Holy basil is a medicinal powerhouse that goes by a lot of different names – Hot Basil, Indian Basil, Tulsi, Krishna Tulsi, Ocimum sanctum, Ocimum tenuiflorum, Red Holy Basil, and The Incomparable One – just to name a few.

But this potent plant lives up to its special names. Turns out, Ocimum sanctum’s been famous for over 3,000 years for its ability to help people heal, because Tulsi leaves are anti-stress agents. In fact, not only the leaves, but also the stem, flower, root, and seeds have been known to potentially better your health – throughout your whole body.

The bush falls under the basil family, and though it grows in tropical climates throughout the world, many think it originated in north-central India. It is used as a natural remedy for several issues that can upset the human body. For instance, Ocimum sanctum has been used in traditional medicine to help:

Holy Basil | Urban Monk

  • Curb diarrhea
  • Defend against various skin issues
  • Reduce painful inflammation and stiffness in the joints
  • Protect your system against certain diseases
  • Heal insect bites
  • Prevent the growth of yeasts and other fungi
  • Reduce growth of bad bacteria
  • Protect the heart from disease
  • Relieve involuntary muscle spasms1

It’s really been considered a powerful tool… but does modern medicine back it up?

Why Tulsi Earned the Nickname “Liquid Yoga”

Many scientists and researchers have noted the psychological and physiological benefits of Tulsi. These benefits harken back to the wisdom of Ayurveda – an ages-old medicinal practice that celebrates the ways in which plants and foods can help you heal.

And holy basil leaf is not only consumed by people all over the world, it is also worshipped and used for spiritual purposes – in addition to its many uses as a medicine.

Why is Holy Basil Leaf called The Incomparable One?

Though Ocimum sanctum – aka The Incomparable One – tastes bitter and spicy, it’s considered to be an elixir of life in some cultures. In fact, it’s even known as the “Mother Medicine of Nature.” The thing is, Ocimum sanctum might just be one of the top examples of how a holistic approach to health can really work.

And when it comes to promoting longevity, Tulsi really fits the bill. Some even report that Tulsi goes beyond internal remedies, helping you look healthier by –

  • Providing a gentle sheen to your complexion
  • Boosting stamina
  • Encouraging a calm, emotional disposition
  • Anxiety
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Indigestion
  • Hiccups
  • Vomiting
  • Back pain2

Tulsi is such a powerful herb because it’s what’s called an adaptogen.

Just What is an Adaptogen?

Well, simply put, an adaptogen is a botanical or herb that can improve your body’s ability to adapt to all kinds of stress.

Holy Basil | Urban MonkNot only that, but adaptogens are thought to help boost strength, stamina, mental clarity, and endurance in order to help you handle intense environmental circumstances, hot or cold weather, a busy day, loud and constant noise, or many other types of stressful environments and situations.

Tulsi, Ocimum sanctum, holy basil – or whatever you want to call it – can really help your body (and your mind) adapt to the large scope of infectious, physical, emotional, or chemical stresses you might encounter. In fact, in a recent study, general stress-induced symptoms like forgetfulness, sexual issues, fatigue, and problems sleeping decreased significantly.3

So, How Can Ocimum Sanctum Help You Face the World and its Stresses?

Well, it’s a mad, mad world out there. And it seems to only be getting more stressful – which is ironic, considering how much emphasis is put on rest, relaxation, recreation, and peace of mind. Nevertheless, many people are constantly looking for ways to decrease stress or anxiety and increase mindfulness and a zen outlook. Can Ocimum sanctum really make a difference?

According to a recent study, yes Tulsi can. Turns out, in otherwise healthy subjects provided with 500mg of Tulsi twice daily after meals, supplementation seemed to reduce various symptoms of generalized anxiety when measured using Hamilton’s Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale.4

Keeping Your Body Healthy With Tulsi

The most definitive properties of Ocimum sanctum have to do with its high content of polyphenolic compounds and antioxidant functions. Tulsi’s rich in polyphenols, which means it can really help your body m running in the right ways.5

Furthermore, studies show that holy basil protects against injuries caused by ingesting toxic chemicals, because its consumption allows for an increase in your body’s antioxidant levels. Antioxidants are responsible for protecting your cells and membranes from destructive free radicals that can wreak havoc on your body.6

What Makes Holy Basil So Strong?

Well, for starters, holy basil is chock full of vitamin A and vitamin C. But, there are so many other minerals and nutrients. For instance, you’ll find the following beneficial nutrients in Tulsi –

    • Zinc
    • Iron
    • Protein
    • Calcium
    • Phosphorus
    • Iron7

And it has virtually no fat. Furthermore, Tulsi contains a good amount of ursolic acid – which helps support your body in a process called apoptosis. That’s when your body gets rid of the cells it no longer needs because of new cell growth.8

These compounds, minerals, and nutrients are part of the formula that makes the holy basil leaf able to not only help fight toxic stress, but to help protect the body against other types of stress as well.

Holy Basil Can Help You Weather Two Types of Stress

Holy Basil | Urban Monk Nutrition

1. It Can Help To Fight Against Everyday Physical Stress

There are so many reasons for your body to encounter physical stress — the stress the world puts on your muscles, joints, bones, and organs.

Whether you’re asked to exert too much energy too fast, you’re exposed to extreme temperatures, or if there’s any other reason your equilibrium is thrown off – you need your body to respond the way it was meant to. These are physical stresses.

But if for some reason, you become unable to adapt to these stressors, your body may actually start to maladapt (or adapt in the wrong way). Because Tulsi helps your body adapt in the right way, it can also help keep your body safe from this particular kind of damage.

2. It Can Help You To Deal With Mental Stress

Do you ever feel like the fast pace of life has ever had an effect on, not just your body, but your mind as well?

It’s not about how fast you run … it’s about how you can suddenly be reached at any hour, and in any location. Sometimes it seems like there’s no escape. In some ways, modern living can take as much of a toll on your well-being – if not more of a toll – than chemical stress and physical stress.

And mental stress might also build upon the effects of pollutants, leading to even more anxiety about what dangers could affect your body.

But in recent studies, Ocimum sanctum has been observed to reduce stress, anxiety, and even depression.
In fact, one study proved that Tulsi significantly improved general stress scores, sexual and sleep problems, and symptoms such as forgetfulness and exhaustion.9

So, What Does it all Mean?

Well, of course, it’s true that modern scientific research suggests Ocimum sanctum is effective in helping to treat a pretty broad range of stressful conditions. But, especially in Ayurvedic practices, Tulsi is usually administered as a preventive measure.

If you use it in advance of needing to treat any problems that may arise, you’ll enhance your body’s ability to adapt to the intense psychological and physical stresses today’s environment and pace of life present. It’s for this reason that several Ayurvedic practitioners suggest regular consumption of Tulsi tea.Holy Basil | Urban Monk

In the End …

If you want to nurture and nourish your mind, spirit, and body in the best way possible and encourage true overall wellness, ditch the caffeine, sugar, and processed foods and beverages you’ve come to rely on, and give Ocimum sanctum a try.

You can experience the truly calming effect Ocimum sanctum offers. Perhaps you’ll even discover a clearer way of thinking and a more relaxed, even-keeled disposition.

And, there’s no danger when it comes to Tulsi. You can safely consume Ocimum tenuiflorum on a regular basis without having to worry about negative effects.10

So, on your next tea break, give Ocimum Sanctum a try. Build it into your daily routine, and see if it really is the “incomparable one”.


For more health wisdom from Eastern philosophies and the Urban Monk, keep reading here:

What is Feng Shui And How to Improve Your Life With It?
Chakras 101: What Are They And How Can You Use Them?