holy basil

Holy Basil – The Incomparable One

Essential Facts about Holy Basil Leaf


  • Botanical: Ocimum Sanctum
  • Sanskrit & Hindi: Tulsi is derived from a Sanskrit word, which means “matchless one”
  • English: Indian Basil, Holy Basil
  • Other: The Incomparable One, Mother Medicine of Nature, and Liquid Yoga


  • Rasa (taste): Pungent, bitter
  • Guna (qualities): Light, dry, piercing
  • Virya (action): Warming
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effects): Pungent
  • Dosha (constitution): Pacifies vata and kapha


Holy basil is found in warm and tropical areas and grows up to 1800 meters above sea level. It is a sacred plant in India and Hindus grow Tulsi as a religious plant in their homes, temples and farms.

Plant Description

Tulsi is an aromatic perennial that grows up to 30 to 60 cm. The leaves of the plants are simple and grow opposite in green or purple colors along hairy stems. The flowers are small with a purple to reddish color and grow in small clusters.

Parts Used 

Leaves, roots and seeds.


Tulsi is enriched with various phytochemicals including phenolic compounds and flavonoids. The plant also contains vitamin C, carotene and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, copper, chromium, zinc, iron, nickel and insoluble oxalate.

Medicinal Uses of Holy Basil Leaf

This potent Ayurvedic remedy has been used for thousands of years to promote wellbeing and longevity, heal disease and illness. Here are just a few of the reasons why this plant is so powerful.

Holy Basil Leaf for Anxiety

Researchers who’ve studied the effects of holy basil leaf on people struggling with anxiety have consistently discovered it is genuinely helpful. This is because holy basil leaf is an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a botanical or herb that can improve your body’s ability to handle and resist the effects of stress. Adaptogens work to balance out cortisol and support your adrenals.

Beyond helping with mental stressors, adaptogens are also beneficial in helping with physical stress. When you’re exposed to extreme demands or temperatures, your body is forced to respond. These are physical stresses. Adaptogens boost strength and endurance in order to help you handle intense circumstances.

Secondary Effects

Taking holy basil leaf doesn’t merely reduce anxiety. That’s because anxiety and stress cause many other problems. Thus, when stress and anxiety are reduced, so are the other issues they may contribute to.

Specifically, studies have shown that taking holy basil leaf for anxiety can also improve memory, correct sexual dysfunction, improve sleep, and reduce fatigue. Additionally, studies have shown holy basil leaf also has antidepressant effect similar to that of major medications.

Holy Basil Leaf is also believed to help with cough, asthma, diarrhea, fever, arthritis, digestion issues, inflammation and much more.

Spiritual Benefits

Although holy basil leaf is often used for its medicinal properties, it is also worshipped and used for spiritual purposes.

Tulsi tea is often called “liquid yoga” because of its similarities to yoga in calming the body, mind, and spirit. Tulsi is also revered as a sacred plant in Hinduism.

Usage and Dosage of Holy Basil Leaf

Holy basil leaf isn’t the type of remedy you take when you’re experiencing a sudden bout of anxiety or stress. Studies indicate it tends to be more effective when taken on a regular basis every single day. Additionally, you may need to adjust your dosage several times before finding one that works for you. It’s also worth noting that you likely won’t experience results immediately. Researchers have found that people who take holy basil leaf every day typically notice changes over time.

Ayurvedic practitioners often recommend creating a tea with holy basil leaves. This is one of the most convenient and efficient ways to take advantage of its calming effects. However, you may want to consider consuming Chyawanprash to get your daily dose of Holy Basil. In addition to this herb, Chyawanprash’s ingredients include potent botanicals, spices, ghee, honey and sesame oil.


Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)