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Holy 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.
Possible side effects include:
- Taking holy basil by mouth might cause nausea or diarrhea.
- 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.
As always make sure you are using organic herbs as pesticides are toxic and always take normal doses, excessive amounts of anything is not good for you.
We are not doctors, lawyers, accountants or your mom. We give out free smiles and the occasional unsolicited advice. That being said; if you are pregnant, nursing or concerned about your health, call your mom. Or even better, consult a doctors before consuming; particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.