Holy Basil

Last Updated: September 28 2022

A traditional anti-fertility agent and libido enhancer in Ayurveda, Holy Basil (also known as Tulsi) is currently being investigated for these two claims and its general health properties. A good source of dietary Ursolic acid, which may cause the anti-fertility aspects.

Holy Basil is most often used for


Holy Basil (also known as Tulsi, or Ocimum sanctum) is an ayurvetic herb which has historically been used to treat a variety of general ailments. It recently has been shown to hold scientific worth in the areas of liver protection and general anti-oxidant activity, as well as being classified as an adaptogen (reducing the effects of stress on the body).

It is also used as a testosterone booster, although no direct evidence exists in humans for this. It has also been demonstrated to hinder reproductive capacity.

What else is Holy Basil known as?
Note that Holy Basil is also known as:
  • Ocimum sanctum
  • Green Tulsi
  • Sacred Basil
  • Tulsi
  • Ocimum tenuiflorum
Holy Basil should not be confused with:
  • Thai Basil (a table spice)
Dosage information

500mg of the leaf extract taken twice daily appears to be recommended for neurological and adaptogenic effects of holy Basil, whereas the only evidence on other health effects or testosterone boosting are done in rats with the dosages of 100-200mg/kg and 500mg/kg respectively. This leads to an estimated human dose of:

  • 1,100-2,200mg for a 150lb person for general health and 5,500mg for testosterone boosting
  • 1,500-2,900mg for a 200lb person for general health and 7,300mg for testosterone boosting
  • 1,800-3,600mg for a 250lb person for general health and 9,100mg for testosterone boosting

These are estimated human dosages based on animal research, and it is unsure if they are the optimal doses for humans.

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2.^Bhargava KP, Singh NAnti-stress activity of Ocimum sanctum LinnIndian J Med Res.(1981 Mar)
5.^Gupta P, Yadav DK, Siripurapu KB, Palit G, Maurya RConstituents of Ocimum sanctum with antistress activityJ Nat Prod.(2007 Sep)
7.^Bhattacharyya D1, Sur TK, Jana U, Debnath PKControlled programmed trial of Ocimum sanctum leaf on generalized anxiety disordersNepal Med Coll J.(2008 Sep)
8.^Mondal S, Varma S, Bamola VD, Naik SN, Mirdha BR, Padhi MM, Mehta N, Mahapatra SCDouble-blinded randomized controlled trial for immunomodulatory effects of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn.) leaf extract on healthy volunteersJ Ethnopharmacol.(2011 Jul 14)
10.^Sethi J, Yadav M, Sood S, Dahiya K, Singh VEffect of tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum Linn.) on sperm count and reproductive hormones in male albino rabbitsInt J Ayurveda Res.(2010 Oct)
11.^Seth SD, Johri N, Sundaram KRAntispermatogenic effect of Ocimum sanctumIndian J Exp Biol.(1981 Oct)
15.^Ubaid RS, Anantrao KM, Jaju JB, Mateenuddin MEffect of Ocimum sanctum (OS) leaf extract on hepatotoxicity induced by antitubercular drugs in ratsIndian J Physiol Pharmacol.(2003 Oct)
18.^Bharavi K, Reddy AG, Rao GS, Kumar PR, Kumar DS, Prasadini PPPrevention of cadmium bioaccumulation by herbal adaptogensIndian J Pharmacol.(2011 Feb)
23.^Singh S, Taneja M, Majumdar DKBiological activities of Ocimum sanctum L. fixed oil--an overviewIndian J Exp Biol.(2007 May)
24.^Devi PU, Ganasoundari ARadioprotective effect of leaf extract of Indian medicinal plant Ocimum sanctumIndian J Exp Biol.(1995 Mar)