Holy Basil (Tulsi)

Submitted by Thiruvelan on Wed, 06/20/2012
Holy Basil (Tulsi) May Help Lower Cholesterol

Holy basil is in use traditionally as an “adaptogen.” Tulsi can dissolve cholesterol build-up in the arteries and releases it into the bloodstream and then kidneys expel them as waste.

How does Basil lower your cholesterol level?

What is Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)? Holy basil is a plant native to India and is in use traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine as an “adaptogen” means it increase body's resistance to being physical, chemical or environmental stressors. Indian Hindus considering it as a sacred plant and often planted around Hindu shrines. The Hindu name for holy basil is Tulsi; it means "the incomparable one." Medicinal parts of basil are their leaves, stems, and seeds.

How does Basil lower your cholesterol level? Ocimum sanctum can lower lipid levels, but their mechanism of action is still unclear. Various studies show there is no potential inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase has observed. Basil essential oil contains eugenol, a phenolic compound that may be responsible for its action to lower high serum lipid profile.

How does Basil lower heart diseases & strokes risk?

Eugenol in holy basil has possessed antioxidant activity. Oxidation of low-density lipoprotein is an important risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis. Eugenol acts as an antioxidant to inhibit LDL oxidation and so decrease atherogenic index (AI) levels as well as cardiac lipid peroxidation and significantly enhanced the activity of the cardiac antioxidant enzymes. Basil can be successful in preventing atherosclerosis and heart diseases.

13 Medicinal Uses of Basil

  1. Basil has some efficacy to improve lipid profile. It can lower total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol levels. It shows some increase in HDL cholesterol levels.
  2. Holy Basil has antioxidant property and helps to prevent plaque formation, so useful for heart diseases.
  3. Tulsi may be also helpful in improving blood-glucose levels in diabetes.
  4. Holy basil is useful for the common cold, influenza (flu), and H1N1 (swine) flu.
  5. Basil can also help in treating asthma, and bronchitis.
  6. Tulsi can improve appetite and digestion, useful to treat stomach upset and gastric ulcer. It is helpful in digestion problems such as indigestion, heartburn, bloating, vomiting, intestinal gas, diarrhea, dysentery, and intestinal worms.
  7. Holy Basil also shows to heal an earache, headache, fever, viral hepatitis, malaria, and tuberculosis.
  8. Basil is also useful for mercury poisoning. It can counteract snack, and scorpion bites as well as promote longevity.
  9. A study suggests Tulsi has a COX-2 inhibitor activity, similar to modern drug-based painkillers, may be due to its high concentration of eugenol.
  10. Holy basil can lower stress-related hypertension and normalizes the blood pressure.
  11. Tulsi can protect your heart, blood vessels and promotes proper circulation.
  12. It has the mild blood-thinning capability; thereby it decreases the chances of strokes.
  13. Basil helps and protects your liver; it helps to attain healthy liver function, detoxification of blood by improving the liver’s ability to metabolic breakdown of poisons (dangerous chemicals) in the blood.

Recommended Basil daily dosage

The appropriate dose of holy basil depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and other conditions. Also, basil has varieties; each one has been varying bioactive composition, thus dosage various.

For the preventive purpose, dried Tulsi leaves of 300mg to 600mg daily, and 600mg to 1800mg can take as divided dosage for two/three times a day. Even some recommend a dose of two grams/twice/day of freshly dried herb taken for several months. Recommended dosage of Holy basil extracts is 250 to 450mg a day. Child dosage is normally a quarter to half that of the adult dosage.

Basil available in different forms

Tulsi is available in different forms of powdered leaves as capsules, and extracts.

The basil extracts are available as soft gels; the dosage is decided based on the bioactive composition of the final extract. Consult your physician for exact dosage.

How do you take Basil?

Holy basil tea needs 2 grams of basil leaves, sugar/honey to taste, and a cup of milk/water. In a tea pan, bring milk/water to boil, add basil leaves, lower the heat and allow it to brew for 3 to 4 minutes, add sugar/honey to taste, strain it into a cup, and enjoy it.

If you decide to take the supplement as a capsule or soft gel extracts, then you can take it along with a cup of milk. Because the basil is considering as a warming herb, so you need milk (cooling) to counteract this.

Bioactive constituents of Basil

Phytochemical compounds present in the tulsi leaf are eugenol (a volatile oil), ursolic acid (triterpenoid) and rosmarinic acid (phenylpropanoid). Other bioactive compounds are caryophyllene and oleanolic acid. Holy basil seed contains oils of linoleic acid and linolenic acid.

Nutritional value of basil includes vitamins (A & C), minerals (calcium, iron & zinc) and chlorophyll.

Scientific evidence for Basil as natural cholesterol herb

A clinical study "Antidiabetic, antihypercholesterolemic and antioxidant effect of Ocimum sanctum (Linn) seed oil" was investigated in rabbits published in Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. The study result confirms basil does not possess anti-diabetic effect but has significant hypolipidemic and antioxidant activity. Lipid lowering effect may be due to some constituent in oil which either increases catabolism or interferes with absorption of cholesterol.

Possible side effects & medicine interaction of Basil

Tulsi has a long history of traditional use in India. It is safe and available as a dietary supplement. Holy basil might slow blood clotting, so there is a concern that it could increase the risk of bleeding.

Holy basil might slow blood clotting, taking it along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting includes aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Pentobarbital cause’s drowsiness, taking holy basil seed oil with pentobarbital might cause too much drowsiness.