HOLY BASIL TO BEAT STRESS AND SLEEP BETTERCategory: Newsworthy Notes
NOTE from PRO: There are people affected by Parkinson’s who cannot, or in many cases, wish not to take more pharmaceuticals for what seems to be ancillary problems, like insomnia or sleeping through the night. We investigated some alternatives and thanks to a primary care medical professional we came upon Holy Basil. We have heard from PWPs and Caregivers that they are finding tremendous benefits through its use.
If you find yourself tossing and turning between 2:00 and 3:00 AM, Holy Basil might be the answer to getting you through the night.
Holy Basil is not some new trendy supplement made in a lab that’s going to sedate you. It has been around and used for thousands of years, and there is plenty of research to support it.
It is very likely that this ancient Indian herb can get to the cause of your insomnia, plus, it does a lot more than help with sleep.
In India, Holy Basil is called “The Queen of Herbs.” It has been part of traditional Hindu medicine for over 3,000 years.
It’s also referred to as Tulsi. They treasure Holy Basil in India for its many healing and spiritual properties such as creating spiritual awareness, extending one’s lifespan, and healing physical pain.
However, it’s best known for its calming properties and stress reduction. And that makes Holy Basil an effective sleep aid.
Daily Stress Impacts Your Sleep – If you keep waking up in the middle of the night, it can be due to a stress hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol is the main stress hormone in the body. When you’re under stress, your body releases cortisol from the adrenal glands which sit on top of your kidneys.
Cortisol fuels the body under stress, such as when running from a bear, by releasing glucose or sugar into the bloodstream.
Today, the problem is not bears chasing you; it’s constantly defending yourself against deadlines, emails and to-do’s resulting in high cortisol around the clock. Cortisol is normally highest between 6:00 AM and 8:00 AM, which is why you wake up in the morning. However, constant stress can disrupt this normal cycle causing you to awaken in the middle of the night instead.
So, now that you know a little about stress and sleep, you may be wondering how Holy Basil can help.
Holy Basil can actually lower elevated cortisol and even regulate blood sugar.
Also, the literature suggests that it increases physical and mental endurance, leaving you more resilient. Thus, it helps reduce stress and anxiety.
When you reduce stress and anxiety, the cause of high cortisol, you will eventually normalize cortisol levels, which can go a long way towards normalizing your sleep cycle.
Basil Proves To Be A Great Sleep Aid. Holy Basil comes dried for use as a tea. Here’s what the evidence says… In one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, researchers tested the efficacy of Holy Basil extract against general stress. The amazing result of this study was that Holy Basil reduced forgetfulness, symptoms of sexual problems (stress-related), and it relieved feelings of fatigue and sleep problems.
Another study showed how Holy Basil significantly improved anxiety, stress, depression and attention span in subjects suffering from general anxiety disorder. They noted the greatest improvements after 60 days of treatment.
Basil Is Not Just For Bedtime. Holy Basil has also shown positive benefits to other systems of the body such as the endocrine system, nervous, immune, cardiovascular, and digestive systems.
But that’s not all… Because it lowers blood sugar levels, which in turn reduces cravings and stabilizes mood, it can facilitate weight loss!
So if insomnia is just one of many health concerns you are facing, you may be able to use Holy Basil to treat your other problems too. Two birds, one stone.
Holy Basil Varieties - There are five (5) different types of Holy Basil.
Amrita – This type has the highest amount of the antianxiety compound rosmarinic acid. It has purple throughout its leaves, a dense bush, and a lighter aroma.
Kapoor – the easiest to grow where the weather is temperate, and it’s very aromatic.
Krishna – known for its medicinal properties and crisp, peppery taste.
Rama – found to have the highest level of all medicinal compounds. It grows well in warm climates.
Vana – known as the “forest type” because it grows much higher than the others.
Most companies don’t list the specific type(s) of Holy Basil used in their products. The varieties differ based on regions where they grow. And all varieties contain medicinal properties.
The important thing to remember – is that the supplement should be a standardized extract prepared by a reputable company.
How to take Holy Basil as a sleep aid: If you’re using Holy Basil for prevention, the dose range supported in literature is 300 mg – 2,000 mg of Holy Basil extract daily in one dose.
Extracts have the largest concentration of Holy Basil. The recommended dose is two to five drops, three times a day. While ready-to-brew teabags often have instructions saying to have a single cup before bed.
Always remember, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s directions or the direction of a licensed practitioner.
Side Effects Of Holy Basil. Steeping dried Holy Basil makes a healthy sleep tea. As with all natural sleep aids, there are a few things to be mindful of when using Holy Basil to treat insomnia.
If you are allergic to mint, avoid using Holy Basil because it’s from the same family and may trigger your allergies.
Eugenol, the active ingredient in Holy Basil can cause an overdose if you take too much.
Beware of symptoms related to overdoses such as shallow breathing, blood in the urine or sputum, mouth and throat burns, nausea, racing heartbeat, seizures, dizziness, and coma. Contact a doctor or poison control center immediately if any of these symptoms occur.
Lastly, proceed with caution if you’re taking any medication, have low blood sugar, and avoid use if you’re pregnant or lactating.
Eat well and sleep well.