Though related to the basil we use in cooking, Holy Basil has different medicinal properties. Ocimum tenuiflorum (also known as Ocimum sanctum, tulsi or holy basil) is a medicinal plant with a long history of traditional use in India and in Ayurvedic medicine. Traditionally, holy basil was used to treat everything from malaria, diarrhea, and dysentery, to skin diseases, joint inflammation, painful eye diseases, chronic fever and insect bites. This is likely due to Holy basil’s numerous active constituents including tannins, phenolic compounds and flavonoids which are responsible for its antifungal, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, antispasmodic, analgesic, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, and cellular protective activities.
Today, Holy basil is mainly used as an adaptogen as it has been reported to induce relaxation, promote a feeling of calm and reduce stress and moodiness. It has also been shown to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol in diabetic subjects, and animal studies have shown reductions in cortisol, the stress hormone.
Holy Basil is an excellent option for those looking for an herbal anti-stress supplement with additional blood sugar balancing and cardiovascular benefits.
Holy Basil is traditionally used in Ayurveda as an expectorant and/or demulcent to help relieve cough (Kasa) and colds, as well as a cardiotonic (Hrdya) to help support the contractions of the heart.
|Serving Size: 1 Capsule||Amount|
|Holy Basil leaf extract (Ocimum tenuiflorum 10:1*)||500 mg|
*Ocimum tenuiflorum is synonymous to Ocimum sanctum.
|Non-medical ingredients: |
microcrystalline cellulose, silicon dioxide, maltodextrin, sodium stearyl fumarate. Capsule: hypromellose.
AOR™ guarantees that all ingredients have been declared on the label. Contains no wheat, gluten, nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, sulphites, mustard, soy, dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish or any animal byproduct.
Take 2 capsules daily with/without food, or as directed by a qualified health care practitioner.
Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you have diabetes, are taking any heart or blood pressure medication, or if you are breastfeeding. Consult a health care practitioner if symptoms persist or worsen. Do not use if you are pregnant or attempting to conceive.
Blood sugar balance
The information and product descriptions appearing on this website are for information purposes only, and are not intended to provide or replace medical advice to individuals from a qualified health care professional. Consult with your physician if you have any health concerns, and before initiating any new diet, exercise, supplement, or other lifestyle changes.
Holy Basil for Anxiety & Glucose Metabolism
In the traditional Indian school of medicine known as Ayurveda, various parts of the Holy Basil plant (leaves, stems, flowers and roots) have been used for the treatment of a large number of conditions, including bronchitis, bronchial asthma, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, skin diseases, arthritis, painful eye diseases, chronic fever and insect bites. In addition to this, holy basil has been suggested to possess anticancer, antidiabetic, antifungal, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, antiemetic, antispasmodic, analgesic, adaptogenic and diaphoretic actions. Scientists have begun to investigate the pharmacology and therapeutic potential of this herb and these studies have established a scientific basis for the use of holy basil for many of these conditions.
Thus far, glucose metabolism and anxiety management are the ones that have reached the all-important clinical stage involving human trials. Although the other conditions remain in the animal or in-vitro stages, they are nevertheless compelling.
The subject of stress in modern society and its myriad of detrimental effects to our health has been well established and well debated, with a consensus being that stress management/reduction is an investment that pays very good dividends. Methods for stress management/reduction abound, as do pharmaceutical and natural substances to treat it. The latter features numerous ingredients dedicated to sedation and calmness, and one of the most well-established of these isOcimum teniflorum (syn. sanctum), also known as “Tulsi” in its native India and “Holy Basil” in the west. Although botanically related to the type of sweet basil typically used in cooking (Ocimum basilicum), it is not the same species, and has different pharmacological and therapeutic properties.
Holy basil contains a number of active constituents including tannins, phenolic compounds and flavonoids. The primary active compounds responsible for this herb’s diverse benefits include eugenol, oleanolic acid, caryophyllene and ursolic acid.
Holy basil has been reported to induce relaxation, promote a feeling of calm and reduce stress. One Indian study examined this effect in patients with generalized anxiety disorder, as anxiety is a central precursor to stress. Thirty-five individuals (21 male and 14 female between the ages of 18-60) were given 500 mg of holy basil twice daily for 60 days. The subjects consisted of people from various professions and walks of life, which is important considering the role played by social status in determining levels of anxiety and stress. Patient progress was measured according to the seven point scoring system of the modified Hamilton’s brief psychiatric rating scale. According to these standardized index scores, depression, anxiety and stress were reduced by 13.2%, 19.2%, and 11.5% respectively.
In animal studies, holy basil helped to lower glucose and cortisol levels that were elevated in laboratory mice. Cortisol is the catabolic hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to stress, and it’s release is synonymous with an inflammatory cascade that is associated with a myriad of ailments in humans, ranging from cardiovascular disease to depression.
