Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) isn’t like the sweet basil in your mom’s marinara sauce or the Thai herb you use to flavor a steaming bowl of pho. This green leafy plant, also known as Ocimum sanctum L. and tulsi, is native to Southeast Asia. It has a history within Indian medicine as a treatment for many conditions, from eye diseases to ringworms.
From the leaves to the seed, holy basil is considered a tonic for the body, mind, and spirit. Different parts of the plant are recommended for treating different conditions:
- Use its fresh flowers for bronchitis.
- Use the leaves and seeds, with black pepper, for malaria.
- Use the whole plant for diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
- Use the pill and ointment form for eczema.
- Use an alcohol extract for stomach ulcers and eye diseases.
- Use an essential oil made from the leaves for insect bites.
Many studies support the use of the entire plant of holy basil for human use and its therapeutic value. The nutritional value is also high, as it contains:
- vitamin A and C