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 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 commonly used by mouth to help with anxiety and stress. It is also used for diabetes and high cholesterol. But there is limited scientific research to support these and other uses.
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. 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
- Anxiety. Early research suggests that taking holy basil leaf extract twice daily after meals reduces anxiety and associated stress and depression in people with anxiety.
- Dental plaque. Some research shows that using mouthwash containing 4% holy basil leaf extract twice daily reduces plaque and gingivitis better than saline solution and similar to mouthwash containing 0.12% chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine is considered to be the "gold standard" for reducing plaque. Also, rinsing with another product that contains tea tree oil, clove, and holy basil seems to reduce plaque.
- Diabetes. Some early research suggests that a holy basil leaf extract might decrease blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
- 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.
- Common cold.
- Influenza ("the flu").
- Stomach upset.
- Heart disease.
- Viral hepatitis.
- Mercury poisoning.
- An antidote to snake and scorpion bites.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyHoly basil is POSSIBLY SAFE when used by mouth for short periods of time, up to 8 weeks. Taking holy basil by mouth might cause nausea or diarrhea. It's not known if long-term use is safe.
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 taken by mouth appear to reduce the chance that a fertilized egg with attach to the uterus. It also seems to decrease the number of full-term pregnancies. It's 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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