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Holy Basil for Stress Relief

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.

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Reader Comments (5)

I've used Holy Basil a number of times for stress relief. I think it works well. However, I find it makes me pretty tired - so I've taken to having it in the evening rather than during the day - and sleep is better as a result. I also find that Holy Basil and Ashwagandha work well together to reduce stress.

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Shaw

anyone know where to get the seed? I would like to grow it.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJude

What about taking it in the form of flower essence? Does it have the same effect? What would be the dosage recommendations?


June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I just planted my Holy Basil and it's growing wonderfully. Now I just need to find out how to use it! I got seedlings very reasonable from They are in Florida and truly care for the natural and organic car eif their plants. I highly recommend them!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

I've used an extracted form now for probably 6 months...and it works extremely well. I take two to three per day. Takes the stress intensity down from 8 or 9 to a 3 or 4 ... I wish I had this years ago. More people should know about this one ...

September 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCanuck

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