Do not be confused with the basil you grow in your garden and top off your pasta with, holy basil is actually the most revered of all the ayurvedic herbs. Also known as Tulsi, holy basil has been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine to lower elevated cortisol, regulate blood sugar, ease anxiety, lower stress levels, and help you fall asleep.
Ayurveda And It’s Importance In Modern Lifestyle
Ayurvedic medicines also known as Ayurveda (Sanskrit term that means “the science of life” or “life knowledge”) is a system that originated in northern India over 5000 years ago, and is one of the world’s oldest holistic (whole-body) healing systems. It is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
Because of the crazy, high-paced, demanding and at times, overwhelming world most of us live in, holy basil is needed now more than ever. In today’s world, people are working more and relaxing less. They are compromising sleep in order to feel the satisfaction of crossing out more things on their to-do list.
This contributes to feeling like crap, constantly being stressed out, being plagued by anxiety, unable to shut off our brain at night, snapping at everyone and just constantly feeling on the fritz!
What Is Holy Basil?
Holy basil is in the mint family and it’s Latin name is Ocimum sanctum. Holy basil is known in natural medicine as an adaptogenic herb. These types of adaptogenic herbs, work with your endocrine and hormone system to bring you back to balance.
So, when you are having a stressed out day, and you are taking holy basil, it is actually helping your body to better adapt to the stress you are experiencing, and help you function as optimally as possible during that stressful time.
Who Should Take Holy Basil?
If you are someone who:
- Drinks a lot of coffee or has a high caffeine intake.
- Is highly active and works out a lot.
- Is a high anxiety person.
- Feels stressed out all the time.
- Is a worrywart.
- Has trouble shutting off your brain at night.
- Has insomnia, trouble sleeping or wake up often throughout the night.
- Has elevated cortisol levels.
- Has adrenal fatigue.
Then, this herb will do wonders for you!
What Are The Health Benefits Of Holy Basil?
For those of you who don’t know, according to Medline Plus: “The adrenal glands are small glands located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones that you can not live without, including sex hormones and cortisol. Cortisol helps you respond to stress and has many other important functions. With adrenal gland disorders, your glands make too much or not enough hormones.”
When you get stressed out, your body releases too much cortisol. Since, we register stress from all things such as a work deadline, a hard and long workout, a relationship, sitting in traffic, watching TV, eating sugar, drinking coffee, etc. your body is constantly releasing excess cortisol. This cortisol interferes with the other hormones you have, and you wind up with a hormonal imbalance.
The more cortisol you have, the more stress your adrenal glands begin to experience. In simple words, if you are stressing out (remember, there are many types of stress) then your adrenal glands are spewing out that cortisol over and over again, and you end up having some sort of hormonal imbalance.
Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance
Your hormonal imbalance may manifest as:
- Lack of sleep.
- Excess belly fat & weight gain.
- Feeling tired even when you get a full night’s sleep, or have trouble getting out of bed.
- You get sick easily.
- You have PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) or PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).
- You crave unhealthy foods like sugar, carbs, and caffeine.
- Your sex drive is in the crapper.
- You have gut problems such as nausea, heartburn, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, or constipation.
- You feel anxious often.
- You feel sad, blue and slightly depressed.
- You have to pee a lot.
- You are moody and irritable.
- Your hands and feet feel excessively cold during the day.
- You get muscle cramps.
So, to wrap this up, it is very important for your overall well-being for you to manage and eliminate your many forms of stress and their triggers. One way you can do this is with Holy Basil.
Recommended Dosage Of Holy Basil
There are a few forms of holy basil out there, such as supplement and tea form. I myself love the supplement form and feel the effects of it within 20 or so minutes. Jim Nicolai, MD, Medical Director of the Andrew Weil, MD, Integrative Wellness Program at Miraval in Tucson recommends 1-2 capsules in the early evening.
I don’t know about you, but I get stressed out easily in the winter. The gray days, cold weather, lack of sunshine and fresh air, can get me kind of cranky and depressed. Holy basil is a must for me during the winter season.