sometimes call it "hot basil."

How does it work?

Chemicals in holy basil are thought to decrease pain and swelling (inflammation). Other chemicals might lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.

There is interest in using holy basil seed oil for cancer. Beginning research suggests that the oil can slow progression and improve survival rate in animals with certain types of cancer. Researchers think this benefit may be explained by the oil’s ability to act as an antioxidant.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Anixety. Early research found that taking 500 mg of holy basil leaf extract twice daily after meals for 60 days reduced anxiety and associated stress and depression in people with anxiety.
  • Diabetes. Some early research suggests that a holy basil leaf extract might decrease blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Stress. In early research, taking 400 mg of a holy basil extract (M/s Natural Remedies Pvt. Ltd, India) by mouth in the morning and 800 mg at night for 6 weeks decreased symptoms of stress, including forgetfulness, sexual problems, exhaustion, and sleep problems.
  • Common cold.
  • Influenza ("the flu").
  • Asthma.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Earache.
  • Headache.
  • Stomach upset.
  • Heart disease.
  • Fever.
  • Insomnia.
  • Viral hepatitis.
  • Malaria.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Mercury poisoning.
  • Ringworm.
  • An antidote to snake and scorpion bites.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of holy basil for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Holy basil is POSSIBLY SAFE when used by mouth for short periods of time, up to six weeks. It's not known if long-term use is safe.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of holy basil during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Surgery: Holy basil might slow blood clotting, so there is a concern that it could increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using holy basil at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions

Interactions?

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

!
  • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with HOLY BASIL

    Holy basil might slow blood clotting. Taking holy basil along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. But there isn't enough information to know if this is a big concern.<br/><br/> Some medications that slow blood clotting include include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

  • Pentobarbital interacts with HOLY BASIL

    Pentobarbital causes drowsiness. There is some concern that taking holy basil seed oil with pentobarbital might cause too much drowsiness. But there isn't enough information to know if this is a big concern.

Dosing

Dosing

View References

REFERENCES:

