Walking down the tea aisle at any Whole Foods, or any other health food store, you’ll see “holy basil” teas all over the place. Likewise, you’ve probably also heard spiritual experts mention this sacred herb, whether they cultivate it, eat it, drink it, or burn it.
So, what’s the big deal? Why are so many people so interested in this peppery-tasting Indian herb? In short, it carries tons of benefits; let’s get into those below!
What is holy basil?
Holy basil (also known as Tulsi) has been recognized for its medicinal and spiritual benefits for thousands of years, all the way back to the creation of ancient Indian medicine, Ayurveda!
This is a green, leafy plant, but it’s different from regular basil you’d find in a spice cabinet. In addition, holy basil, as opposed to regular basil, is native to India and is available under the scientific name ‘Ocimum sanctum (Black Variety)’ and ‘Ocimum Americanum (White Variety)’ in the US. From eating it, to burning it, to putting it in your tea, this little plant has countless benefits: scientific studies have shown that it may even reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
Spiritual significance of holy basil
As mentioned above, holy basil has ties to Ayurvedic medicine, which classifies every person’s energy into three components: kapha (earth), vata (air), and pitta (fire). Ideally, these three elements will work in balance, but they sometimes fall off-kilter. For those who have excess kapha, holy basil can help to reduce that earthy energy and bring the elements back into harmony.
Chinese medicine also recognizes holy basil as spiritually significant. In this tradition, practitioners use holy basil to craft a “shen tonic”, which is said to nurture the spirit.
In addition, some use holy basil as a simple balancing supplement or tincture; since it reduces stress, it’s great for balancing the chakras and finding your center.
Finally, some smudge their space by burning dried holy basil. Similar to sage, holy basil smoke both kills airborne bacteria and purifies a space of negative energies. We’ll get into this more below.
9 spiritual benefits of holy basil
1. Cultivate holy basil in your home garden for protection and prosperity
This plant is called holy basil for a reason! In Hinduism, it’s said that holy basil plants protect your space, call in luck and prosperity, and ward off negative vibrations. Keep a potted holy basil plant in your home to maintain your space’s positive energy! Alternatively, you can keep a few fresh/dried leaves of basil in a bowl in spaces that need cleansing and protection.
Keeping a basil plant in your home can also help attract love into your life or improve your existing relationships.
Here’s a tip: holy basil likes warm temperatures (remember that this plant comes from steamy India). If you don’t live in a tropical or subtropical area, make sure to bring it inside during the winter.
2. Carry basil leaves with you to attract good luck
Again, in Hinduism, holy basil is seen as a good luck charm– and you don’t have to keep the good luck confined to your home! Carry a few fresh or dried holy basil leaves with you (in your wallet) wherever you go in order to protect your energy and attract luck and prosperity.
3. Smudge using holy basil to clear negative energy
Smudging means to burn a dried plant and allow the smoke to energetically purify your space and your body. You can smudge with dried holy basil leaves alone, or again, get creative and blend it with other herbs! Holy basil smells great alongside mugwort or sweet grass.
As mentioned earlier, holy basil smoke cleanses the air and kicks negative vibrations out the window, so use a holy basil smudge stick after you’ve entertained any energy vampires. Be sure to actually open a window, so that the negative energy has somewhere to go!
4. Take a spiritual bath using holy basil for purification
Soaking in a warm bath full of holy basil leaves will leave you feeling calm and refreshed: first of all, you’ll of course enjoy the sweet holy basil scent that the leaves release upon contact with the warm water. Second, using holy basil as a bath tonic is a known Ayurvedic remedy for balancing the Doshas (kapha, vata, and pitta, as described above).
Thirdly, a holy basil bath will also cleanse and purify your aura of any negative energy. This can also help attract love into your life.
To make a holy basil bath, you can add a few dried holy basil leaves to a fine mesh bag and drop it in the bathtub, or simply add the leaves straight to your bath water.
5. Use holy basil water to attract success in your business ventures
To make holy basil water, soak a few fresh basil leaves in water for a few days. You can then sprinkle this water (or spray it) on the threshold of your business to help attract new customers, making you more wealth and success in the process.
You can also put a few dried basil leaves or a sprig of basil under the doormat (or near the doorway) of your shop or in your cash register to attract more wealth into your business.
6. Give basil plant as a housewarming gift for good luck
A young basil plant can make for an excellent housewarming gift as it will bring in good luck and prosperity to the new home. To clear the new home of any negative energies, consider smudging the space with basil or sprinkling/spraying basil water on the walls, floors and windows of the rooms. The right intention can make this even more powerful.
7. Use basil to improve your relationship with your significant other
Basil can help improve the relationship between you and your significant other. Diffuse sweet basil essential oil to soothe tempers and increase understanding in the household. This can also help in balancing emotional energies and letting go of the past.
You can also add basil leaves to love spell jars or sachets to enhance the effect of the jar. One more way is to rub the diluted essential oil (or juice of crushed leaves) to your skin which will act as a natural love perfume.
8. Consume holy basil leaves for relaxation
Holy basil leaves contain what’s known as “adaptogens”, which, as the name suggests, help you adapt to stress with greater resilience. Adaptogens accomplish this by balancing cortisol (the stress hormone), boosting the immune system, and reducing inflammation. So, if you struggle to deal with your stress, eating a few holy basil leaves a day may help.
You can find countless holy basil teas at most health food stores these days; luckily, this will make it easy for you to consume this calm-inducing herb on a daily basis! Drinking holy basil teas can foster a sense of calm and balance, so you may also want to drink this tea daily if you experience lots of stress.
Adding holy basil to your smoothies with greens such as kale and spinach (or fruit smoothies, too!) can act as a powerful anti-stress breakfast. A few other ingredients that holy basil may blend well with include roasted dandelion root, ashwagandha, and cinnamon.
Please note: exercise caution while consuming the leaves as it an cause allergic reactions in some people.
9. Make holy basil herbal sachets/Potpourri to bring in good energy
The holy basil plant has a naturally sweet smell, making it perfect for adding fragrance to your home. One way to do this is by drying holy basil leaves and storing them in sachets or potpourri bowls around your home. You can get creative and add other dried plants, such as rose petals or lemon peels!
On the other hand, you can also do a “simmering potpourri”. In this case, you’d gather a handful of dried holy basil, add it to a pot of water, and let it simmer on the stove for half an hour or so (or until the sweet aroma fills your space). This is great for cleansing your space and bringing in good energy.
Should I take holy basil at night or in the morning?
The answer is: it depends on who you are, and what effect you’re hoping for.
If you’re hoping to reap holy basil’s stress-reducing, blood sugar-regulating, or digestive tract-stimulating effects, you’d do best to take it in the morning. If using it as a digestive aid, you may even want to take your holy basil before you’ve had anything to eat or drink for the day.
However, this herb’s stress reduction benefits means that you may also benefit from a nighttime cup of holy basil tea. If you struggle to turn your thinking mind off at night, try taking holy basil before bedtime.
Some contraindications: Ingesting or burning holy basil comes with hardly any risks. However, if you’re pregnant or nursing, you should avoid using holy basil, as there is not enough evidence to prove its safety during pregnancy.
Summing it up
All things considered, if you enjoy the taste of holy basil (whether you like the leaves or the tea, or both!), then there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from adding this peppery-flavored plant to your diet! On the other hand, many people don’t like the plant’s taste, but enjoy the smell when burned or used as potpourri.
This plant has endless uses, and all of them are beneficial to you, both physically and spiritually. So if you’re searching for an herb which will reduce stress and call in good luck, look no further: holy basil is the one you need!