Basic Information


Common name: Basil

Other Names: Holy Basil, Tulsi, Sacred Basil

Latin Binomial: Ocimum sanctum

Parts Used: Leaf, Flowering top, Essential oil


Medicinal Uses

An herb native to India and other Southern parts of Asia, basil is widely used in Ayurvedic practice. It has significant impact on the respiratory system – being used for asthma and bronchitis conditions. Traditionally, the herb has been used to strengthen resiliency and restore vitality in a number of ways. These include as a way to reduce high fevers, lower blood pressure, and balance blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It has also been used topically on canker sores, insect bites, and other skin issues. There is some evidence that the herb has an inhibitory effect on sperm production, making it useful in cases where enhanced male fertility is undesirable without depressing the male libido (Buch,, 1988). In Western herbalism, the herb has been used to ease digestive complaints, such as gas and indigestion, and as a galactagogue to stimulate production of breast milk.


Key Constituents

  • Volatile Oils (soothes nervous system due to its ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier via the olfactory nerve)
  • Flavonoids
  • Triterpenes (pre-cursor to steroids that reduces cholesterol levels)



  • Hypoglycemic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Analgesic
  • Hypotensive
  • Antipyretic
  • Adaptogenic
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Carminative
  • Nervine


Body Organs Acted Upon

  • Respiratory
  • Nervous
  • Digestive


When and How to Use It

As a topical, the freshly squeezed juice or moistened powder of a handful of basil leaves can be applied to relieve the sting of insect bites. As a nervine, use 1 tsp of dried herb (or 2 tsp of fresh herb) per cup of boiling water. For respiratory and adaptogenic effect, use 2-4ml of tincture, 2-3 times daily. May also be used in a number of food preparations to achieve medicinal benefits.


Safety Considerations

As a topical, the freshly squeezed juice or powdered leaf can be applied to affected areas. No known contraindications, adverse events, or drug interactions.




Bone, Kerry and Mills, Simon (2013). Principles and practice of phytotherapy: Modern herbal medicine, 2nd ed. Churchill Livingstone, Elsevier, Ltd. China.

Buch, J.G., Dikshit, R.K., and Mansuri, S.M. (1988). Effect of certain volatile oils on ejaculated human spermatozoa. Indian J Med Res. 87. 361-3.

Chevallier, Andrew (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine: The definitive reference to 550 herbs and remedies for common ailments, 2nd ed. Dorling Kindersley. New York, NY.

Gonzalez-Castejon, M., Visioli, F., and Rodriguez-Casado, A. (2012). Diverse biological activities of dandelion. Nutrition Reviews. 70(9). 534-47.

Marieb, E.N. (2015). Essentials of human anatomy and physiology, 11th ed. Pearson Education, Inc. Glenview, IL.

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