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  • Grover, J. K., Vats, V., and Yadav, S. S. Pterocarpus marsupium extract (Vijayasar) prevented the alteration in metabolic patterns induced in the normal rat by feeding an adequate diet containing fructose as sole carbohydrate. Diabetes Obes.Metab 2005;7(4):414-420. View abstract.
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  • Kothari, S. K., Bhattacharya, A. K., and Ramesh, S. Essential oil yield and quality of methyl eugenol rich Ocimum tenuiflorum L.f. (syn. O. sanctum L.) grown in south India as influenced by method of harvest. J Chromatogr.A 10-29-2004;1054(1-2):67-72. View abstract.
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  • Mukherjee, R., Dash, P. K., and Ram, G. C. Immunotherapeutic potential of Ocimum sanctum (L) in bovine subclinical mastitis. Res Vet.Sci 2005;79(1):37-43. View abstract.
  • Narendhirakannan, R. T., Subramanian, S., and Kandaswamy, M. Mineral content of some medicinal plants used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Biol.Trace Elem.Res 2005;103(2):109-115. View abstract.
  • Panda, S. and Kar, A. Ocimum sanctum leaf extract in the regulation of thyroid function in the male mouse. Pharmacol.Res 1998;38(2):107-110. View abstract.
  • Prashar, R., Kumar, A., Banerjee, S., and Rao, A. R. Chemopreventive action by an extract from Ocimum sanctum on mouse skin papillomagenesis and its enhancement of skin glutathione S-transferase activity and acid soluble sulfydryl level. Anticancer Drugs 1994;5(5):567-572. View abstract.
  • Prashar, R., Kumar, A., Hewer, A., Cole, K. J., Davis, W., and Phillips, D. H. Inhibition by an extract of Ocimum sanctum of DNA-binding activity of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene in rat hepatocytes in vitro. Cancer Lett. 6-19-1998;128(2):155-160. View abstract.
  • Rai, V., Iyer, U., and Mani, U. V. Effect of Tulasi (Ocimum sanctum) leaf powder supplementation on blood sugar levels, serum lipids and tissue lipids in diabetic rats. Plant Foods Hum.Nutr. 1997;50(1):9-16. View abstract.
  • Rani, P. and Khullar, N. Antimicrobial evaluation of some medicinal plants for their anti-enteric potential against multi-drug resistant Salmonella typhi. Phytother.Res 2004;18(8):670-673. View abstract.
  • Ravindran, R., Rathinasamy, S. D., Samson, J., and Senthilvelan, M. Noise-stress-induced brain neurotransmitter changes and the effect of Ocimum sanctum (Linn) treatment in albino rats. J Pharmacol.Sci 2005;98(4):354-360. View abstract.
  • Samson, J., Sheela, Devi R., Ravindran, R., and Senthilvelan, M. Biogenic amine changes in brain regions and attenuating action of Ocimum sanctumin noise exposure. Pharmacol.Biochem.Behav. 2006;83(1):67-75. View abstract.
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  • Sembulingam, K., Sembulingam, P., and Namasivayam, A. Effect of Ocimum sanctum Linn on noise induced changes in plasma corticosterone level. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1997;41(2):139-143. View abstract.
  • Sembulingam, K., Sembulingam, P., and Namasivayam, A. Effect of Ocimum sanctum Linn on the changes in central cholinergic system induced by acute noise stress. J Ethnopharmacol. 1-15-2005;96(3):477-482. View abstract.
  • Sen, P., Maiti, P. C., Puri, S., Ray, A., Audulov, N. A., and Valdman, A. V. Mechanism of anti-stress activity of Ocimum sanctum Linn, eugenol and Tinospora malabarica in experimental animals. Indian J Exp.Biol. 1992;30(7):592-596. View abstract.
  • Seth, S. D., Johri, N., and Sundaram, K. R. Antispermatogenic effect of Ocimum sanctum. Indian J Exp.Biol. 1981;19(10):975-976. View abstract.
  • Sharma, M., Kishore, K., Gupta, S. K., Joshi, S., and Arya, D. S. Cardioprotective potential of ocimum sanctum in isoproterenol induced myocardial infarction in rats. Mol.Cell Biochem. 2001;225(1-):75-83. View abstract.
  • Shokeen, P., Ray, K., Bala, M., and Tandon, V. Preliminary studies on activity of Ocimum sanctum, Drynaria quercifolia, and Annona squamosa against Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Sex Transm.Dis. 2005;32(2):106-111. View abstract.
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  • Vats, V., Yadav, S. P., and Grover, J. K. Ethanolic extract of Ocimum sanctum leaves partially attenuates streptozotocin-induced alterations in glycogen content and carbohydrate metabolism in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;90(1):155-160. View abstract.
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  • Seth SD, Johri N, Sundaram KR. Antispermatogenic effect of Ocimum sanctum. Indian J Exp Biol 1981;19:975-6.
  • Sharma MK, Kumar M, Kumar A. Ocimum sanctum aqueous leaf extract provides protection against mercury induced toxicity in Swiss albino mice. Indian J Exp Biol 2002;40:1079-82. View abstract.
  • Singh S, Majumdar DK. Effect of Ocimum sanctum fixed oil on vascular permeability and leucocytes migration. Indian J Exp Biol 1999 37:1136-8. View abstract.
  • Singh S, Majumdar DK. Evaluation of antiinflammatory activity of fatty acids of Ocimum sanctum fixed oil. Indian J Exp Biol 1997;35:380-3. View abstract.
  • Singh S, Majumdar DK. Evaluation of the gastric antiulcer activity of fixed oil of Ocimum sanctum (Holy Basil). J Ethnopharmacol 1999;65:13-9. View abstract.
  • Singh S, Rehan HM, Majumdar DK. Effect of Ocimum sanctum fixed oil on blood pressure, blood clotting time and pentobarbitone-induced sleeping time. J Ethnopharmacol 2001;78:139-43. View abstract.
  • Singh S. Comparative evaluation of antiinflammatory potential of fixed oil of different species of Ocimum and its possible mechanism of action. Indian J Exp Biol 1998;36:1028-31. View abstract.
  • Singh, S., Malhotra, M., and Majumdar, D. K. Antibacterial activity of Ocimum sanctum L. fixed oil. Indian J Exp Biol 2005;43(9):835-837. View abstract.
  • Vats V, Grover JK, Rathi SS. Evaluation of anti-hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic effect of Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn, Ocimum sanctum Linn and Pterocarpus marsupium Linn in normal and alloxanized diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol 2002;79:95-100. View abstract.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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