Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), also known internationally as tulsi, is highly prized in the natural healing community both for its heady scent and for its healing properties. In the Hindu religion, holy basil is a sacred plant which is used during meditation and is considered a staple in every home garden. Among herbalists, holy basil is known as an adaptogen. This means the herb increases the body’s resistance to a variety of environmental threats or stressors. Holy basil’s antioxidant abilities makes the herb a favorite super-food. It has been medically proven to combat cancer and heal neuropathy caused by surgery. Holy basil oil may be used as a skin care treatment for acne.
Holy Basil is a medically proven antioxidant which fights against cancer
In a 2007 clinical study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, scientists tested the effectiveness of holy basil (Ocimum sanctum)leaf extract in rats who exhibited oxidative stress, DMBA-induced cancer, and an enzyme imbalance. DMBA is a powerful toxin which is commonly used to initiate cancer tumors in laboratory animals for cancer research purposes. Four different concentrations of holy basil leaf extract were fed to rats over a five day period, then were injected with DMBA. When cancer symptoms were positively identified, the scientists measured the ability of holy basil to combat cancer. At a dosage of 300mg per kilgram of body weight, holy basil leaf extract significantly reduced the formation of cancerous micronuclei, enzymes which metabolize toxins in the body, and oxidation in both proteins and fats. Antioxidant and healthy enzymatic activity was increased.
h1>Scientists prove that holy basil heals neuropathy caused by surgery
The October 2008 issue of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology reports a clinical study which was performed on rats that had sciatic nerve neuropathy. The researchers severed the sciatic nerve in the rats’ paws, then measured the resulting neuropathy. Ocimum sanctum (holy basil) extract was then administered for ten days following the surgeries. The scientists observed that holy basil extract reduced the effects of nerve degeneration, helped to make nerve receptors more sensitive to stimuli, and aided in motor control after the surgery. The herb also curbed a rise in TBARS, an indicator of oxidative stress, and increased the amount of calcium and glutothione in the body of the rats.
Holy basil oil may be useful in the treatment of acne
The International Journal of Cosmetic Science published a 2006 study performed in Thailand which evaluated the effectiveness of three different kinds of Thai basil oil in the treatment of acne. Researchers wanted to study the anti-bacterial activity of oils made from sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum), holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), and hoary basil (Ocimum americanum). Hoary basil had no anti-microbial effects against acne at all in vitro. However, both sweet basil oil and holy basil oil did. While sweet basil oil was found to be more effective against acne than holy basil oil, both herbs were found to be suitable for a skin care treatment of acne.
Sources included for this article:
Mountain Rose Herbs.com, “Holy Basil (Tulsi) Herb Profile” http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/Holy_basil.php
Zoology.Muchio.edu, “Metabolism of Xenobiotics” http://zoology.muohio.edu/oris/ZOO462/notes/03_462.html
Pubmed.gov, “Ocimum sanctum Linn. (Holy Basil) ethanolic leaf extract protects against 7, 12-dimethylbenz(a)anthrace ne-induced genotoxicity, oxidative stress, and imbalance in xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes.” P. Manikandan, et al. Journal of Medicinal Food, September 2007; 1093): 495-502. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17887944
Diacomp.org, “Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) Assay,” Eva Feldman, M.D., ed.
Pubmed.gov, “Ameliorative effects of ocimum sanctum in sciatic nerve transection-induced neuropathy in rats.” A. Muthuraman, et al. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, October 2008; 120(1): 56- 62. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18762236
Pubmed.gov, “Evaluation of in vitro antimicrobial activity of Thai basil oils and their micro-emulsion formulas against Propionibacterium acnes.” J. Vivoch, et al. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, April 2006; 28(2): 125-33. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18492147
About the author:
This article is provided courtesy of Donna Earnest Pravel, owner and senior editor of Heart of Texas Copywriting Solutions.com. Get free biweekly tips on natural healing and herbs by visiting her blog, Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy.