All About Holy Basil: The Queen of Herbs

Holy Basil, known as the Queen of herbs, is well known for its versatility in helping to restore health and balance in the body. It is renowned for its use in religious and spiritual systems, as well as for its important role as a healing herb in the Ayurvedic health system.  Holy basil is considered an adaptogen, therefore balancing different parts of the body and resulting in the stabilization of physiological processes within the body.  Adaptogens help the body cope with, or adapt to any type of stress, whether physical, psychological, emotional or environmental.

Being an adaptogen, holy basil has the ability to improve physical energy, improve the immune system, increase resistance to respiratory infections, increase physical endurance, improve mood and concentration and increase sexual capacity and fertility.

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ocimum sanctum


FAMILY:  It is a member of the lamiaceae family of plants, which is the mint family.

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE:  It grows as a small shrub with opposite green or purple leaves.  The stems are hairy and the leaves are strongly-scented and toothed. The flowers are purple in color and short floral stocks in circular patterns.

ORIGIN: It is native to India. 

WHERE IT IS GROWN TODAY: Today it has spread throughout the topics and is cultivated throughout the world in warm soils exposed to plenty of sunshine.

HISTORY: Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for its wide array of healing properties. 

PARTS USED:  Stem and leaves.

ACTIVE COMPONENTS:  Eugenol, urosolic acid, carvacrol, linalool, caryophylline, estragol, rosmarinic acid, apigenin.

PREPARATIONS: Tea (infusion), extract, tincture, capsule, powder, decoction. 

DOSAGE: 300 to 1200mg divided dose on a daily basis for prevention or 600 to 2500mg divided dose for therapeutic use


  • Nourishes the adrenal glands and thus is essential in cases of adrenal fatigue
  • Works as an anti-inflammatory
  • Decreases blood glucose and increases insulin sensitivity, and is therefore beneficial in the treatment of diabetes
  • Improves wound healing
  • Relieves stress, improves resilience from stress and improves recovery from stress
  • Can regulate cortisol levels
  • Can help regulate testosterone levels
  • Improves mental ability, focus and concentration and nourishes the brain
  • Increases muscular endurance and physical stamina
  • Rejuvenates the body and fights fatigue
  • Is a powerful immune-system enhancer
  • Has antimicrobial effects in the body
  • Is a respiratory tonic and is helpful for treating respiratory illness
  • Is a powerful antioxidant and helps reduce the effects of aging
  • Can be used in the treatment of learning disorders, Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Can help relieve depression
  • Is important in the recovery of long illnesses and surgery
  • Has anti-cancer properties, can slow tumor growth and help mitigate the effects of cancer treatment
  • Has stomach protecting and anti-ulcer properties
  • Improves cardiac activity
  • Exhibits a radio-protective effect
  • Lowers LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol
  • Has a positive effect on gene transcription and expression
  • Can reduce fevers
  • Used as a treatment for acne
  • Can protect kidney and liver
  • Can treat gonorrhea

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:  Due to my hectic life, juggling family and a business, in addition to having a do-it-all type-A personality, holy basil has become an essential staple in keeping my body balanced.  During the cold and flu season, I use this herb on a preventative basis for myself and for my children.  This herb also works great internally and externally for preventing acne during those teenage years! 

POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS:  Contraindicated if trying to conceive a child, as it may have anti-spermatogenic or anti-fertility effects.  May decrease blood sugar levels so should be used cautiously with those who have hypoglycemia.  May increase bleeding time so use caution in anyone with a bleeding disorder or those taking anti-coagulant or anti-platelet drugs.

DID YOU KNOW:  In India, Tulsi translates to “incomparable one” and is considered sacred anywhere it is grown. It is used for religious ceremonies and is considered the most sacred plant in the Hindu religion. The presence of a Tulsi plant symbolizes the religious bend of a Hindu family. 


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