Holy basil is a herb which belongs to Lamiaceae family. Its botanical name is Ocimum sanctum. This herb has been used by Ayurvedic practitioners to treat several health problems since ages. Several medicines are made from its stems, leaves and seeds. While it has medicinal properties, it is also used in some recipes due to its aroma and flavor.
Holy Basil Plant
This plant has been used in Asia for centuries. It is known to be the most sacred herb of India. This tropical herb possesses medicinal properties which is why it is used in several herbal infusions. Three varieties of holy basil are used for preparing herbal infusions in India. In India, this plant is called 'Tulsi'. The three different varieties are Rama tulsi, Krishna tulsi and Vana tulsi. Each variety has its own distinct flavor and aroma.
This plant produces purple flowers and its seeds can be extracted from dried flower racemes. The seeds and leaves of this plant are used in several herbal medicines. More often than not, people who are skeptical about using herbal remedies raise the issue of holy basil side effects.
Holy basil is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are agents that enables our body to adapt to stress. Since stress has crept into our lifestyle in a big way, using adaptogens would surely prove beneficial. Holy basil is believed to have a calming effect. Studies indicate that it might help in strengthening the immune system. So using herbal infusions prepared from this plant can certainly help to correct bodily disturbances. This will also strengthen the body against stress.
Research also indicates that it contains anti-inflammatory agents which significantly reduce inflammation and remove the toxins from the body. This herb is also known for being an antioxidant. It slows down the process of excess oxidation and protects the cells from the damage caused by free radicals. It also acts as an immuno-modulator. It balances and improves the immune response of the body while fighting against antigens. It provides protection against infections caused due to microbes, bacteria, viruses and allergens.
In case you wish to try out herbal remedies that use this plant, you must make sure that you get it from an alternative health store. There are many varieties of basil which is why you must make sure that the one you buy is holy basil. Don't confuse it with the one you might get in the spice section of the grocery store. This herb has been used by Asians for ages and is being used even now. Though it is not likely to cause any serious side effects, if you are taking anti-clotting agents, you must refrain from using herbal infusions that contain this herb. This precaution must be taken as this herb can thin down blood.
If you are suffering from diabetes and are already taking prescription medicines for diabetes, you must consult your doctor before taking this herb. Since it brings down the sugar levels, taking medicines along with infusion made from this herb might greatly reduce the blood sugar levels. As a result, one may suffer from dizziness or fainting spells.
Some studies on animals have indicated that consumption of this herb can cause a decrease in fertility. Though there's isn't enough evidence on side effects of holy basil on pregnant women, women must refrain from using this herb during the course of pregnancy. Those who wish to use herbal supplements or herbal infusions must either consult a doctor or seek the services of a herbal practitioner to find out more on correct dosage or side effects that may arise due to adverse drug interactions.
If you are planning to use this herb for treating any health problem, it would be best to consult your doctor. Though its side effects are few and its benefits are numerous, ask your doctor or herbal practitioner if it is safe to use this herb.