Thursday, February 14, 2013

Holy. . . Basil!

Prepare to be amazed.

Holy basil may be one of the best kept secrets when it comes to its impact on health.  Known as tulsi, holy basil touts significant health benefits, including soothing stress; promoting blood sugar balance; immune system support; gastrointestinal health; anti-aging and antioxidant power; heart health; joint health; cellular health/cancer therapy; adrenal support; hormonal and reproductive equilibrium and much more.

What’s more is that holy basil contains vitamins A and C, and minerals including zinc, manganese, iron and calcium. It also contains chlorophyll. Additionally, the plant contains high levels of tannins, flavonoids and essential oils—all of them powerful antioxidants that prevent free radical damage to cells and to DNA. Likewise, holy basil provides anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.

Here are some of holy basil’s astounding health benefits in a little more detail:

Stress Soother:  Holy basil is known for its adaptogenic properties that support the body’s naturally occurring responses to mental and physical stress. As a result, adaptogens often can prevent health problems that can result from long-term stress. Stress hormones play a pivotal role in metabolism, inflammation and immune system responses, among others. When our bodies are stressed, our metabolic systems can suffer, our immune systems can be unfavorably altered, our nervous systems can be damaged, and we can have increased appetite and subsequent weight gain.

Blood Sugar Balance:  Holy basil has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar and can lower blood sugar by balancing insulin metabolism. Additionally, a study published in the Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry indicates that holy basil may reverse some effects of diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy. Retinopathy, by the way, is a common symptom of diabetes that can lead to blindness.

Immune System Support:  Holy basil is able to strengthen and support the body’s immunes system, helping it to heal and to fight off illness more effectively. Since it’s an adaptogen, holy basil can “flex” with your body’s needs, allowing it to stimulate or calm your immune system as needed.

Antioxidant Power:  Holy basil is an incredibly potent antioxidant which fights against free radical damage that can lead to cellular unhealth and much more. As mentioned, holy basil offers vitamin C and vitamin A content—both of which are known as strong antioxidants. 

Heart Health:  Holy basil has strong, positive effects on the cardiac system—decreasing cholesterol, protecting the heart muscle and blood vessels as well as thinning the blood to prevent strokes. Additionally, holy basil can help fight stress-related high blood pressure by decreasing adrenaline levels in the body.

Cellular Health/Cancer Therapy: A 2007 clinical study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food noted holy basil’s ability to combat cancer. It significantly reduced the formation of cancerous micronuclei, while increasing antioxidant levels and healthy enzyme activity.

Those are only a few of the health benefits, and there’s no doubt about it:  holy basil is nothing short of