Tulsi, or holy basil, which may be translated to “the incomparable one” or “the queen of herbs”, has reigned supreme in Indian traditional medicine for over 5,000 years. In fact, tulsi has even been said to outweigh its worth in gold. With all the herbs used in natural medicine, what makes this one stand out? In this article, you’ll learn about some of the many wondrous properties of this incredible herb—and why you should include it in your daily health rituals.
1. Tulsi helps regulate blood sugar and lipids.
If you suffer from insulin resistance, prediabetes, or Type II diabetes, tulsi may be extremely beneficial in helping you to manage or reverse symptoms. Numerous studies have shown its effectiveness in reducing fasting blood sugar, blood lipids (fats), and protein glycation. Clinical trials lasting 3 months or longer have shown that daily ingestion of tulsi resulted in improvements of fasting and post-meal glucose by 1.2-2.2 times and 1.5-6 times, respectively, while glycation improved by 1.5 to 3.2 times. Lipid profiles improved similarly in people with metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity. Many of these studies used a 1-3 times daily dosage of 2.0 to 3.0 grams of aqueous or alcohol extract. Please consult with a doctor if you are taking diabetes medication. Tulsi has been shown to possibly increase the effectiveness of other diabetic drugs, but it must be monitored.
2. Many compounds in tulsi are strongly anti-inflammatory.
Compounds in tulsi can work alone or synergistically to fight inflammation. In fact, some researchers have hypothesized that the medicinal effects of tulsi can be attributed to the herb’s ability to reduce inflammation in the body. Tulsi acts as a strong inhibitor of COX-2, the molecule typically targeted by anti-inflammatory medications. For this reason, tulsi is beneficial for all illnesses that result from inflammation, including acne, eczema, arthritis, pain, and more. For this reason, tulsi is also strongly protective against heart disease. This is why tulsi is a star player in our best-selling herbal blend, Inflammation Relief.
3. Tulsi is a potent detoxifier.
Tulsi has been well-documented to protect the vital organs—specifically, the kidneys, liver, brain, and heart—against the genetic, immune, and cellular damage caused by common toxicants, including pesticides, industrial and household chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. It boost liver detoxification enzymes, such as the cytochrome P450 enzymes, which deactivate toxic chemicals and help the body to eliminate them. Tulsi has also been shown to protect against heavy metal toxicity from lead, arsenic (which, historically, has been relatively high in the tap waters of some areas of Arizona), cadmium, chromium, and mercury. If you are worried about radiation poisoning, tulsi can help with that too! Tulsi has been documented to reduce oxidative and chromosomal damage caused by radiation and has also been shown to increase survival rates in animals who had been poisoned with radiation.
4. Tulsi reduces anxiety and stress.
One of the most significant benefits of tulsi is its potent adaptogenic capabilities, which help reduce anxiety and stress. Multiple human trials, ranging from 4 to 12 weeks, have documented reduction in both stress and stress-related symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep disruption, and even biological age, by 30% to 40%. In addition, tulsi was shown to reduce both anxiety and depression in an 8 week trial in which subjects took 500 mg of tulsi twice daily after meals.
5. Tulsi improves cognitive function.
If you struggle with memory problems, information retention, attention, or alertness, tulsi can help! Multiple randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials have demonstrated tulsi’s ability to improve short-term memory, cognitive flexibility, and attention. In particular, tulsi has been shown to improve forgetfulness in people suffering from anxiety.
6. Tulsi protects against cancer and DNA damage.
In addition to its powerful ability to protect the body against toxicant-induced damage, tulsi has the ability to increase the body’s own production of antioxidants and scavenge for damaged or diseased cells, including cancers. Tulsi has been shown to induce apoptosis (cell death) of cancerous cells while also helping healthy cells to remain protected against damage.
7. Tulsi is beneficial for spiritual practices.
If you’re super healthy but are looking for something to improve your meditation or yoga practice, look no further. In both Indian and Greek spiritual traditions, tulsi is used in holy water. In India, tulsi is used to create garlands for meditation, which are said to focus the mind and purify the air (similar to sage) to create an environment conducive to meditation. Tulsi has also been used ceremonially to help connect the mind, body, and spirit.
At this point, you’re probably wondering where you can get your hands on some of this amazing herb! You can try it as a standalone herbal tea, or for best results, in our powerful Inflammation Relief blend. If you’ve tried tulsi before and have experiences to share, comment below! We love hearing from you!