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The Health Benefits of Holy Basil

Tuesday, August 1st 2023 10:00am 3 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

Holy basil, also known as tulsi, is a remarkable herb with a wide range of health benefits. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine in India for centuries and is considered an “elixir of life” due to its versatile properties. In today’s world, holy basil is recognized as an “herb for all reasons” because it can address various physical, chemical, metabolic, and psychological stresses through its pharmacological actions.

Belonging to the Lamiaceae family, Ocimum sanctum is believed to have originated in north central India and now thrives in the eastern tropics. It is renowned as a potent adaptogen, aiding in stress adaptation and promoting bodily homeostasis. Here are three compelling reasons to incorporate holy basil into your wellness routine:

Oral health

Traditional chemical mouthwashes often contain chlorhexidine, an antimicrobial agent used to combat bacteria in the mouth and prevent gingivitis. However, prolonged use of chlorhexidine may lead to side effects like tooth staining and altered taste perception. Furthermore, it can negatively impact the oral microbiome.

Holy basil offers a natural alternative to chemical mouthwash. In a double-blind randomized trial, 60 participants were assigned to three groups: one using holy basil, another using aloe vera, and the third using chlorhexidine mouthwash. All subjects underwent scaling and rinsed with their assigned mouthwash twice daily for a month. Results showed that holy basil was as effective as chlorhexidine in reducing plaque, gingivitis, and bleeding. It also demonstrated a long-term benefit similar to aloe vera.

Another study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry involved 30 individuals using holy basil mouthwash, chlorhexidine mouthwash, or a sterile water rinse twice daily for four days. Holy basil effectively combated gum infection-causing pathogens, P. intermedia and F. nucleatum, while displaying an antiplaque effect comparable to chlorhexidine.

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