Thinking about ways to boost your immune system? Consider basil. Not the type you might find on your pizza, but holy basil. Also known as Tulsi, holy basil is considered the “mother medicine of nature” and the “elixir of life” in Ayurveda because of its medicinal properties. Ancient Indian cultures in which Ayurveda emerged believed holy basil could prevent disease and promote better health, as well as help in spiritual aspects like fostering beauty, intelligence, stamina, and calm dispositions. It was also used to treat a number of conditions like coughs, asthma, anxiety, fevers, arthritis, skin diseases, insect and snake bites, malaria, etc. If these claims are true, holy basil would be an excellent supplement to boost immune health.
Modern research into holy basil has shown holy basil to be an adaptogenic herb. This means it is loaded with adaptogens – substances that help the body’s ability to deal with stressors, such as immunological stressors that compromise our health. Adaptogens help give holy basil its antimicrobial properties. This includes antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It does this by boosting the body’s defenses against infective pathogens by strengthening the immune response. Some studies have concluded that adding holy basil to daily diets potentially assists in the reduction and/or prevention of several health conditions. This is what those who utilize Ayurveda have done for generations, and research proves they had good reason to.
With the condition of our immune systems at an utmost importance, we should be doing everything we can to ensure ours is in tip-top shape. Holy basil has been scientifically proven to help us in this regard, so it is an excellent way to keep us healthy. Remember, however, that although what we eat plays a huge role in staying well, other lifestyle factors influence health just as much. Remember to practice proper hygiene, and try adding holy basil to your diet today!
Cohen, M. (2014). Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 5(4), 251. doi: 10.4103/0975-9476.146554
Jamshidi, N., & Cohen, M. M. (2017). The Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Tulsi in Humans: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2017, 1–13. doi: 10.1155/2017/9217567