Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), also known as Tulsi, is an Indian herb known for its beneficial effects on conditions such as stress and depression. Holy basil is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as an “adaptogen” to counter life’s stresses.
Holy Basil Anxiety Benefits
Stress is associated to many aspects of both physical and mental health. Over time, stress can negatively affect the health of the nervous, immune and digestive systems. Holy basil has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogenic herb to improve the body’s ability to cope with stress. According to a research reported in the Sep 2008 edition of the Nepal Medical College Journal, 500 mg of tulsi extract taken two times a day can significantly reduce the intensity of generalized anxiety disorder. A 1991 study reported in the “Indian Journal of Pharmacology” compared anti-stress effects with those of Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus ), found that tulsi was a more powerful herb. A study reported in the 2011 Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences showed that mice given a holy basil extract experienced important reduction in stress levels when compared to mice given ginseng.
In a study reported in the Nov 2003 edition of the “Indian Journal of Experimental Biology,” tulsi was showed to have calming propertieson the central nervous system that may benefit panic disorder. Holy basil may impact the secretion of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are used in coping with stress. In a study found that animals that received the extract demonstrated significant normalization of epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and MAO. Tulsi herb exerts a calming effect by preventing elevations in the cortisol. Nicknamed the ‘stress hormone’,cortisol production increases in response to chronic stress. A notice reported by the California Naturopathic Doctors Association in 2007 describes tulsi as an helpful factor of reducing the cortisol in individuals experiencing cancer and related depression.
Alcohol extracts of this herb demonstrated important anti stress effects in mice exposed to acute and chronic noise stress. A study using male albino rats, via intraperitoneal administration of 70% ethanolic extract of tulsi, dosed at 100 mg/kg body weight, were able to withstand sub-chronic broadband white noise exposure at 100 dB for 4 hours a day for a total of 15 days. This application of the extract prevented noise-induced increases in the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin turnover in specific brain regions.
Holy basil standardized extract, 400 milligrams daily, for stress and adrenal health. Studies show that taking holy basil at 500 mg twice daily after meals has a important effect in reducing generalized anxiety and depression. Because multiple constituents of holy basil have been shown to combat stress, an efficacious supplement must provide each of these important active components at therapeutic dosages. Researches have shown that eugenol, especially, helps to combat stress and enhance mental clarity. Also, research has shown that the triterpenoic acids isolated from holy basil effectively improve the body’s response to stress. Holy basil supplements are available as tea, tablets, capsules, and liquid extracts. The best holy basil supplements are in soft-gel capsules.