What to know about holy basil

holy basil

Holy basil is a member of the basil family of herbs. It offers a number of potential health benefits and is used in traditional medicine in some cases.

The herb Ocimum sanctum is known as holy basil in English. This is not to be confused with the culinary basil, which comes from the plant Ocimum basilicum.

This article discusses the various forms and varieties of holy basil, as well as some of the advantages, side effects, and hazards associated with it. This page also explains how to take it and when to consult a doctor.

What is holy basil?

holy basil

Because of its medicinal powers, holy basil is used in a variety of herbal medicines.

Holy basil was first cultivated on the Indian subcontinent, where it was known as Tulsai in Sanskrit and Tulsi in Hindi.

Since then, it has expanded throughout the Eastern Tropics.


Holy basil can be found in a variety of forms. The color of their leaves can be used to distinguish between the different varieties.

The following are the three most prevalent types:

  • Rama or Sri Tulsi, which has green leaves
  • Krishna or Shyama Tulsi, which has purple leaves
  • Vana or wild/forest Tulsi, which has dark green leaves

Potential advantages

According to some research, holy basil has a number of health advantages that work with the body, mind, and soul to improve overall health.

The following are some of holy basil’s medical properties:

  • antidiabetic properties
  • antimicrobial properties
  • antioxidant properties

The herb also:

  • protects the liver
  • reduces inflammation
  • protects against radiation
  • reduces skin and wound infections
  • counteracts stress
  • boosts metabolism
  • improves the immune system

Holy basil is an ethical herb to get, with cultivation processes that typically involve fair trade and small-scale agricultural practices, in addition to its numerous health advantages. Thousands of farmers may be able to make a living by growing holy basil.

Side effects

A systematic review of the scientific literature on holy basil published in 2017 showed no evidence of the herb’s adverse effects.

However, according to a more recent study, ingesting too much holy basil can cause the following side effects:

  • It can reduce blood sugar to a dangerously low level, particularly for people with diabetes.
  • It can reduce the function of the male reproductive glands, affecting fertility.
  • It may affect fetal development during pregnancy.
  • The ursolic acid content can affect the menstrual cycle.

Additionally, the active component eugenol found in holy basil may cause the following symptoms:

  • liver damage
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • a rapid heartbeat

Risk factors

Holy basil, despite its natural origins, has medicinal benefits. As with any supplement, caution should be exercised when utilizing the herb for health reasons.

Importantly, people should not combine holy basil with pharmaceutical drugs without first consulting with a doctor.

Because of its anti-stress characteristics, the herb helps people relax, although it might cause drowsiness if used with certain drugs.

How to use holy basil

Depending on why someone wants to use holy basil, there are a variety of ways to do it. People can, for example, try:

  • taking supplements in the form of capsules or pills
  • making tea from the leaves
  • using oil from the seeds
  • consuming the seeds or leaves

The entire plant has both ceremonial and utilitarian purposes in Hinduism. People utilize holy basil for spiritual purposes, such as purification, and the herb’s smell repels insects.

Holy basil can be consumed in a variety of ways, including the ones listed below.


To create holy basil tea, combine dried leaves with boiling water and steep for 1–2 minutes.


Holy basil is regarded as a Goddess in Hinduism, and all components of the plant are considered sacred.

Having a holy basil plant in the house may offer mental and spiritual advantages. The herb can also be used as an insect repellent, keeping flies and mosquitos at bay.


People can take holy basil seed oil or apply it to their hair and other body parts.

Holy basil oil can also be used as an essential oil, which can be used in diffusers or candles, among other people. It’s worth mentioning, though, that holy basil isn’t on the FDA’s list of generally regarded as safe essential oils, oleoresins, and natural extractives.


Holy basil can be taken as a supplement in the form of capsules or pills. The amount of holy basil in the supplement affects the directions for use. People should always follow the label’s instructions.

Getting medical help

Supplements are not regulated by the FDA in the same manner that prescription medications are. As a result, it is advised that you obtain medical counsel before taking any dietary supplement.

Based on a person’s medical history, a healthcare practitioner can advise on dose and whether or not the supplement is appropriate to take.

If you’re taking holy basil for health reasons, talk to your doctor about any negative effects.


For thousands of years, people have used holy basil for its medicinal properties, including mental and bodily advantages.

Holy basil is thought to have antioxidant and antibacterial qualities, among other things, according to research. Although there is minimal evidence of long-term ill effects from using holy basil, excessive use may have negative consequences for one’s health.

More research is needed in humans to confirm the advantages and find the most optimal dosage at which the benefits occur. Because most studies on holy basil have been done in vitro or on animal models, this is the case.


  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4296439/
  • https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/fda-101-dietary-supplements
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5376420/
  • https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=182.20