Holy Basil Research

October 21, 2011 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

A review in the December 2009 edition of the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology describes Tulsi or holy basil as a traditional herbal remedy with a promising track record in animal and in-vitro studies. The authors of the analysis report numerous medicinal properties including anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and neuro-protective effects as exhibited in preliminary experiments. The one criticism laid out in the paper is the paucity of data stemming from trials involving human subjects. In the months and years since the review, several human studies have quietly been published in the medical literature.

The latest trial involved a group of 150 volunteers who received either a placebo or 1,200 mg/day of holy basil extract. Over the course of 6 weeks, researchers assessed whether the herbal supplement was more effective than a placebo in alleviating stress in the participants. The results indicate that those receiving holy basil demonstrated a 39% greater reduction in stress related symptoms. Other important findings of late confirm Tulsi’s: a) immune system balancing potential, as evidenced by healthful changes in levels of interleukin-4, natural killer cells and T-helper cells; b) ability to attenuate “generalized anxiety” and “its correlated stress and depression” in young men and women; c) ability to reduce fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels in diabetics by 17.6% and 7.3% respectively. These compelling findings tend to support historical accounts of Tulsi use and the hundreds upon hundreds of modern studies carried out in experimental models of disease.

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – The Science Behind Sacredness of Tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum Linn.) (link)

Study 2 – Efficacy of an Extract of Ocimum Tenuiflorum (OciBest) in the(link)

Study 3 – Double-Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial for Immunomodulatory (link)

Study 4 – Controlled Programmed Trial of Ocimum Sanctum Leaf on Generalized (link)

Study 5 – Randomized Placebo-Controlled, Single Blind Trial of Holy Basil Leaves (link)

Holy Basil May Also Protect Against Ionizing Radiation

Source: J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2007 March; 40(2): 74–81. (link)

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Posted in Diabetes, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements

6 Comments & Updates to “Holy Basil Research”

  1. Pradip Gharpure of WWW.freebesthealth.com Says:

    Tulsi or holi basil is of great medicinal value. It is best for cough, cold, pain in throat, mouth freshness etc. Eating few leaves of tulsi or holi basil every day morning is great healthy habit. Many Indians plant Tulsi in their home for this reason.

  2. JP Says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Pradip. Much appreciated! 🙂

    Be well!


  3. Josh Says:

    Anyone have suggestions or information on a specified daily dosage for helping to treat an anxiety disorder?



  4. JP Says:

    Hi, Josh.

    I know of two studies that may be relevant:



    More info. on OciBest (second link) http://www.ocibest.com/

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Update: A comprehensive review of holy basil/tulsi …


    J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014 Oct-Dec;5(4):251-9.

    Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons.

    The predominant cause of global morbidity and mortality is lifestyle-related chronic diseases, many of which can be addressed through Ayurveda with its focus on healthy lifestyle practices and regular consumption of adaptogenic herbs. Of all the herbs used within Ayurveda, tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn) is preeminent, and scientific research is now confirming its beneficial effects. There is mounting evidence that tulsi can address physical, chemical, metabolic and psychological stress through a unique combination of pharmacological actions. Tulsi has been found to protect organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals, and physical stress from prolonged physical exertion, ischemia, physical restraint and exposure to cold and excessive noise. Tulsi has also been shown to counter metabolic stress through normalization of blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, and psychological stress through positive effects on memory and cognitive function and through its anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties. Tulsi’s broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, which includes activity against a range of human and animal pathogens, suggests it can be used as a hand sanitizer, mouthwash and water purifier as well as in animal rearing, wound healing, the preservation of food stuffs and herbal raw materials and traveler’s health. Cultivation of tulsi plants has both spiritual and practical significance that connects the grower to the creative powers of nature, and organic cultivation offers solutions for food security, rural poverty, hunger, environmental degradation and climate change. The use of tulsi in daily rituals is a testament to Ayurvedic wisdom and provides an example of ancient knowledge offering solutions to modern problems.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Update: An interesting, older study …


    Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1996 Sep;34(9):406-9.

    Randomized placebo-controlled, single blind trial of holy basil leaves in patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

    Agrawal P1, Rai V, Singh RB.

    Experimental studies on albino rats reported that leaf extract of Ocimum sanctum and Ocimum album (holy basil) had hypoglycemic effect. To explore further evidence we studied the effects of treatment with holy basil leaves on fasting and postprandial blood glucose and serum cholesterol levels in humans through randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover single blind trial. Results indicated a significant decrease in fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels during treatment with holy basil leaves compared to during treatment with placebo leaves. Fasting blood glucose fell by 21.0 mg/dl, confidence interval of difference -31.4 – (-)11.2 (p < 0.001), and postprandial blood glucose fell by 15.8 mg/dl, confidence interval -27.0 - (-)5.6 (p < 0.02). The lower values of glucose represented reductions of 17.6% and 7.3% in the levels of fasting and postprandial blood glucose, respectively. Urine glucose levels showed similar trend. Mean total cholesterol levels showed mild reduction during basil treatment period. The findings from this study suggest that basil leaves may be prescribed as adjunct to dietary therapy and drug treatment in mild to moderate NIDDM. Be well! JP

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