Holy basil works to reduce stress and defeat cancer
(NaturalHealth365) For millennia, holy basil – or tulsi – has been revered in the Ayurvedic medical system for its healing capabilities. Scientifically known as Ocimum sanctum, holy basil is currently earning respect from modern researchers for its abilities to alleviate the effects of chronic stress – while inhibiting the growth of cancer.
Today, we’ll focus our attention on the many health benefits of this therapeutic plant.
Holy basil is the ultimate adaptogen for every day use
To be classified as an adaptogen, a substance must strengthen the immune system, help the body function optimally during times of stress and even help prevent diseases such as cancer. Holy basil, with its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancing effects, does this in spades.
But, be aware: holy basil is not to be confused with “sweet basil,” or Ocimum basilicum, the flavorful and beneficial Mediterranean kitchen herb sold in grocery stores. Holy basil – sometimes called “Asian basil” – is a plant of Indian origin, and features some different constituents and properties.
Holy basil works on cellular and molecular levels to fight disease
In cellular studies, holy basil has shown the ability to repair cells damaged by oxidation – and even to repair cell DNA damaged by radiation, giving it chemopreventive effects. One of its compounds, BCP, or (E)-beta-caryophyllene, acts as a strong anti-inflammatory agent.
In fact, researchers say that holy basil, much like pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs, works to suppress levels of the pro-inflammatory chemical COX-2, helping to relieve pain and inflammation – but without unwanted side effects.
Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air. These chemicals - the 'off-gassing' of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials - increase your risk of nasal congestion, fatigue, poor sleep, skin issues plus many other health issues.
Get the BEST indoor air purification system - at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers. I, personally use this system in my home AND office. Click HERE to order now - before the sale ends.
In addition, holy basil can help alleviate stress-induced anxiety, depression and insomnia. University of Maryland Medical Center talks about this calming herb as a therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, and many integrative physicians recommend it for adrenal support.
Research confirm the stress-relieving effects of holy basil
As scientists have long known, the effects of ongoing stress can be devastating. Chronic stress damages the nervous system, suppresses the immune system, and can even cause increased appetite and weight gain. When it comes to relieving effects of stress, holy basil just might be the “gold standard” of soothing herbs.
Holy basil has been shown to decreases levels of stress hormones – corticosterone and cortisol in particular. Having lower levels of corticosterone can improve mental function, while reducing risk of age-related mental disorders.
In a 2012 study, holy basil increased levels of beneficial dopamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine, or serotonin, in rats that were exposed to noise stress. Researchers noted that holy basil was 39 percent more effective than placebo in relieving stress symptoms – a significant result.
In a study published in 2005 in Journal of Ethnopharmacology, a holy basil extract was given for 7 days to rats that were then subjected to noise stress. Results showed that the treated rats did not experience the noise-induced, detrimental lowering of brain acetylcholine, and the raising of acetylcholinesterase, that characteristically follows exposure to noise stress – demonstrating the protective effects of this herb.
Researchers call for more exploration of holy basil’s exciting anticancer effects
Holy basil is packed with powerful antioxidants such as eugenol, apigenin, luteolin, rosmarinic acid, and beta-sitosterol. Interestingly enough, researchers have found that holy basil can not only suppress the proliferation of cancer cells, but can also induce apoptosis – or cell suicide – in malignant cells.
In a study published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology, holy basil seed oil caused a significant reduction in the size and incidence of laboratory-induced tumors in mice. It improved activity of natural antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase and glutathione, leading the team to note that the oil had chemopreventive effects that were likely caused by its potent antioxidant properties.
In a recent study published in Nutrition and Cancer, researchers found that several of holy basil’s constituents, including eugenol, rosmarinic acid, luteolin, beta-sitosterol and carnosic acid, prevented chemically-induced cancers of the skin, liver, mouth and lungs. Holy basil’s multiple methods of action against cancer include increasing antioxidant activity, altering gene expressions, inducing apoptosis, inhibiting the formation of new blood vessels to feed tumors, and preventing cancer’s metastasis, or spread – quite an impressive array of cancer-fighting effects!
In addition, two holy basil flavonoids – orintin and vicenin – were found to protect against the tumor-forming effects of radiation, while protecting cell DNA from damage. Naturally, the team called for more research to establish holy basil’s use in cancer prevention and treatment.
How should I take holy basil?
Holy basil is available in capsule form. Look for a standardized formula that contains eugenol, caryophyllene and triterpenoic acids. To avoid risk of contamination with heavy metals, some natural health experts warn against buying holy basil from China.
Many herbalists and natural healers recommend taking 400 mg of the standardized extract a day, but naturally check first with your doctor, as holy basil has anticoagulant effects and may interact with some medications or nutritional supplements.
You can also brew holy basil root into a tea, or use the tangy, somewhat peppery-tasting leaves to jazz up soups or salads and add spice to casseroles. The leaves are strongly flavored, so experimentation may be in order to avoid overwhelming other flavors in the recipe.
Soothing and adaptogenic, holy basil can help ease depression, anxiety and insomnia, while helping to protect against cancer. This beneficial herb, long revered in traditional healing systems, is finally beginning to get its due as a cutting-edge stress-reliever and chemopreventive substance.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
Natural Health 365
Natural Health 365 is a premium source of trending and popular health-related news, science, testimony & research articles on the most up to date and relevant natural health information. The Food & Nutrition articles found herein are meant to inform and advise our site visitors on eating healthy, nutritious foods and safely using supplements and vitamins to achieve optimal health.
Join thousands of daily visitors staying informed and involved on Natural Health 365! We seek out scientific solutions with proven results and it is our mission to keep you informed! Articles range in topic from the cancer fighting qualities of Olive Oil, to the remarkably high concentration of anti-oxidants found in blueberries, to how to make your own almond milk, to a nutritional comparison of organic vs conventional produce, to an analysis of the health benefits of tree nuts. You can find all of the Food News Articles here
Read Some of Our Most Popular Articles
Artichokes, Olive Oil, Almond Milk, Blueberries
More Food & Nutrition Articles
Fresh Organic Produce Fights Cancer, Susan G. Komen on Organic Foods, Hemp Seeds for Inflammation, Pau D’Arco For Improved Immunity
In addition to exploring health benefits of certain foods, vitamins and supplements, we also aim to connect healthy eating and balanced consumption of dietary supplements to long-lasting health and adding healthy, happy years to your life. For example, did you know that eating Granny Smith Apples on a regular basis can reduce your chance of building up unhealthy gut yeast? Or that ingesting ground hemp seeds can significantly reduce inflammation throughout the body? Perhaps you didn’t know that Fresh Organic Produce has been found to have higher concentrations of key, cancer-fighting anti-oxidants and vitamins than conventional produce? You can find all of that information and more right here on Natural Health 365.
We’d love to know what you’re thinking! Please join the conversation on Facebook, post comments here on the website and feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.
Please use and share the articles you find here with your friends, family and peers.