Not be confused with the basil you grow in your garden and top off your pasta with, Holy Basil is actually the most revered of all the Ayurvedic herbs. Also known as Tulsi, Holy Basil has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to lower elevated cortisol, regulate blood sugar, ease anxiety, lower stress levels, and help you fall asleep.
What is Ayurvedic Medicine?
Also known as Ayurveda — Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term that means “the science of life” or “life knowledge.” Ayurvedic medicine is a system that originated in northern India over 5,000 years ago, and it’s one of the world’s oldest holistic (whole-body) healing systems. It’s based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
Because of the crazy, high-paced, demanding and at times, overwhelming world most of us live in, Holy Basil is needed now more than ever. In today’s world, people are doing more and relaxing less. They’re compromising sleep in order to feel the satisfaction of crossing out more things on their to do list. (Let’s be real here, for someone who likes to make lists –like me! – few things compare to that feeling of crossing things off of it.)
This contributes to feeling like crap, constantly being stressed out, being plagued by anxiety, unable to shut off our brain at night, snapping at everyone and just constantly feeling on the fritz.
Can you relate to this?
Everyone seriously needs to just chill the fuck out. Luckily, I have your chill pill right here…
What is Holy Basil?
Holy basil is in the mint family and it’s latin name is Ocimum sanctum. (I don’t know how to pronounce that either) Holy basil is known in natural medicine as an adaptogenic herb. These types of adaptogenic herbs, work WITH your endocrine / hormone system to bring you back to balance. So when shit hits the fan, and you’re taking Holy Basil, it’s actually helping your body to better adapt to the stress you’re experiencing, and help you function as optimally as possible during that stressful time.
Who should take Holy Basil?
If you’re someone who…
- Drinks a lot of coffee or has a high caffeine intake
- Is highly active and works out a lot (physical stress is still stress)
- Is a high anxiety person (like me)
- Feels stressed out all the time
- Is a worrywart
- Has trouble shutting off your brain at night
- Has insomnia, trouble sleeping or wake up often throughout the night
- Has elevated cortisol levels
- Has adrenal fatigue
Then this herb will do wonders for you!
How does it help?
For those of you who don’t know, according to Medline Plus:
“The adrenal glands are small glands located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones that you can’t live without, including sex hormones and cortisol. Cortisol helps you respond to stress and has many other important functions. With adrenal gland disorders, your glands make too much or not enough hormones.”
When you get stressed out, your body releases too much cortisol. Since we register stress from all things such as a work deadline, a hard and long workout, a relationship, sitting in traffic, watching tv, eating sugar, drinking coffee, etc. your body is constantly releasing excess cortisol. This cortisol interferes with the other hormones you have and you wind up with a hormonal imbalance. *side note- if you want to learn more about eating for hormonal balance check out my online course here* The more cortisol you have, the more stress your adrenal glands begin to experience.
Simply put: if you’re stressing out (remember, there are many types of stress) then your adrenal glands are spewing out that cortisol over and over again, and you end up having some sort of hormonal imbalance.
Your hormonal imbalance may manifest as:
- Lack of sleep
- Excess belly fat & weight gain
- Feeling tired even when you get a full night’s sleep, or have trouble getting out of bed
- You get sick easily
- You have PMS or PCOS
- You crave unhealthy foods like sugar, carbs, and caffeine
- Your sex drive is in the crapper
- You have gut problems such as nausea, heartburn, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, or constipation
- You feel anxious often
- You feel sad, blue and slightly depressed
- You have to pee a lot
- You’re moody and irritable
- Your hands & feet feel excessively cold during the day
- You get muscle cramps
So to wrap this up, it’s very important for your overall well-being for you to manage/eliminate your many forms of stress and their triggers.
One way you can do this is with Holy Basil.
How much to take and when?
There are a few forms of Holy Basil out there such as supplement and tea form.
I myself loveeeee the supplement form and feel the effects within 20 or so minutes.
This is the brand I take. I pop 2 capsules around 7-8pm and I’m good to go!
I don’t know about you, but I get stressed out easily in the winter. The gray days, cold weather, lack of sunshine and fresh air, can get me kinda cranky and depressed. Holy Basil is a must for me during the winter season.
P.S Listen, I love taking holy basil for the reasons listed above, but if I’m gonna be honest here, there is ONE major reason why I take it…
I live a life based on inspiration.
I wake up and take inspired action. Whether that be to spend 8 hours creating a program, coaching clients, giving talks, taking a nap, walking my dogs, bingeing on Netflix…it’s all inspired action & I’m well aware many would give anything to have my life.
But sometimes, no matter how awesome my life is, sometimes my PTSD from child abuse rears its ugly head and knocks me on my ass. Despite the amazing work my Sensei and I have done to release the past, forgive and work through the trauma…
…the memories are still there.
They may be foggy and a little blurry now, but nonetheless, they’re there and sometimes I’m triggered.
Holy Basil helps me. Period.
It has helped me have less anxiety & panic attacks.
It has helped me to stay in control. To not get swept down the dark hole of depression and because of that…I love it and recommend it.
And that’s why I truly take it.
What will you be using Holy Basil for? Tell me in the comments below!