For over three centuries, tulsi, or holy basil, has been revered.
This herb is so essential to Ayurvedic medicine that the meaning of the Hindu word Tulsi is “the incomparable one.”
The Ayurveda tradition believes tulsi to be beneficial to “prana,” the vital life force within Ayurveda, but it goes much deeper than that.
Ayurveda is a complex alternative medicine that advocates universal ideas of health, longevity, and balance. Like the ancient Grecian idea of the four humors, ayurveda promotes the ideas of the three doshas, or basic functional energies of nature.
Each dosha is associated in turn with different aspects of nature and human essence. The health of the body and mind are said to be based on the balance or harmony of all three doshas.
Tulsi is believed within Ayurvedic tradition to bring balance to all three forms of dosha— which is why it’s ‘incomparable.’
Modern Research on Tulsi, Holy Basil
With this reputation, it’s easy to understand why modern science and medicine have taken on the task of studying the health benefits of holy basil.
Studies on both humans and animals have shown promise for the benefits of holy basil in many aspects of physical health. There is still much research to be done, but the preliminary research does support some of the traditional benefits of holy basil.
Perhaps the most studied aspect of tulsi, its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties are due at least in part to its camphor, eucalyptol, and eugenol content. This means tulsi can be useful as a topical application for skin infections, an effective mouthwash, and even potentially beneficial for the gut microbiomes.
Its antibacterial effect has also been touted as a more natural, gentle acne treatment. The eugenol in holy basil has also been linked to lower cholesterol and stress-related illness, as well as reduced blood pressure levels, though there has yet to be substantial human study on this.
Modern medicine has keyed in on holy basil as an anti-inflammatory compound, due to tulsi’s high antioxidant levels and trace nutritional elements. This suggests that tulsi can be useful for those dealing with swelling, arthritis, or general joint pain. Tulsi has also been shown to keep bronchial passages clear in animals, which correlates with its prescription as an aid for asthma.
What are Adaptogens?
Adaptogenetic or Nootropic substances are an old concept often classified as belonging to alternative medicine, but research has begun to suggest that these compounds that help the mind and body adapt to stress may have some scientific basis. Tulsi in particular has long been praised as useful for coping with daily mental and physical stress, and preliminary animal studies support this effect.
The medicinal uses of holy basil and tulsi tea certainly fit its reputation as an agent of balance.
While more study is needed to understand and confirm the plant’s scientific properties, the research we have seems to align well with many of its traditional uses.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Joyroot products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health practitioner.