Even though summer is just around the corner and the sun is shining more helping each and every one of us get our happy intake of vitamin D, stress still hides behind the sun’s rays and especially in these terrible economic times, stress relief is going to be hard to come by.
Not if you take this highly praised “Queen of Herbs,” say naturalists and nutritionists across the world. The Queen is called tulsi in India where it is used often, but here in America we call it holy basil. This natural remedy is popular for its anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant properties, but most well-known for its success in relieving stress.
For centuries, holy basil—known scientifically as Ocimum sanctum—has been popular in its native India and revered in the religious tradition of Hinduism. This herb has been the go-to remedy for all sorts of bodily conditions, as well as ailments of the mind and spirit, which is why it is considered so healing for those practicing Hindu, as it is representative of the natural trinity of healing: mind, spirit, and body.
Being stressed out over work, family, bills, or social pressures, can make adhering to a normal and healthy diet more difficult. The mix of multi-tasking, constantly worrying, and trying to maintain your body with added stress and time constraints often implodes in a cloud of emotions. If you feel your stress level is about to implode, think about adding a little holy basil to your everyday life. Holy basil comes in liquid extract form (that can be dropped into water, tea, or juice) as well as liquid capsules for easier consumption.
Not only will holy basil reduce your stress level and help to calm those possibly- mploding emotions, this helpful herb will add to your immunity levels and protect you from other serious bodily complications in the future. An herbalist from Planetary Ayurvedics, Roy Upton, explains how stress influences your body in negative ways resulting in pain and general suffering, “Stress can elevate cortisol levels, which triggers the production of inflammatory COX-2 enzymes. This cascade effect then influences blood sugar changes and increases metabolic inflammation. Research has shown that ursolic acid and the triterpenoic acids, isolated from holy basil, effectively improve the body’s response to stress.”
Holy basil comes in either red or green forms and is different from regular cooking basil, both because of its aroma and taste. Holy basil has more of a clove-like taste, making it spicier than original basil and with a stronger smell. Although more often used as a cultural healing device, holy basil has been in some scientific studies, though none done with humans involved in the experiments, so the evidence cannot be thoroughly translated from animal to human yet.
Dr. Weil—popular as a natural health author and educational guide—suggests that exercise and breathing exercises are probably the first steps you need to get balanced in terms of stress release on your own before pumping a bunch of herbs or prescription medications into your system. However, he also notes that he found an article from 1991 that was published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology that compared and contrasted the stress-reducing effects of holy basil against Siberian ginseng and Asian ginseng as potential remedies in laboratory animals. Holy basil was found to be the most successful at acting against stress out of all three and was also seen as the safest in terms of consumption and pattern of use.
Even if you are not suffering from stress or stress-related pain, you may also consider asking your doctor about holy basil as a remedy against any of these conditions or problems: slow memory functions, the common cold, fevers, excess of phlegm in the throat, coughing, sore throat, kidney stones, heart disorders/diseases, mouth infections, bug bites, respiratory problems such as asthma or other lung conditions, eye skin or teeth disorders, and headaches. Although it is said that holy basil may have been used at one time for any or all of these conditions, safety is first and precautions should be taken at all times. Please ask your doctor which natural remedies are safe for your body and recommended for general use.