Blood Sugar Balance
This role for holy basil has been strongly researched, having reached the multi-clinical stage. One such trial involved patients with unhealthy blood sugar levels and examined the effects of holy basil supplementation on fasting, post-meal blood glucose, and serum cholesterol levels in these patients. It was revealed that holy basil supplementation resulted in a reduction of fasting and post-meal blood glucose levels of 17.6% and 7.3% respectively, with a modest reduction in serum cholesterol levels.
Another human trial involved 27 NIDDM patients, and this one measured more variables and with greater detail. One month of supplementation with one gram of holy basil daily resulted in the significant lowering of blood glucose (20.8%), total amino acids (13.5%), total cholesterol (11.3%), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (14%), very low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (16.3%) and triglycerides (16.4%). There was also an 11.2% reduction in glycated proteins (which are proteins that are damaged by exposure to glucose without the mediating action of a co-enzyme) as well as a 13.7% reduction in uronic acid, a product of the oxidation of sugar.
Ayurvedic Precepts of Anxiety
There is a significant amount of religious sentiment surrounding the use of Holy Basil in its ancient Ayurvedic form, and it is often planted around Hindu shrines. Even its Indian name of Tulsi is Sanskrit for ‘the incomparable one’, and on an even deeper religious level, the plant is often regarded in India as the consort of Vishnu himself.
With such strong alchemic overtures, it becomes increasingly inviting to view Holy Basil’s evolution into an anti-anxiety treatment as a natural one. Indeed, Holy Basil’s Ayurvedic applications do overlap with some of the symptoms associated with anxiety. One of these is the Ayurvedic practice of using Holy Basil as an aphrodisiac. Another is its use as an anti-stress or adaptogenic remedy, a role shared by another Ayurvedic herb, namely ashwagandha. In fact, ashwagandha and holy basil formed two of the key ingredients in a multi-herbal combination that was shown to reduce numerous measures of stress response in laboratory rats. These stress responses indices included gastric ulceration, plasma corticosterone levels, serum lipid compositions, hepatic/renal functions, glucose intolerance, suppressed sexual drive, induced behavioral despair, cognitive dysfunction and immunosuppression.
The active components of holy basil are powerful antioxidants with a significant ability to scavenge highly reactive and dangerous free radicals and promote normal cell growth. In test tube and animal studies, extracts from holy basil have been shown to increase levels of antioxidant enzymes, prevent lipid peroxidation and protect against oxidative damage. Lipid peroxidation is especially dangerous, as it leads to cellular damage and eventually cell death. As such, lipid peroxidation has been linked to inflammatory conditions and cardiovascular diseases.
Further Benefits Still
This is just the beginning of this amazing herb’s potential actions.
Holy basil seems to exhibit anticonvulsant effects in animal studies in high doses (400-800 mg/kg) comparable to the drug phenytoin.
Research has also shown that holy basil is a very effective anti-inflammatory. In laboratory rats, for example, holy basil reduced paw edema (swelling) by 66%. This seems to be due to the inhibition of the enzyme COX-2 by eugenol, which may also explain holy basil’s capabilities as an analgesic (pain-reliever). COX-2 inhibition is a mechanism common to numerous painkillers.
Holy Basil is also known to be used in India to treat poisonings, and animal studies show that it can decrease measures of mercury toxicity. Holy basil also possesses significant antibacterial properties, effectively killing the species Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus pumilus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Furthermore, holy basil has the potential to be a potent anti-parasitic agent. Studies have shown that active compounds in the plant are effective in killing the parasite Leishmania and the parasite that causes malaria (plasmodium).
There is even some scientific interest in holy basil seed oil as an anti-carcinogenic. Preliminary evidence from laboratory animal studies suggests that the oil can delay progression and improve survival rates in models of fibrosarcoma – a type of malignant tumor derived from connective tissue.
Animal studies also suggest that holy basil seed oil has a protective effect against gastric injury from aspirin, indomethacin, and alcohol. Such studies also appear to demonstrate a vasodilatory effect from holy basil.
In our high stress society is relatively common for people to take medications to help them reduce their levels of anxiety as well as lower their blood sugar levels. Many of these medications are not without the risk of negative side-effects. Unfortunately, they may also become ineffective if used over a long period of time.
AOR’s Holy Basil provides a healthy supplement alternative in order to reduce the effects of anxiety and promote healthy glucose metabolism, and likely much more. With one supplement that offers so many health benefits, why choose to take something else!
Agrawal P, Rai V, Singh RB. Randomized placebo-controlled single-blind trial of holy basil leaves in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1996; 34: 406-409.
Bhattacharyya D, Sur TK, Jana U, Debnath PK. Controlled programmed trial of Ocimum sanctum leaf on generalized anxiety disorders. Nepal Med Coll J. 2008 Sep;10(3):176-9.
