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holy basil

Holy basil is known as a tonic for a host of health concerns, including eczema and GI problems. A systematic review showed benefits in three areas: cooling inflammation, stabilizing blood sugar, and improving overall stress tolerance. In fact, in Ayurvedic medicine the tincture is sometimes called liquid yoga.

The goal of stress management is to reduce reactivity and help the body clean up after an overactive stress response; holy basil assists with both. It may help slow the release of cortisol, calming the stress response, and help block cortisol receptors, limiting its damage.

Dosage and Use: The typical dose of holy basil for adults is around 300 mg, taken two or three times daily. (For children, 100 mg twice daily, at most.) Look for a standardized freeze-dried form or liquid extract or enjoy it as a tea — one cup at bedtime to relax. (In tea form, holy basil is typically called tulsi.)

I like using supplements that combine holy basil with other herbal adaptogens; they often work better together. Like other tonic herbs, holy basil is considered safe, even for long-term use.

This was excerpted from “NATURAL MENTAL HEALTH: 3 Adaptogenic Plants to Help Relieve Stress” which was published in the September 2022 issue of Experience Life.

Henry Emmonds
Henry Emmons, MD

Henry Emmons, MD is an integrative psychiatrist and the author of The Chemistry of Joy, The Chemistry of Calm, and Staying Sharp. He is the cofounder of

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