Basil vs Holy Basil - What's the difference?

Basil vs Holy Basil - What's the difference?

By Shannon, Posted in Garden, Wellness

Basil and holy basil are frequently highlighted when discussing aromatic herbs that have found their way into our kitchens and medical practices. These two plants could appear to be twins due to their similar names and appearances, but they are actually quite different from one another in terms of their properties and applications. 

In this article, we'll dive into the world of basil and holy basil and examine how they differ in terms of their herbal properties, the diseases they can treat, and their practical applications.

Herbal Actions of Basil

The herb basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a favorite in the kitchen. Its leaves are distinguished by their vivid green color and flavor, which has a hint of sweetness and pepper. It is highly prized for its aromatic properties, especially due to the presence of linalool, eugenol, and citronellol in its essential oils. These elements contribute to the numerous health advantages of basil in addition to giving it its distinctive scent.

Ailments Basil can be Used For

Basil can be a great ally for digestive health. It is a useful supplement to meals that can cause discomfort because it has carminative characteristics that reduce gas and bloating. The essential oils found in Basil, particularly eugenol, exhibit anti-inflammatory effects which makes it effective for treating illnesses linked to inflammation. Its aroma has been particularly associated with stress reduction and mental clarity and its essential oil is often used in aromatherapy for its calming effects.

How to Use Basil

Basil is most commonly used in cooking to magnify the flavor of various cuisines. It pairs well with tomatoes, pasta, salads, and even desserts. Its leaves may also be soaked in hot water to create a calming herbal tea.

Herbal Actions of Holy Basil

Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), religiously referred to as Tulsi holds a treasured spot in conventional Ayurvedic treatment. It is revered as a sacred plant in India and is thought to have both spiritual and therapeutic value. Along with other bioactive substances, holy basil contains essential oils including eugenol and caryophyllene, which contribute to its medicinal qualities.

Ailments Holy Basil Can be Used for

Holy basil serves as a classic adaptogen which means it can support equilibrium and assist the body in adjusting to stress. It possesses immune-modulating properties that could help the body's defenses against illnesses and infections. It is also commonly used to address respiratory issues because its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties can help soothe coughs and alleviate congestion.

People with diabetes may find Holy Basil interesting because some study indicates it may help control blood sugar levels.

How to Use Holy Basil

Holy Basil is frequently taken as a supplement or as a tea in Ayurvedic practices. The leaves are also used to make herbal tinctures and extracts. Its distinctive flavor may not be as frequently used in culinary preparations as that of its cousin Basil.

While basil and holy basil may belong to the same plant family, there are notable distinctions between them in terms of the conditions they treat and the ways in which they are used. Basil shines as a culinary delight with digestive and anti-inflammatory benefits, enhancing the flavor of dishes. On the other hand, Holy Basil holds a sacred place in traditional medicine, offering adaptogenic support, immune modulation, and respiratory relief. So, the next time you come across these herbal twins, remember that their unique qualities make each a valuable asset in both the kitchen and the realm of holistic well-being.