Geetha RK, Vasudevan DM. Inhibition of lipid peroxidation by botanical extracts of Ocimum sanctum: in vivo and in vitro studies. Life Sci. 2004 Nov 19;76(1):21-8.
Gholap S, Kar A. Hypoglycaemic effects of some plant extracts are possibly mediated through inhibition in corticosteroid concentration. Pharmazie. 2004 Nov;59(11):876-8.
Muruganandam AV, Kumar V, Bhattacharya SK. Effect of poly herbal formulation, EuMil, on chronic stress-induced homeostatic perturbations in rats. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology Vol. 40, October 2002, pp. 1151-1160.
Prakash P, Gupta N. Therapeutic uses of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) with a note on eugenol and its pharmacological actions: a short review. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005 Apr;49(2):125-31.
Prakash J, Gupta SK. Chemopreventive activity of Ocimum sanctum seed oil. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Volume 72, Issues 1-2, 1 September 2000, PP. 29-34.
Rai V, Mani UV, Iyer UM. Effect of Ocimum sanctum Leaf Powder on Blood Lipoproteins, Glycated Proteins and Total Amino Acids in Patients with Non-insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus. Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine (1997) 7, 113-118.
Controlled programmed trial of Ocimum sanctum leaf on generalized anxiety disorders.
Nepal Med Coll J. 2008 Sep;10(3):176-9.
Bhattacharyya D, Sur TK, Jana U, Debnath PK.
Ocimumn sanctum, an Indian medicinal plant, has been on trial for its role in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in hospital based clinical set-up. Hamilton’s brief psychiatric rating scale (BPRS) and thorough clinical investigations were used to screen the subjects. Thirty-five subjects (21 male and 14 female; average age 38.4 years) were medicated with the plant extract in a fixed dose regime (500 mg/capsule, twice daily, p.o. after meal). They were thoroughly investigated clinically and using standard questionnaires based on different psychological rating scale at baseline (day 0), mid-term (day 30) and final (day 60). The observations exhibited that, O. sanctum significantly (p < 0.001) attenuated generalized anxiety disorders and also attenuated its correlated stress and depression. It further significantly (p < 0.001) improved the willingness to adjustment and attention in human. Therefore, it may be concluded that O. sanctum may be useful in the treatment of GAD in human and may be a promising anxiolytic agent in near future.
Therapeutic uses of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) with a note on eugenol and its pharmacological actions: a short review.
Prakash P, Gupta N. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol.
The medicinal plants are widely used by the traditional medical practitioners for curing various diseases in their day to day practice. In traditional systems of medicine, different parts (leaves, stem, flower, root, seeds and even whole plant) of Ocimum sanctum Linn (known as Tulsi in Hindi), a small herb seen throughout India, have been recommended for the treatment of bronchitis, bronchial asthma, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, skin diseases, arthritis, painful eye diseases, chronic fever, insect bite etc. The Ocimum sanctum L. has also been suggested to possess antifertility, anticancer, antidiabetic, antifungal, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, antiemetic, antispasmodic, analgesic, adaptogenic and diaphoretic actions. Eugenol (1-hydroxy-2-methoxy-4-allylbenzene), the active constituent present in Ocimum sanctum L., has been found to be largely responsible for the therapeutic potentials of Tulsi. Although because of its great therapeutic potentials and wide occurrence in India the practitioners of traditional systems of medicine have been using Ocimum sanctum L. for curing various ailments, a rational approach to this traditional medical practice with modern system of medicine is, however, not much available. In order to establish the therapeutic uses of Ocimum sanctum L. in modern medicine, in last few decades several Indian scientists and researchers have studied the pharmacological effects of steam distilled, petroleum ether and benzene extracts of various parts of Tulsi plant and eugenol on immune system, reproductive system, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, gastric system, urinary system and blood biochemistry and have described the therapeutic significance of Tulsi in management of various ailments. These pharmacological studies have established a scientific basis for therapeutic uses of this plant.
Inhibition of lipid peroxidation by botanical extracts of Ocimum sanctum: in vivo and in vitro studies
Life Sci. 2004 Nov 19;76(1):21-8.
Geetha RK, Vasudevan DM.
Ocimum sanctum, the Indian holy basil, has significant ability to scavenge highly reactive free radicals. Shade dried leaf powder of the plant was extracted with water and alcohol, and then fractionated with different solvents. Both extracts and their fractions have in vitro anti-lipidperoxidative activity at very low concentrations. In vivo, hypercholesterolemia-induced erythrocyte lipid peroxidation activity was inhibited by aqueous extracts of Ocimum in a dose-dependent manner in male albino rabbits. Aqueous extract feeding also provided significant liver and aortic tissue protection from hypercholesterolemia-induced peroxidative damage.
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