If you’re looking for the best holy basil supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Holy Basil Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Holy Basil Supplements
|#1||New Chapter Holy Basil Force||More Info|
|#2||NOW Foods Holy Basil Extract||More Info|
|#3||Gaia Herbs Holy Basil Leaf||More Info|
|#4||Source Naturals Holy Basil Extract||More Info|
|#5||Organic India Tulsi-Holy Basil||More Info|
|#6||Solaray Holy Basil||More Info|
|#7||Nature’s Way Holy Basil||More Info|
|#8||Himalaya Holy Basil||More Info|
|#9||Bluebonnet Nutrition Holy Basil Leaf Extract||More Info|
|#10||Planetary Herbals Holy Basil Extract||More Info|
The Hindu religion considers holy basil to be a sacred plant, revered as a goddess. Every part of the plant is considered sacred. Some Greek Orthodox churches also use the plant for making “holy water.” Holy basil is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The plant grows in two varieties, one of which is pale yellow-green and the other of which is red.
Holy basil has long been used in the traditional Ayurvedic medicine system of India. Ayurveda is considered to be one of the world’s oldest systems of organized medicine, and possibly the oldest still in practice.
It focuses not only on treating disease but also on holistic lifestyle practices designed to encourage good health. Holy basil supplements are not only an important part of Ayurvedic medical practice but also regarded by Western allopathic medicine as having many health benefits.
What is Holy Basil?
Holy basil, also called tulsi, is related to the sweet basil plant commonly used in Western cooking, which is actually a member of the mint family. Its scientific name is Ocimum sanctum Linn or Ocimum tenuiflorum (either is acceptable), and the shrub is native to the warm parts of the world. The holy basil leaf has a more spicy, citrus-like flavor compared to its Western relative, is also edible, and is often used in Thai cooking.
In India, holy basil is traditionally used as part of Ayurveda as a treatment for a wide range of conditions that include:
- Back pain
- Eye diseases
- Heart Disease
- Insect bites
- Skin diseases
- Snake bites
Western allopathic medicine is able to confirm that holy basil has some effect on many of these conditions.
Benefits of Holy Basil Supplements
A significant amount of scientific evidence supports the health benefits of holy basil supplements. The physiological effects of holy basil include reducing inflammation in the body and lowering the blood sugar of people with diabetes. Early animal studies have shown that holy basil supplements containing the plant’s oil have some effect in slowing the progressive and extending the survival prospects from certain types of cancer, although much more research is needed before scientists will know whether this effect is applicable to humans.
Holy basil supplements are also rich in antioxidants, chemicals that help protect the body from damage from free radicals, which can damage human cells. Taking holy basil supplements during chemotherapy may help protect patients from some of the toxic effects of the treatment.
Some studies have also shown that holy basil supplements may be useful in the treatment of asthma. Animal studies have shown that holy basil extracts can help keep the bronchial airways open.
Other effects of taking holy basil supplements are cognitive. These effects include improved memory, reduction in insomnia, reduction in stress and anxiety, and reduction of depression symptoms. Research that compared the effects of holy basil for reducing stress to the effects of Asian ginseng and Siberian ginseng suggested that holy basil was the most effective of the three plants.
Supplement users also reported less exhaustion after taking holy basil supplements. Fighting fatigue and increasing endurance is another use of holy basil. It seems to work for promoting both physical and emotional endurance by reducing the amount of cortisol, the “stress hormone,” in the body. A health care practitioner may suggest that holy basil supplements be used in combination with other stress reduction techniques, such as exercise and yoga breathing exercises.
The oil from holy basil plants has been shown to kill bacteria, fungi, and some parasites. For this reason, the topical use of holy basil oil is effective as an antiseptic. It can also be used as a topical treatment for acne. Historically, it has been used as a treatment for allergic reactions to poison ivy and poison oak.
Are There any Side Effects?
Side effects as a result of taking holy basil supplements may include low blood sugar, increased tendency to bruise, increased tendency to bleed due to reduced ability to form blood clots, and decreased fertility. The anti-fertility effect is said to be mild.
People who tend to have low blood sugar, are taking blood thinner medications, or who are trying to get pregnant should consult with a health care provider before using holy basil supplements.
Some of the blood thinner medications that may interact with holy basil supplements include:
- Clopidogrel (Plavix)
- Dalteparin (Fragmin)
- Enoxaparin (Lovenox)
- Ticlopidine (Ticlid)
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
It may be unsafe to take holy basil supplements before surgery, since the supplements are associated with decreased blood clotting. Those who take holy basil supplements may decide to stop taking them for two weeks before any scheduled surgery.
Holy basil supplements should not be used by anyone who’s allergic to mint or to plants that are members of the mint family. Tulsi supplements are known to have interactions with several prescription medications. These include diazepam (Valium), pentobarbitol (Nembutal), and scopolamine. Combining pentobarbitol with holy basil supplements may cause excessive drowsiness, although it has not yet been determined whether this causes any long-term effects.
Those who are pregnant should not take holy basil supplements. These supplements have been associated with contractions of the uterus. More study is needed to determine if it is safe to use holy basil supplements while breast feeding.
How to Take Holy Basil Supplements
Holy basil supplements are available in capsule or tablet form. To take holy basil supplements to help relieve anxiety and/or depression, users should take a supplement containing 500 mg of holy basil leaf twice a day for 60 days. Using 400 mg of holy basil in the morning and 800 mg before bed for six weeks has been shown in some studies to reduce stress, fatigue, insomnia, and forgetfulness. More study is needed to determine if it is safe to take holy basil supplements for more than six weeks.
A common method for taking holy basil supplements is to brew the leaves into a tea. In the United States, individual tea bags containing holy basil leaves are available from health food stores. Dried holy basil leaves (approximately two teaspoons) can be steeped in one cup of hot water for about five minutes. Tea drinkers can grow their own holy basil plants at home, provided they place the plant in full sunlight and give it plenty of water, if they wish to harvest the fresh leaves for tea.
What to Look for in a Good Holy Basil Supplement
Consumers who want to use holy basil supplements may want to look for supplements made from organically-grown basil plants. Because one of the effects of the supplement is to help minimize the damage to the body from environmental pollutants, it would be counterproductive to allow environmental pollutants from non-organic growing practices to get into the final product.
It’s also important to buy holy basil supplements from a well-known and trusted manufacturer. Cases have been reported of manufacturers substituting the European basil plant, Ocimum basilicum L., for the holy basil plant. Although the European basil plant is not harmful and is regularly used in food, it does not have all of the same health benefits as the Asian holy basil plant.
Users of holy basil supplements might also choose to look for supplements that are made using “fair trade” practices. This means the farmers who produced the plant were paid a fair wage for their work and were not economically exploited.
As with any supplement, individuals should check with a health care provider before starting a supplement regimen. Those who wish to take holy basil supplements should talk to a health care provider about any specific health concerns before starting to take the supplement.