Image for Holy basil ()
Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • 4-allyl-1-O-beta-D-glucopyronosyl-2-hydroxybenzene, ajaka, apigenin, bai gka-prow, bai gkaprow, baranda, basilici herba, beta-elemene, brinda, cinnamyl acetate, cirsilineol, cirsimaritin, common basil, eugenol, fatty acids, flavonoids, garden basil, green holy basil, hot basil, hydroxychavicol glucoside, Indian basil, isothymonin, isothymusin, kala tulasi, kala tulsi, kemangen manjari, Krishna tulsi, krishnamul, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, Manjari tulsi, OciBest®, Ociglycoside-I, Ocimum sanctum, Ocimum sanctum seed oil, Ocimum tenuiflorum, oleic acid, orientin, palmitic acid, parnasa, patra-puspha, polysaccharides, Rama tulsi, red holy basil, rosmarinic acid, sacred basil, sacred purple basil, shayama tulsi, St. Joseph's wort, stearic acid, suvasa tulasi, Thai basil, thulasi, thulsi, triterpene acids ,Trittavu, tulasi, tulshi, tulsi, tulsi chajadha, vicenin, Vishnu priya, zinc.
  • Selected combination products: Caps HT2 (Commiphora mukul, Allium sativum, Plumbago indica, Semecarpus anacardium, Hemidesmus indicus, Terminalia arjuna, Tinospora cordifolia, Withania somnifera and Ocimum sanctum), EuMil® (Withania somnifera L., Dunal, Ocimum sanctum L., Asparagus racemosus Willd. and Emblica officinalis Gaertn.), Immu-21® (extracts of Ocimum sanctum, Withania somnifera, Emblica officinalis and Tinospora cordifolia), Opthacare® (Carum copticum, Terminalia bellirica, Emblica officinalis, Curcuma longa, Ocimum sanctum, Rosa damascena and Cinnamomum camphora), Siotone® (Withania somnifera, Ocimum sanctum, Asparagus racemosus, Tribulus terristris and shilajit), Transina™ (Withania somnifera, Tinospora cordifolia, Eclipta alba, Ocimum sanctum, Picrorrhiza kurroa and shilajit), Zyflamend® (Baikal skullcap, barberry, Chinese goldthread, ginger, green tea, Indian holy basil, hu zhang, orégano, rosemary, and turmeric).
  • Not included in this review: Sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • The two primary types of basil are closely related: Ocimum basilicum (sweet basil), which is a staple of Italian and Asian cooking, and Ocimum sanctum (holy basil), which has a religious use or origin in different cultures. Both forms are native to India and Southeast Asia, although they are grown around the world.
  • Holy basil has been extensively used for its medicinal values by a number of cultures (1). Chinese medicine uses holy basil for stomach spasms, kidney conditions, and promoting blood circulation, as well as for treating snake and insect bites.
  • In India, holy basil is known as tulsi, which translates as "incomparable one." The plant, which is considered sacred, is used extensively in religious ceremonies and is believed to protect any home where it is grown. According to Ayurvedic tradition, tulsi is one of the best herbs to prepare the heart and mind for spiritual practices, resolve colds and flu, treat snake bites and many skin conditions, and reduce fever (2).
  • Modern research on holy basil suggests that holy basil contains powerful antioxidants and it may be hepatoprotective (2). Also, preliminary clinical studies investigated holy basil's effect on ulcers and blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics (3), as well as anxiety/stress (4;5), prevention of cavities (6), and immunomodulation (7;8).

Dosing/Toxicology

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Precautions/Contraindications

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Mechanism of Action

  • Content available for subscribers only.

History

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Evidence Table

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Evidence Discussion

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Products Studied

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Author Information

  • Content available for subscribers only.

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  • Content available for subscribers only.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.