Holy basil or tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) is a sacred plant in India. It is a relative of our culinary basil but has a stronger, clove-like aroma and taste. Indians do not use it in cooking but do use it as medicine, mostly in the form of tea. Research in both animals and humans demonstrates lack of toxicity and a variety of benefits, including reducing inflammation and protecting the body and brain from harmful effects of stress. It also has a positive influence on mood, and is safe to use with pharmaceutical antidepressants. My colleague Jim Nicolai, M.D., medical director of the Integrative Wellness Program at Miraval Resort and Spa in Tucson, tells me he has great success with holy basil. Most of his patients have stress-related conditions, and holy basil is at the top of his list of plant-based strategies to target such issues. His personal experience is that it lengthens his “emotional fuse” and leaves him feeling calm and balanced in otherwise stressful situations. Use extracts standardized to two percent ursolic acid in 400 mg capsules. Dosage is two capsules, once or twice daily with food.