Holy basil (ocimum sanctum) is a plant that is native to Southeast Asia. It is also known as tulsi and in India where it is highly revered, it is commonly used in Ayuverda, the traditional Indian medicine system.
Users of the plant use it to make herbal tea and it is also sold as an essential oil. A cousin of the more known sweet basil, it is not typically used for cooking although the leaves can be eaten raw. It can also be found in supplement form.
Holy basil has a rich phytochemical composition and contains a lot of nutrients. For this reason, the plant is used to treat a number of ailments and conditions.
But can holy basil help you lose weight? This is what you’re going to learn about in this article.
Read on if you want to know how this Asian herb can help you get rid of dangerous unwanted fat.
How Holy Basil Can Help With Weight Loss
Holy basil is a nutrient rich plant, with an abundance of the following:
- Vitamin A, C & K
The herb is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are natural substances that help your body adapt to stress and promote mental balance. It also has a wide range of uses which makes it deserving of the title “Queen of herbs” or “Mother medicine of nature”.
While all of these nutrients and benefits are great for someone who wants to lose weight, here’s how the herb actually helps with weight loss.
Ursolic Acid Boosts Brown Fat
Holy basil is rich in many nutrients and compounds, one of them in particular being ursolic acid. Ursolic acid is a substance that contributes to the waxy coating of apples and many other fruits and also many herbs.
One study done in 2012 showed that ursolic acid reduces obesity, glucose intolerance and fatty liver disease by increasing skeletal muscle and brown adipose tissue. They concluded that ursolic acid was a potential approach in fighting obesity and obesity related illnesses.
Since holy basil is a rich source of ursolic acid, it is a great herb to use if you want to boost brown adipose tissue (BAT). Brown fat, as it is alternatively known, isn’t present in large amounts in adults but can be “recruited” by exposing your body to cold temperatures, exercising and eating foods rich in substances that can boost and activate BAT.
This brown adipose tissue will use the calories in unwanted white fat as an energy source, burning it up to 300 times faster to produce heat. The result is fat loss and weight loss.
At the same time ursolic acid is shown to increase skeletal muscle so holy basil can help you build muscle mass as you lose fat.
Eugenol Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Eugenol, a volatile oil, is also a key constituent of holy basil.
Studies show that eugenol can help lower stress-induced cholesterol levels Researchers found that there was a reduction of total cholesterol levels in the kidney, liver and heart in rats with and without diabetes after they ate holy basil leaf powder.
The study also showed that there was a significant reduction in fat molecules of rabbits when they ate fresh holy basil leaves. The subjects also had lower “bad” cholesterol and higher “good” cholesterol levels.
This is evidence that holy basil can help with many other obesity related issues such as managing cholesterol levels in the body and reducing fat.
Adaptogens Counter The Effects of Cortisol
Holy basil, as pointed out earlier is an adaptogen. Adaptogens help the body manage physical, chemical and environmental stress. One way in which it does this is to decrease cortisol levels in the body.
Cortisol is your body’s natural stress response system. When you experience stress, the hormone kicks in, releasing glucose into the bloodstream and enhances your brains use of glucose. Cortisol eventually level back out when there is less stress, however overexposure to cortisol can be a bit damaging and can create a host of problems.
- digestive issues
- weight gain
- high blood pressure
- heart disease/heart attacks
- sleep issues
- muscle tension and pain
Adaptogens like holy basil can help you cope with stress naturally by lowering cortisol levels in your body. This can help you to counter stress-related illnesses caused by elevated cortisol levels.
Holy Basil’s Other Benefits Are a Bonus
Using holy basil to help with weight loss is a great choice as the herb has numerous health benefits. These other benefits are essentially a bonus.
For example, holy basil can help regulate blood glucose levels in the body which is great for diabetes management and prevention. It can help with anxiety and it’s rich Vitamin K content helps to maintain optimum brain health, prevent blood clotting and osteoporosis.
Holy basil leaves can be eaten fresh or you can make tea to drink. It is available in supplement form and is sometimes combined with other herbs in some supplements.
If you want to get the full weight loss benefits of holy basil, it is one of the key ingredients in the brown adipose tissue boosting diet supplement Exipure. The supplement contains 7 other exotic herbs and nutrients that also boost brown fat and promote weight loss.
Holy basil is definitely deserving of the title “Queen of herbs” as it proves itself a versatile herb capable of treating a wide variety of issues. This includes the treatment of obesity which relatively new research supports.
By using holy basil, compounds present in the plant can help you boost brown adipose tissue which burns calories from white fat and help you gain muscle. It can also help you manage stress and fight obesity related issues like lowering cholesterol levels and regulating blood glucose levels.