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.
Overview InformationHoly basil is a plant. It is originally from India but now grows in Australia, West Africa, and some Middle Eastern countries. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine. The leaves, stems, and seeds are used to make medicine.
Holy basil is used for anxiety, stress, diabetes, high cholesterol, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
In cooking, holy basil is used for its peppery taste, and is sometimes called "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. Early 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 & Effectiveness
Insufficient Evidence for
- Tooth plaque. Some research shows that using a mouthwash containing 4% holy basil leaf extract twice daily reduces plaque. But it doesn't seem to work as well as chlorhexidine mouthwash.
- Diabetes. Some early research suggests that a holy basil leaf extract might decrease blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
- A type of persistent anxiety marked by exaggerated worry and tension (generalized anxiety disorder or GAD). Early research suggests that taking holy basil leaf extract twice daily after meals reduces anxiety, stress, and depression in people with GAD.
- A mild form of gum disease (gingivitis). Some research shows that using a mouthwash containing 4% holy basil leaf extract twice daily can improve this condition by a small amount. But it doesn't seem to work as well as chlorhexidine mouthwash.
- Obesity. Early research suggests that taking holy basil doesn't seem to help with weight loss or control of blood sugar or cholesterol.
- Stress. Early research shows that taking holy basil extract by mouth in the morning and at night decreases symptoms of stress, including forgetfulness, sexual problems, exhaustion, and sleep problems.
- Swelling (inflammation) of the main airways in the lung (bronchitis).
- Common cold.
- Heart disease.
- Indigestion (dyspepsia).
- Swelling (inflammation) of the liver (hepatitis).
- High cholesterol.
- High blood pressure.
- Flu (influenza).
- Mercury poisoning.
- A grouping of symptoms that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (metabolic syndrome).
- Mosquito repellent.
- Ear infection (otitis media).
- Ringworm (tinea corporis).
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyWhen taken by mouth: Holy basil is POSSIBLY SAFE when used for up to 8 weeks. Taking holy basil might cause nausea or diarrhea. There isn't enough reliable information available to know if it is safe to use for longer than 8 weeks.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy: Holy basil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken during pregnancy or when trying to become pregnant. In animals, large doses of holy basil appear to reduce the chance that a fertilized egg will attach to the uterus. It also seems to decrease the number of full-term pregnancies. It is not known if this happens in humans. Stay on the safe side and avoid using.
Breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of holy basil during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Diabetes: Holy basil might lower blood sugar levels. This might interfere with controlling blood sugar levels. People with type 2 diabetes may need to adjust dosing for insulin or antidiabetes drugs.
Hypothyroidism: People with hypothyroidism have low levels of the thyroid hormone called thyroxine. Holy basil might lower thyroxine levels. In theory, holy basil might worsen hypothyroidism.
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.
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.
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.
The appropriate dose of holy basil depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for holy basil. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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- 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.
- Somasundaram G, Manimekalai K, Salwe KJ, Pandiamunian J. Evaluation of the antidiabetic effect of Ocimum sanctum in type 2 diabetes patients. Int J Life Sci Pharma Res 2012;2(3):75-81.
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