Taking Charge of Your Health

Scientists are confirming that the Holy Basil
plant which is called Ocimum sanctum, also called Tulsi, has numerous health and medicinal
benefits. Research has determined the plant extract
can treat at least 20 conditions. The Holy Basil herb is one of the oldest and
most used medicinal herbs. It has provided the backbone of many treatments
among Ayurvedic physicians from thousands of years ago, as it was used to treat numerous
disorders. It has also been revered for its spiritual
potency, and has been dubbed among ancient Ayurvedic texts as the “elixir of life.” The word Tulsi is translated to “incomparable.” The plant grows in warm and tropical regions,
but also up to 6,000 feet in the mountains. There are actually two general cultivars of
the herb: One has green leaves and the other has purple leaves. Culinary Basil – Ocimum basilicum – is quite
different. A 2014 DNA sequencing study was conducted
at the CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants genetically compared the
two species. The research found significant genetic differences
between the two species. They may share a few of their constituents
but their genetic sequences have significant differences. Holy Basil’s pungency is due to its content
of eugenol along with sesquiterpenoids. There are many other medicinal compounds in
Tulsi, which we list right here. According to Ancient Ayurvedic texts, there
are a number of conditions that Tulsi has been used for. These include:
Stress and anxiety Coughing and asthma
Intestinal issues and diarrhea Fevers
Arthritis Eye conditions
Hiccups Ulcers
Heart and artery conditions Back pain
Skin conditions Ringworm
Bites from insects, snakes, scorpions and others
Malaria Okay this list is huge. And yet there are even more conditions that
Tulsi is recommended for by Ayurvedic physicians. The question now is whether scientific research
supports these various uses for Holy Basil. Does the ancient medicinal remedy stand up
in the face of modern science? Let’s look at some of the research. A 2019 study from Nigeria tested 63 ulcer
patients with holy basil oil with coconut oil or a placebo for four weeks alongside
antibiotics. The researchers found the holy basil oil helped
eradicate H. pylori and resolve ulcer symptoms including pain. Research from the College of Pharmacy at the
University of Delhi found that the oil of Holy Basil was able to counteract ulcerative
effects. Other studies have confirmed this effect. A number of studies have investigated Holy
Basil’s ability to reduce infections due to bacteria. Much of this antibacterial character of Holy
Basil is due to eugenol. Eugenol has undergone study in other venues
as a proven antimicrobial substance. For example, a 2015 study from Brazil’s
University Federal de Alfenas found that eugenol was antimicrobial against Salmonella and Micrococcus
– both infective bacteria. A study from India’s Calcutta School of
Tropical Medicine tested extracts of Holy Basil against antibiotic-resistant strains
of Salmonella and found the Tulsi significantly reduced these strong contagious bacteria. This antibacterial quality of Holy Basil supports
the clinical experience of Ayurvedic doctors of ancient times that used Tulsi for conditions
related to numerous bacteria infections, including intestinal issues, lung conditions, skin infections
and eye infections. Oxidative stress is related to a number of
disorders including cardiovascular conditions, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis,
aches and pains, liver issues and others. Oxidative stress occurs as the body responds
to the oxidation of fats and glucose within the body. This oxidation forms free radicals that in
turn produce tissue damage. When lipoprotein fats such as LDL are oxidized,
they begin to damage the blood vessels, creating atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and other
cardiovascular issues. Free radicals can also damage brain cells,
increasing the risk of dementia. Research from India’s Annamalai University
found that a whole leaf extract of Holy Basil significantly reduced lipid and protein oxidation. The researchers found that Tulsi exhibited
superior antioxidant properties but also lowered phase 1 enzymes that are found in peroxidation
metabolism. The extract also increased the phase 2 enzymes
– which tend to balance and moderate oxidative stress. Another study from India’s DVS College of
Arts and Science found that two different extracts of Holy Basil was able to significantly
reduce lipid peroxidation activity in a dose-dependent manner. Research from India’s Sharma Post Graduate
Institute of Medical Sciences fed rabbits 2 grams of Tulsi for 30 days. After the period, the rabbits showed significantly
reduced levels of glutathione and superoxide dismutase – indicating they had reduced
levels of oxidative stress. The ability of Tulsi to reduce oxidative stress
is often referred to as an adaptogen. This means that it helps the body cope with
the stresses that burden our bodies from various fronts – whether it be physical, chemical,
emotional or otherwise. This also relates to Tulsi’s ability to
regulate insulin and glucose sensitivity. Analysis from the Southern California Evidence-Based
Practice Center has confirmed this among the research. A study from the All India Institute of Medical
Sciences found that Tulsi reduced HbA(1c) levels in diabetic rats and reduced blood
sugar levels along with improved retina health after being fed Tulsi. Other similar studies have confirmed this. Tulsi is well-known for reducing stress and
anxiety. A 2008 study from India’s Roy Institute
of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research tested 35 people with generalized anxiety
disorders within a hospital clinic. The researchers treated the subjects with
1,000 milligrams of Tulsi extract for 60 days. The subjects were tested in the beginning,
and at 30 days and after 60 days, utilizing the Hamilton brief psychiatric rating scale
(BPRS) along with examinations. The study found that Holy Basil significantly
reduced levels of anxiety, stress and depression among the patients. Reducing anxiety and physical stress are related. A study from India’s Central Drug Research
Institute found that extracted constituents of Holy Basil reduced stress levels. The mechanisms of this included normalizing
blood sugar, modulating cortisol, attenuating the adrenal glands and balancing creatine
kinase. Other research has shown that Holy Basil can
treat oral fibrosis. A study from India’s Banaras Hindu University
