The list of benefits found in ‘holy basil’ seem to be endless according to this article. This herb not only bring anti-aging, detoxifying and immunizing properties, but it is also used in Ayurveda! The article below dives into all of the benefits you feel if you consume holy basil. Read more to understand the benefits!
Holy basil, also known as tulsi, Ocimum sanctum or Ocimum tenuiflorum, is a sacred plant to many Hindus, and is used in a wide variety of religious contexts. It is also an important herb in Ayurveda, or traditional Indian medicine. Although the plant has been used in Ayurveda for centuries, Western herbalists and scientists are only just beginning to understand the powerful benefits of this anti-aging, detoxifying herb.
In Ayurveda, holy basil is used to support immunity, aid detoxification, modulate stress and slow aging. In Western herbalism, the plant is known as an adaptogen, or a plant that increases the bodys resistance to a wide variety of environmental stressors, rather than having only a few specific effects (such as lowering blood pressure, for example).
Adaptogens are so named because they adapt their function to the needs of the body, thus helping maintain balance. (Learn more about natural medicine for preventing disease at Prevention.news)
Soothing stress, slowing aging
According to Ayurveda, holy basil can be used to boost mood, stamina and endurance by filling the body with a calming energy. It can help speed up slowed digestion or free up suppressed emotions.
Studies suggest that some of holy basils benefits come from its ability to help the body regulate its levels of cortisol, which is sometimes called the stress hormone. Released during times of stress, cortisol activates many components of the sympathetic nervous system, also known as the fight or flight response. While this response is important in times of crisis, it is hard on the body over time, and cortisol has been linked to many of the negative health effects of chronic stress.
Holy basils effects on cortisol may partially explain its traditional use in Ayurveda to soothe emotional and digestive upset. Cortisol can also suppress the immune system, a condition holy basil is also used to treat.
The herbs much-lauded anti-aging effects may come in part from its high antioxidant activity. Researchers believe that many of the effects of aging come from cell and DNA damage caused by chemicals known as free radicals; antioxidants help remove free radicals from the body.
Science beginning to explore effects
Holy basils antioxidant effects likely make it a powerful cancer preventive, as cancer is one of the many health conditions linked to free radical damage.
A 2007 study from the Journal of Medicinal Food further suggests that holy basil may also exhibit direct anticancer activity. In that study, cancer was induced in rats, who were then treated with varying doses of holy basil leaf extract. At concentrations of 300 mg per kg of body weight, the extract reduced cancer cell formation, oxidative damage to proteins and fats, and levels of enzymes responsible for producing further toxic effects in the body.
Another study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2008, found that holy basil might help reduce the effects of nerve degeneration (neuropathy), a common side effect of injury and many diseases, such as diabetes. Researchers severed sciatic nerves in the paws of rats, then treated them with holy basil extract for ten days. They found that over the course of the treatment, the nerve degeneration was reduced, and nerve sensitivity and motor control increased. Rats treated with holy basil extract also showed decreased oxidative stress and higher levels of calcium and glutathione. (RELATED: Learn about more natural remedies at Remedies.news)
Holy basil may also be good for the skin, perhaps due to potent antimicrobial activity. A study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science in 2006 compared the effects of holy basil, sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum, the type commonly used in Western cooking), and hoary basil (Ocimum americanum) on bacteria believed to be the cause of acne. The researchers found that both holy basil and sweet basil showed significant antimicrobial effects.
One in five U.S. adults suffer from arthritis, a term used to describe inflammation of the joints. Arthritis, which can be caused by a variety of widely differing health conditions, is the number one cause of disability in the United States.
Because there is no cure for arthritis, the condition is typically treated with over-the-counter or prescription painkillers and anti-inflammatories (underlying health conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, may have their own treatments). But as with all pharmaceuticals, these drugs can carry side effects or even serious risks, particularly if used long term.
But, there is a natural alternative. If you suffer from stiff, inflamed or painful joints, try the following essential oil treatments, and see if they are able to offer you relief. (Also, stay informed about natural remedies at Remedies.news)
Which oils to use
Many essential oils have overlapping effects, so you can either choose the oil that you best like the smell of (or that is least expensive or easiest to find), or you can combine multiple oils to boost their effectiveness, or both.
Eucalyptus oil is a natural topical analgesic, which is why it is included as an ingredient in many medicated chest and muscle rubs. Part of its painkilling power may come from its effect of dilating blood vessels and increasing circulation which also promotes the bodys natural healing processes.
Peppermint oil contains menthol, another common ingredient in medicated chest and muscle rubs. Menthol and other peppermint oil components are anti-inflammatories, thus helping bring down the pain and swelling associated with arthritis.
Rosemary oil combines many of the properties of eucalyptus and peppermint oils. It is an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic that also helps improve circulation.
Birch oil is also anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic. It also contains the painkillers methyl salicylate and salicylic acid, chemicals closely related to aspirin. Like most essential oils, birch is also a potent antiseptic.
The final oil on the list is not a painkiller or anti-inflammatory, and is better known for its effects on mood: lavender. But like eucalyptus and rosemary oil, lavender oil helps increase circulation, which leads to improved healing and reduced pain. Lavenders ability to promote calm, relaxation and sleep also help mobilize your bodys natural healing abilities.
How to use essential oils for arthritis
With only a very few exceptions, essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin. Instead, they should be mixed with a carrier oil such as jojoba, sesame, olive or sweet almond. These can be food-grade oils from your grocery store, or cosmetics-grade oils purchased from a natural health or grocery store.
One of the best essential oil treatments for arthritis is a full-body bath soak. This consists of taking a few drops of essential oils, mixing them into a small amount of carrier oil, then pouring the entire mixture into a bathtub full of hot water. If you want, you can also add 2 to 3 cups of Epsom salts for added effectiveness.
If you want a more focused treatment on a particular part of your body, you can simply use your essential oil-carrier oil blend (about 10 drops essential oil per ounce of carrier oil) as a massage oil, and apply it directly to the troublesome spot. Or you can mix 4 drops of essential oil directly into a pint of either hot or icy water, to use for a hot or cold compress. Soak up the water-oil blend with a small towel, then apply the compress to the painful area for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the compress has reached body temperature.
Heat is recommended by most health professionals for maximum promotion of blood flow and the bodys natural healing processes. Cold, however, can provide more short-term relief by temporarily reducing pain and swelling. To get the benefits of both, you can alternate between hot and cold compresses.
Because essential oils are biologically active, it is possible for them to interact negatively with certain pharmaceutical drugs. If you are taking any arthritis medication, consult with a qualified health professional before mixing pharmaceutical and essential oil therapies.
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