Why Do We Need to Include Holy Basil in Our Diet?
Ocimum sanctum or more commonly known by the name holy basil is a herb which is native to India.
In Ayurvedic medicine, this plant is seen as a vital plant. Nowadays, this plant is widely grown in the world. We can eat it as food or we can take it as a supplement.
As a matter of fact, the seeds, leaves, oils and steams are used medicinally; it is like that since the holy basil comes with many health benefits.
5 Health Benefits of Holy Basil
1. Stimulate Our Body
Holy basil is a plant which is abundant in antioxidants. That is why it can help us detox our body. According to studies, this plant can help protect against toxic chemicals.
2. Lower Stress
All parts of this plant serve and act as an adaptogen. In fact, the adaptogen is a natural substance which helps the body adapt to stress and boosts mental balance.
We can make tea out of the leaves of the holy basil. The tea is caffeine-free, and that makes it okay to consume on a daily basis.
The act of consuming holy basil tea may be ritualistic and also calming as yoga. It can lead to clear thoughts, sense of well-being and relaxation.
3. It Helps Ease Joint Pain and Inflammation
Wouldn’t be incredible to tackle inflammation and stress with a cup of tea? Well, as we already mentioned the holy basil plant contains an adaptogen with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it actually offers all the benefits above mentioned.
Therefore, yes we can do that with one cup of tea, and it’s impressive.
4. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Holy basil can also help with cholesterol levels and weight loss. According to animal studies, there were notable changes in the fat molecules in rabbits when they consumed fresh leaves of holy basil.
They had higher HDL cholesterol, i.e., good cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol, i.e., the bad cholesterol. Another animal study came to the discovery that the oil eugenol found in the holy basil actually reduced stress-induced cholesterol levels.
Actually, there was a reduction of the total cholesterol in the heart, kidney, and liver in rats without and with diabetes. This occurred after they had a lead powder of holy basil.
5. Lowers Blood Glucose Levels
In case we have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, we should know that all parts of this plant might help us lower our blood glucose. According to human and animal trials, holy basil might prevent signs of the condition like:
- weight gain
- high cholesterol
- excess insulin in the blood
- insulin resistance
In these specific studies, the rats which got holy basil extract had a 24 % decrease in their blood glucose after a month. The same results were obtained in rats which were fed with leaf powder of holy basil.
Word of Caution
Bear in mind that this plant is not approved as the first-line treatments. Like many other supplements, it might interfere with the drugs one is already taking. Consult a doctor before adding this plant to the usual diet.
In case one is taking drugs to control blood glucose, it might reduce their blood glucose levels even more.