Benefits of Holy Basil

The benefits of holy basil include stress relief, greater ability to adapt to change and challenge, reduced anxiety and depression as well as improved digestion, immune system functioning and cardiovascular health. Whew… that’s quite a lot.

It is considered both an adaptogen and a rasayana.

It is generally considered safe.

The several varieties of Holy Basil (Tulsi) are also known as Ocimum sanctum, O. gratissimum, Rama Tulsi, Krishna Tulsi, and Vana Tulsi.

Emotional and Mental Benefits of Holy Basil

Holy Basil has been considered a sacred and extremely beneficial herb in India for thousands of years.

In India it is considered to have a pure essence which helps the heart and mind to become more receptive to God. It is said to increase faith, clarity and compassion. It is believed to increase goodness, virtue and joy. Holy Basil is believed to enhance a person’s spiritual growth.

Modern uses suggest Holy Basil can enhance cerebral circulation and memory, relieve mental fog and cloudy thinking. It is sometimes used to help treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and some types of depression.

Physical Benefits of Holy Basil

The reported physical benefits of Holy Basil include:

  • Promotion of longevity
  • Greater ability to maintain homeostasis and a healthy response to stressful situations
  • Greater ability to maintain healthy cortisol levels and hormonal balance
  • Greater ability to maintain a healthy inflammatory response
  • Promotes metabolic efficiency and greater ability to maintain blood sugar within a normal range
  • Greater resistance to bacterial infection, viral infection and fevers as well as the common cold
  • Promotes respiratory health, and has been found to be helpful with allergies, bronchitis and asthma
  • Promotes digestive health including gas and cramps
  • Promotes eye health
  • Helps protect against the damaging effects of radiation
  • Exhibits anti oxidant activity and contains polyphenols, Eugenol, Methyl Eugenol, Carophylene, Ursolic acid, Oleanoic acid and Rosmarinic acid
  • Also used topically for insect bites and skin diseases
Purple Flowering Holy BasilFlowering Holy Basil

Using Holy Basil

Holy Basis is an ancient herb that has many modern uses.

It has been taken by simply chewing the fresh leaves, brewing the dried leaves into a tea, using liquid extracts and by taking capsules.

I once tried to grow the plant inside but my apartment, but the windows did not provide enough sunlight. Sometimes I brew it as a tea but I find the liquid phyto caps from Gaia Herbs are both convenient and helpful. (Even one liquid phyto cap a day helps me feel happier and more enthusiastic about life.)


Documentation on the benefits of holy basil extends back to around 1,000 BC in the classic Indian Ayurvedic text on natural healing called the Charaka Samhita. There has also been a significant amount of modern research, comprised of both animal and human studies, on the benefits of holy basil.


This herb may not be suitable for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. This page is not intended to be medical advice. It is always wise to consult with a trained health care professional for appropriate recommendations for your situation.

Find out more ways to use herbal stress relief, or

Return to Gentle Stress Relief home page


Smith, Ed. 2007, 2006, 2003, 1999. Therapeutic Herb Manual A Guide to the Safe and Effective Use of Liquid Herbal Extracts. Williams Oregon: Ed Smith

Lad, Dr. Vasant and Frawley, David. 1986. The Yoga of Herbs An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Lotus Press

Winston, David and Maimes, Steven. 2007. Adaptogens Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press

Herbs, Gaia. 2009. “Holy Basil Full Spectrum Supercritical CO2 Extract Maintains Healthy Cortisol Levels Promotes Feeling of Emotional Well-Being Promotes Cox-2 Modulation.”

Herbs, Gaia. 2009. “Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum).”

Weil, Dr. 2009. “Holy Basil to Combat Stress?”

Wikipedia. 2009. “Ocimum tenuiflorum.”

Ackerson, Amber D. 2006. “Lift you spirits with holy basil: a sacred herb in India, holy basil is gaining devotion here for fighting stress and lowering blood sugar.”

Bhattathiry, MP. 2009. “15 Benefits of Holy Basil(Tulsi).”

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