Also known as Tulsi, Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is an adaptogen that has a long history of use in ayurvedic Indian folk medicine. It is considered helpful for:
- Overall support during stressful experiences
- Balancing cortisol levels (source)
- Elevating mood (source)
- Cardiovascular support
Is Holy Basil safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
According to the Botanical Safety Handbook: 2nd Edition, large doses of Holy Basil have caused a reduction in embryo implantation in animal studies. Therefore Holy Basil is not recommended for those who wish to get pregnant or are currently pregnant.
No concerns have been identified for nursing women. For a more in-depth discussion of opinions regarding the use of adaptogens during pregnancy/breastfeeding, see this post.
How much is recommended?
Adaptogens are herbs rather than pharmaceutical drugs, so there are no dosages. However, herbalists do share knowledge about what methods of consumption seem to produce a beneficial effect for most people.
The suggestions below are found in Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief by ethnobotanist David Winston and herbal expert Steven Maimes:
- For a 1:5 or 1:2 tincture – which is 1 ounce dried Holy Basil by weight, mixed with either 5 or 2 ounces of 60 proof or higher alcohol and allowed to steep for six to eight weeks – 40-60 drops, three times per day.
- As a decoction – “Add 1 tsp. dried leaf to 8 oz. hot water, steep, covered, 5-10 minutes. Take 4 oz. up to three times per day.”
As always, please check with your health care provider before using any herbal remedy.