Recent studies have found the extract of holy basil significantly increases immune response and was beneficial in treating recurrent respiratory tract infection. In an uncontrolled trial holy basil extract relieved breathlessness and helped vital capacity in TPE (tropical pulmonary eosinophilia).
Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum also known as Ocimum sanctum), is an aromatic herb containing a characteristic essential oil.
In Hindu culture it's regarded as a sacred plant and belongs to the same family as sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum). There are several species of basil that are regarded as the most sacred of plants in the Hindu religion but Ocimum tenuiflorum is probably considered the most sacred, which has given rise to its English common names, holy basil and sacred basil.
Australian Aboriginals use the herb as a mild tonic and to treat colds while in Ayurvedic traditional medicine the highly regarded aerial parts of the plant are used dried or fresh to treat bronchitis, chronic fever, liver and gastric problems, catarrh, malaria, blood impurities, haemorrhage, and skin diseases. In Vietnam the herb has been used traditionally to treat headache, influenza, the common cold and many other conditions. Traditional Fijian and Thai medicine also uses holy basil to improve circulation and to treat peptic ulcer, and stress.
A good expectorant is made by combining holy basil fresh leaves with honey and ginger juice. It's very beneficial for childhood fever, bronchitis, and coughs. Various cultures often eat fresh leaves daily to help maintain good health.
Warning: Not to be taken during pregnancy
Proprietor, author, and tutor of The Home Herbalist Online Course.