Holy Basil for Anxiety – How Does it Work?

August 8, 2021

Holy Basil is known as the ‘queen of herbs’.  Natively called ‘Tulsi’ in India, the country where it originates from and found aplenty; holy basil is also grown extensively in Australia, Middle East and West Africa.

As an Ayurvedic medication, holy basil for anxiety is an effective remedy. 

The herb also addresses stress, depression, moodiness and treats physiological disorders like diabetes and high cholesterol, among other health conditions. Holy basil contains an immense amount of natural antioxidants to prevent the mind and body from free radicals and oxidative stress. 

Benefits of Holy Basil

There are chemicals in holy basis which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  That is why it is given to regulate peoples sugar levels. Holy basil seed oil has also been administered to slow down the progression of certain types of cancers. Among multitude of benefits like asthma, flu, indigestion, fever, skincare, malaria and tuberculosis, Holy Basil had found acceptance in healing Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) presents itself in symptoms like exaggerated tension, overthinking and worry.  Taking holy basil leaf twice a day after meals provides effective relief from anxiety, stress and even depression in GAD sufferers.

Besides helping with anxiety, holy basil or tulsi is lauded in Ayurveda as ‘rasayana’, a herb that nourishes an individual’s growth for enlightenment and long life.  Repeated studies have shown that holy basil is an adaptogenic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-carcinogenic herb.

holy basil for anxiety


The reason, Holy Basil is called the ‘queen of herbs’ or herbs for all seasons is because every part from the seeds to the leaves possess medicinal properties. 

Tulsi tea or the herbal beverage made from Holy Basil is known to be quite refreshing and potent enough to address anxiety and stress.

Here are the main benefits of holy basil:

  1. It prevents respiratory disorders  The herbal tea prepared from holy basil addresses a wide range of respiratory conditions from cough and cold to asthma and bronchitis.  It helps in expelling phlegm and relieving cough while building our natural immunity for lungs and the respiratory tract.
  2. Regulates blood sugar levels    Daily consumption of holy basil tea can bring down your blood sugar levels to a great extent. It can also helps to better metabolism of fats and carbs.
  3. Oral and Dental Heath – Holy basil can protect your mouth against harmful germs and growth of bacteria. It is also a great choice for getting rid of bad breath.
  4. Treatment of arthritis – Holy basil leaves have natural properties in its oil which are anti-inflammatory and can help you get rid of pain in the joints.
  5. Holy Basil for anxiety treatment – Holy basil regulates the levels of cortisol or stress-causing hormones. Regular consumption of holy basil tea or chewing of its leaves can bring down the cortisol levels, thus making you feel anxiety free.

Ingredients in Holy Basil

The holy basil leaf contains many anti-inflammatory constituents like rosmarinic acid, ursolic acid and eugenol. Additional active compounds include vitamin C, carotenoids, oleanolic acid, calcium, zinc, iron, caryophyllene and chlorophyll.  

Ursolic acid is widely used in the cosmetic industry for its skin healing  benefits and improving skin texture. Besides, it is also known to prevent and cure skin cancers.  Rosmarinic acid is known for its antimicrobial properties that can treat and cure infections. Eugenol is an anti-stress agent; it is a compound with a distinct aroma. Besides, eugenol also has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. 

Interactions for Holy Basil

Holy basil is quite safe as a herbal product. There are hardly any chemical interactions involved when administered for your health. 

Holy basis may slow down the process of blood clotting.  Though there have been reports that taking holy basil with medication (my story on YouTube) may lead to slow blood clotting, which means more time for bleeding to be under control. However, it is not much of a concern because the effect is miniscule and there is not enough evidence to point out that there is any risk of complication. 

As a precaution, it may be best not to take holy basil alongside medications like aspirin warfarin, enoxaparin, heparin, dalteparin, ticlopidine and clopidogrel.

Secondly, holy basil is known to interact with pentobarbital, a sedative that helps treat insomnia.  However, again, this is not much of a concern because the effect is not enough to be classified as a medical problem.

holy basil for anxiety

I’m also a chamomile fan.

How Holy Basil helps in promoting sleep

The scent of holy basil is known to have an invigorating effect on the senses. The mood elevating property of the scent is enough to put you in a positive state of mind.  The herb is known as an adaptogen, meaning an organic substance that helps you cope up with stress and anxiety. 

Holy basil for anxiety induced sleep disorders is prescribed by naturopaths and ayurvedic practitioners with comprehensive benefits for the sufferer.  The herb has a calming effect on the mind as it brings down the cortisol or stress-causing hormones in the body, bringing with it a sense of peace, gratification and blissful sleep.

You can consume holy basil in different ways, chewing on a Tulsi leaf works wonders but how about enjoying a super-tasty tea made with holy basil? 

Holy basil tea or Tulsi Tea is made by taking a cup of water and adding two or three leaves into it and boiling it. The water will absorb into its natural color and attain its taste.  After three or four minutes, strain the tea and drink it. You may also choose to add a teaspoon of lemon juice or honey for extra taste and health benefits. 

How to combine Holy Basil with CBT for anxiety treatment

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a type of therapy that is known to be quite beneficial for people who have bipolar disorder or anxiety issues. Combining CBT or hypnosis with the use of holy basil can help you to find your unhelpful subconscious belief systems and replace them. I truly believe that the combination of eliminating the heavy negative emotional baggage that weighs heavily on your body and supplementing with holy basil for anxiety will certainly give you clarity in mind and inner peace.

According to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, this plant medicine has anti-anxiety properties and anti-depressant properties which can be comparable to antidepressant drugs, albeit without any side effects.

The leaves and essential oils were studied to examine these benefits. 

One study also found that people who took 500 grams of holy basil extracts each day felt freedom from anxiety, experienced renewed self confidence and made them more social. People who’ve steadily consumed holy basil found that they can greatly minimize problems relating to…

  1. Lack of sleep
  2. Stress
  3. Sexual problems
  4. Exhaustion
  5. Forgetfulness

Many people I know who drink holy basil tea experience a sense of calmness, feel creative, relaxed and liberated from negative irrational thoughts.  Since it is caffeine-free, you can have holy basil tea regularly or even daily.  If the basic bitter taste of holy basil is not your cup of tea (excuse the pun), then you can have holy basil for anxiety or any other disorder, in pill form as a supplement (however I’m a big fan of the tea form I must say).

What have your results been with holy basil for anxiety? Share your insights with us below. 

holy basil for anxiety

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