treated 41 patients with a mixture of Tulsi and turmeric (50/50). The patients applied a paste of the mix 3-4
times a day. Blood samples together with ratings of burning
sensations found that the Tulsi and turmeric combination resulted in a significant improvement
among the treated patients. Tulsi can also speed fracture healing. Research from India’s King George’s Medical
University investigated the use of Tulsi for bone healing. The researchers treated 29 cases of bone fractures
in the mandible (jawbone). The subjects were treated with Tulsi or an
herb called Hadjod. A third group acted as the control group. The researchers found that the Tulsi-treated
group had faster healing of their fractures compared with the placebo and Hadjod groups. And the Tulsi treatment resulted in greater
bone tensile strength. This was tested among the patients by measuring
the strength of their bites. Research from India’s University of Hyderabad
found that Tulsi produced anti-inflammatory effects related to reducing cardiovascular
disease. Holy Basil extracts reduced levels of inflammatory
cytokines. Other studies have shown that Tulsi consumption
reduces LDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides while increasing HDL-cholesterol – the good
cholesterol. The ability of the oil of Holy Basil to repel
mosquitoes has been shown in case studies. The application of the oil onto the skin,
clothing or mosquito nets has been shown to be of practical use in the prevention of malaria
and other mosquito-transmitted diseases. Other research has shown it repels a number
of other insects. Tulsi has been shown to prevent DNA damage
and the potential for tumor creation in a number of studies. In one study, researchers from India’s National
Environmental Engineering Research Institute tested human lymphocytes in the laboratory
and found that a Holy Basil extract protected against DNA strand breaks. Other studies have shown that Tulsi and its
constituents protect against DNA damage related to radiation and chemical exposures. Research has also shown that Holy Basil can
halt the growth of tumors that have already begun to develop. Researchers from Wayne State University treated
mice with breast tumors and found the Tulsi extract group inhibited the growth of the
tumors. One of Tulsi’s constituents, known as vicenin-2,
was tested against prostate tumors, with similar inhibition of growth in the tumor. Researchers from the University of Nebraska
Medical Center tested Holy Basil against human pancreatic cancer cells in the lab. They found that Tulsi blocked the growth of
the cancer cells into tumors. Tulsi blocked their proliferation, their migration
and their invasion of pancreatic cells. Researchers from South Korea’s Kyung Hee
University found that Tulsi fights cancer on tests on human lung cancer cells. The researchers found that the extract significantly
suppressed COX-2 enzymes. The extract also suppressed the growth of
the lung cancer cells. A 2013 study reviewed other research on Tulsi’s
ability to treat or prevent cancer. They concluded that the wealth of research
on the oil and extract showed it to be anti-cancer. A couple of studies have investigated Tulsi’s
ability to halt or treat liver damage. Both studies showed Holy Basil had a positive
effect on the liver’s health. These and other researchers have thus described
Holy Basil as “hepatoprotective” – which means it protects the liver. Research from the All India Institute of Medical
Sciences tested 24 healthy people. They gave either a placebo or 300 milligrams
of Tulsi each day for four weeks. After the treatment period, those who were
given the Tulsi leaf extract showed significantly more T-helper cells, more natural killer cells,
and increased IL-4 – indicative of a stronger and more vibrant immune system. Another study showed that Tulsi stimulated
the increase in monocytes – THP-1. This is another sign of a stronger immune
system. Researchers from India’s Sharma University
of Health Sciences fed rabbits two grams of fresh Tulsi leaf for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, the rabbits were
tested. Those fed the Tulsi had significantly increased
levels of testosterone. However, it also decreased sperm counts, and
a 1992 study showed that rats fed Tulsi showed reduced libido. Researchers tested five Ayurvedic medicinal
plants against two Candida species – Candida albicans and C. tropicalis. Of the five herbal extracts tested, an oil
extract of Tulsi showed the greatest inhibition against the Candida species. They stated: Researchers from Japan’s Prefectural University
of Hiroshima tested a number of plant extracts from Asia and South America and found that
Tulsi in particular was able to inhibit Leishmania. Leishmania is caused by several species of
parasites often spread through sand flies in some parts of the world. A 2014 study from India’s College of Dental
Sciences and Hospital studied Holy Basil against a number of infective bacteria. These included Prevotella and Fusobacterium
species, which are two infective bacteria found in gingivitis and other infections of
the oral cavity. The research tested Holy Basil as a mouthwash
and tested it against chlorhexidine as well as a placebo. The research found that the Holy Basil wash
inhibited bacteria similarly to chlorhexidine – a potent antibacterial agent with a number
of side effects. A study from India’s Santosh Dental College
tested 45 children with infections of Streptococcus mutans – the major bacteria involved in
periodontal disease. The researchers tested six different plant
extracts along with chlorhexidine. They found that while Tulsi was not as strong
as garlic, it did have antibacterial activity against the bacteria. Ancient Ayurveda suggests that Tulsi is useful
to reduce pain in various conditions. This ability has been confirmed in a number
of studies, as Holy Basil has been shown to inhibit the cyclooxygenase 2 enzyme – the
inflammatory enzyme known to stimulate substance P – which stimulates the sensation of pain
within the nerves. In a 2016 review of research, scientists from
India’s Father Muller Medical College studied the research evidence of Holy Basil to protect
the body from the onslaughts of radiation. The researchers found a number of studies
showing that the extract helped protect the body from radiation, including radiation sickness
and death from radiation. Hey thanks for tuning in. To keep up to date on future health news,
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