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  • Writer's pictureDr. Wilde


Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Holy Basil is an herb used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, which also goes by the appellation of “holy tulsi” or Ocimum tenuiflorum. It has long been touted the “Queen of Herbs” in Ayurveda. While it is closely related to culinary basil, the two are far different from one another in applications. Holy Basil has both medicinal and religious purposes. Many Indian homes will have a holy basil plant, which they tend with exceptional care and devotion. The woody stalks of the plant are sometimes used to form beads in malas or rosaries. This herb has been used for thousands of years in treating coughs, colds, the flu, digestive issues and skin disorders

Source: Holy Basil grows on just about every continent but is indigenous to India. It thrives in Mediterranean climates



Antioxidant: Shown to increase the antioxidant superoxide dismutase and catalase

Immune Boosting: Raises T-helper cells and natural killers cells. Increases the Th1 and Th2 immune response

Candida: Eradicates the growth of candida and cleanses the digestive system of contributing sugars or yeast overgrowth leading to skin, vaginal or digestive infections

Fights Acne: As it kills bacteria and infection, holy basil is excellent in combating acne. It works both internally and externally on skin issues. The main active ingredient of holy basil is eugenol, the strong antimicrobial in cloves. When paired with coconut oil on the skin, effects are strong against skin diseases

Diabetes: Has shown benefits for non-insulin dependent diabetics in controlling blood glucose

Anti-Cancer: Holy basil has shown efficacy in protecting DNA damage in liver and increasing antioxidants. The primary active ingredient, eugenol, has been shown to kill certain cancer cells, such as breast cancer. Other compounds in holy basil show marked effect on inhibiting and killing multiple types cancer growths. When combining Holy Basil with Turmeric, great results were achieved in treating cancer. For those who have undergone chemo, holy basil helps protect against DNA damage caused by radiation

Anti-Bacterial: Shown effective against Staphylococcus and other bacterial infections. Has shown to be more effective than penicillin or ciprofloxacin in treating gonorrhea

Headaches: It has long been used in Ayurveda to treat headaches. Many use this powerful herb to treat migraines in various stages. Diffusing the herb as an essential oil or drinking as a tea give the best results for headaches

Nutritive Dense Properties: Holy basil is a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Zinc, Iron and Chlorophyll

Anti-Viral: Studies shown improved immune response to viral infections. Results show it to inhibit HSV2 outbreaks and other herpes strains. Benefits against Swine Flu

Anti-Histamine: Blocks the release of histamine in those who are intolerant or sensitive, especially in cases of chronic seasonal or indoor allergies

Testosterone: Elevates testosterone in natural age-related reduction, can be used as a natural alternative to prescription drugs


Risks: There is some evidence that Holy Basil can have mild anti-fertility effects in women


Sustainability: While Holy Basil grows wild all around the world, it is easily grown at home in pots or in the yard. This herb takes only 2 to 3 months to harvest

Processing: Holy Basil is an annual (perennial depending on growing conditions) which requires simple planting instructions. They suffer from over-watering as all basil plants are prone to “damping-off” disease caused by too much moisture. After 6 weeks, the central stem of the herb is pared down, leaving only a couple leaf clusters, encouraging the plant to branch out laterally with new leaf growth. The buds of the plant will consistently need to be shorn as when the flowers bloom, the plant stops producing leaves. Continuing with this regular maintenance, after about 8 weeks of growth and cultivation, the leaves can be harvested and used for tea, tinctures and can be consumed in its raw form. The herb requires plenty of direct sunlight and is best planted after the last Spring frost depending on the climate in which it is being grown. With proper cultivation, you can collect 15-25 cups of leaves from one plant per season.

Note: After the first autumn frost, the basil will be ruined in a black, sticky mess. All harvesting needs to be completed prior to the frost


Resources: - Inhibiting and treating cancer

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