Holy Basil has been used to boost the immune system or cure many bacterial, fungal, and viral infections of ancient times. It is commonly known by the name of tulsi, and its biological name is Ocimum tenuiflorum.
In today’s pollutant environment, people get easily prone to many infections and diseases, where tulsi has proven to be one of the best home remedies to cure such illnesses. According to Ayurveda science, tulsi is one of the best natural antibiotics with many remarkable medicinal qualities.
In this article, we will discuss what holy basil is, its way to intake, its supplements, and how it boosts our immunity? So, let us take a brief on it.
Content: Holy Basil for Immunity
What is Holy Basil?
Holy basil is a sacred herb that has violet flowers, green stems with a purple tinge. It tastes bitter and spicier than the other species and slightly astringent. Holy basil is one of the revered herbs to get rid of inflammation and stress. The whole plant (including leaves, stems and seeds) is used in ayurvedic medicinal preparations. Basil is always planted in the courtyard for decades, as Ayurveda makes us believe that it purifies the aura and invigorating our immune system.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Lamiales
- Family: Lamiaceae
- Genus: Ocimum
- Species: O. tenuiflorum
- Common name: Tulsi
- Origination: It has been originated in India.
Holy Basil as Adaptogens
Adaptogens represent groups of herbs or plants that are non-toxic and function as a stimulant in counter to any physical, chemical, and biological stresses. In simple words, holy basil is an adaptogenic herb that deals with both short term and long term stresses and supports the stress response system.
Far back from Greek and Roman times, holy basil has been used in the preparation of ayurvedic medicines because of its healing property. So, adaptogenic herbs protect the body and maintain wellness. It contains vitamins A and C, calcium, zinc, and iron, necessary for the body’s metabolism.
It protects the body by counteracting different parasitic, fungal, bacterial, and viral agents, lowering blood sugar levels, and detoxing the stomach. According to Ayurveda science, holy basil has therapeutic potential for an individual’s health.
Functional Role as Adaptogens
- Chemical stress: The human body deals with daily chemical exposure and various pollutants that damage our organs and tissues. The regular consumption of holy basil found effective in detoxifying the body’s cells and organs.
- Physical stress: In the modern world, the workload causes physical stress. Holy basil is effective against prolonged physical exertion, ischemia, physical restraint, etc.
- Metabolic stress: It reduces metabolic stress by normalizing our body’s blood glucose, blood pressure, and lipid levels.
- Mental stress: As the workload increases, a person may also encounter psychological stress that can lead to many health issues. Holy basil effectively reduces mental stress through its cognitive function and anxiolytic or anti-depressant properties.
Tulsi’s shares a wide spectrum against the antimicrobial activity of various human and animal pathogens. Nowadays, herbal sanitizers, soaps, mouthwash, ointments are commonly used by many of us, who believe in Ayurveda, which now offers solutions to many modern problems.
Holy Basil Phytochemicals
The active biochemical products of holy basil include:
- Ursolic acid (triterpenoid)
- Eugenol (volatile oil)
- Rosemarinic acid (phenylpropanoid)
Other active compounds include:
- Ooleanolic acid
- Vitamin C, calcium
Ursolic acid is a potent chemical that serves as an antitumor agent. It suppresses protein kinase C activity, down-regulates MMP-9, and induces apoptosis. Besides, it also shows hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory (COX-2 inhibition), antiulcer, antimicrobial, antihyperlipidemic, and antiviral properties.
Eugenol and rosmarinic acid treat radiation-induced DNA damage that may cause the formation of cancerous cells. Also, it shows the antioxidant property. Tulsi essential oil contains 70% of eugenol, 11% of β-elemene, 8% of β-caryophyllene, and 2% of germacrene.
Ways to Use Tulsi
Tulsi or Holi basil can be taken naturally from the leaf extract or supplemented form (capsules) to boost or energize the immune system. We could intake tulsi naturally in the following ways:
In raw form
We can intake tulsi in raw form by directly chewing its leaves. Fresh Tulsi leaves serve as adaptogens or anti-stress agents. It has been studied that chewing raw tulsi leaves daily maintains blood pressure levels and prevents stress. It also purifies the blood.
We could prepare various drinks by using the leaf extract of holy basil to keep our immune system healthy. Tulsi extract with ginger and spices like cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper has an effective role against parasitic infections (like malaria and dengue) and viral infections or flu-like symptoms.
In common language, it is called kadha which has been used for a very long time. We can prepare another drink by taking tulsi extract, honey, and a pinch of turmeric powder that shows anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal properties and protects us from counteracting cough and cold.
We can also add tulsi to our diet by having tulsi tea after boiling tulsi leaves, jaggery, and water. This drink keeps the digestive system healthy and shows anti-bacterial properties that keep us safe from seasonal fever and flu. Thai cuisines also use basil leaves as the main ingredient.
Holy Basil Supplements
Basil leave supplements are available in the form of pills or capsules. Its daily dose ranges from 300 mg to 2,000 mg in case of general preventative purposes. You should consult your medical practitioner before taking such supplements.
Holy Basil Benefits
Our immune system deals with biological, chemical, physical, and metabolic stresses every day. To keep it healthy, we need to take care of our immune system. Holy basil shows phenomenal healing properties because of its phytonutrients.
Fever is not a disease. Some protozoa, bacteria, viruses, and fungi cause fever. Holy Basil is an atypical antibiotic and disinfectant agent. The formidable properties of tulsi heal the body from all sorts of infections and cure the resulting fever.
Holy basil is an incomparable herb that boosts the immune system and provides a remedy for treating infections in the respiratory tract. The active phytochemicals, bioflavonoids, and anti-oxidants in a basil extract prove to be an effective anti-microbial agent.
It treats cough, sore throat and inflammation of the chest. Intake of tulsi tea (1-2cups) daily power-ups the immune system, especially during the monsoon season, when the chances of people getting cold and cough are at higher risks. Tulsi helps to expectorate the mucus.
The basil essential oil shows a strong antibiotic, disinfectant, antibacterial and antifungal effect. Its application on the body protects us from the bite of mosquitoes and other insects that sometimes can hamper our immune system. Chewing basil leaves can heal both internal and external skin disorders or infections.
Holy basil is a natural antibiotic that nearly protects the body in counter to viral, bacteria, fungal, and protozoan infections. Tulsi extract escalates the efficiency of helper T-cells and natural killer cells to invigorate the immune system by keeping all sorts of infections aside.
Therefore, we can conclude that the holy basil had a limitless role in Ayurveda for decades. Now, modern science has also accepted that it’s a magical plant having innumerable health benefits. We must acknowledge our remedies of ancient times, which now do wonders against a life-threatening virus-like COVID-19. As we all know, pandemic corona disease has no vaccine yet, but ayurvedic remedies helped people boost their immunity to fight against such diseases.