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|Focus on Herbs: Holy
Basil/tulsi: The Queen of Herbs
|by Lynne Latella
|Meaning "matchless" or
"incomparable one" in Sanskrit, Holy Basil, or Tulsi, has held the
status of Queen of Herbs throughout the ages. It is the most important
and sacred herb in the Hindu religion and has been successfully used by
Ayurvedics for centuries to treat respiratory ailments, digestive and
skin disorders, dental problems and many other health issues.
Not to be confused with the pungent culinary herb, Tulsi is used in
formulas to treat malaria, the common cold, stomach disorders, heart
disease, headaches, food poisoning, inflammation, bronchitis and
asthma. The essential oil is used in cosmetics and skin preparations
because of its antibacterial properties. For centuries, Tulsi leaves
have been mixed with grains to repel insects.
Modern research has shown that Holy Basil contains powerful
anti-stressor properties more potent than those contained in ginseng.
It has been suggested that chewing 12 Holy Basil leaves twice a day can
relieve stress. It may also be effective as a pain reliever,
anti-inflammatory agent and as treatment for fungal and bacterial
infections. Components in this herb contain anti-oxidant properties
which help neutralize free radicals.
Taken internally and applied topically, this herb has been useful in
soothing insect bites, healing infections and treating certain skin
conditions. It has been shown that Tulsi can counteract halitosis and
help maintain dental health. In its powdered form, it has been used as
toothpaste to clean teeth and strengthen gums.
New studies indicate that Tulsi may help to stabilize blood sugar,
thereby being useful for diabetic conditions. However, results aren't
conclusive. Unfortunately, most research has been performed solely on
animals, so applications for humans cannot be totally verified at this
point. However, centuries of effective use by Indian herbalists and its
revered place in medicinal history may indicate that its healing
properties are very real.
As an adaptogen, Tulsi is helpful in balancing various body functions
and alleviating stress, anxiety and depression. The Co-op carries a
variety of teas and health preparations that include the healing
benefits of Tulsi. Some of the products are as follows:
• Organic India Tulsi Tea – Support for stress, depression and anxiety.
The varieties include the Original formula, Lemon Ginger, Green Tea,
Pomegranate Green, Chai Masala and Vanilla Crème. Although some
of these are blended with black or green tea, Tulsi moderates the
effects of caffeine, thus reducing the jittery side effects.
• Oregon's Wild Harvest Happy Tea – Stress formula that contains Tulsi,
passionflower, chamomile, skullcap and lavender.
• Oregon's Wild Harvest Holy Basil Tea Blend – Available in bulk.
• New Chapter Supercritical Holy Basil – The active molecules in these
capsules promote a health response to inflammation and elevate the
• Oregon's Wild Harvest Capsules
• Gaia Adrenal Health – Contains Tulsi, rhodiola, ashwaganda, wild
oats, schizandra to support a healthy adrenal function.
• Gaia Holy Basil Capsules
• New Chapter Zyflamend Softgels – Contains Holy Basil, turmeric,
rosemary, ginger, green tea, Hu Zhang, oregano, skullcap, barberry,
balkal and Chinese golden thread for help with inflammation, and
cardiovascular and joint function.
Although Holy Basil is well tolerated in most people, those who are
pregnant, nursing or trying to conceive should not take this herb. It
also should be avoided by those who are taking anti-coagulants.
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