Not to be mistaken for the supermarket herb that lends a fragrant aroma to your signature spaghetti sauce, Tulsi (holy basil) has it’s very own intoxicating scent that just might become your next favourite nourishing ingredient, especially for your skin! These days there are many ways to maximize the healing benefits of Tulsi whether it be through supplement tablets, powder, or as we’d like to explore today, Tulsi essential oil.
Where is Tulsi derived from?
Grown and used for Ayurveda and folk medicine for centuries, Tulsi has long been revered as a mind, body, and spiritual purifier in India. Earning the title, “Elixir of Life,” holy basil has a healing blend of medicinal and fragrant qualities. It is extracted through steam distillation from holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), the purple or green leaved subshrub which these days can be found planted in Hindu courtyards throughout the region and is worshipped for its soothing, protective powers. Even though the plant does tend to thrive outdoors in Mediterranean climates, it can be grown indoors just as you may grow common basil.
What are Tulsi's common characteristics?
With a fragrance similar to that of licorice, Tulsi oil is typically a clear to pale yellow color with a low viscosity. If you love strongly scented essential oils in your diffuser, the intoxicating aroma resembles a blend of cinnamon, peppermint, clove, basil, and licorice.
What does Tulsi oil do for my skin?
You know how a warm, hearty plate of food from your grandma is just the thing you need to heal your soul? Well, we’ve got it on good authority that Tulsi essential oil is the exact healing equivalent for your skin. That’s because Tulsi is jam packed with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, that all work together to heal the skin.
In fact, in a study conducted by the Naresuan University in Thailand, it was found that the use of holy basil oil effectively works against acne, thanks to its bacteria busting, antimicrobial powers.
As reported by ScienceAsia, “The purpose of this study was to evaluate skin irritation reactions of a 3% O. basilicum microemulsion on human subjects. Thirty healthy human subjects were enrolled in a 3-day cumulative irritancy study”
Even more exciting, this study found the main component of holy basil oil to be eugenol, which is of course the stand out feature in clove oil that helps to treat many skin disorders. It is important to note however that while highly effective, eugenol is quite strong and can be warming and irritating if not used at proper dilution levels and in a skin soothing formulation.
Because of its powerful antimicrobial properties, holy basil essential oil is also excellent for treating skin irritations such as eczema, small wounds, and sores. It certainly doesn’t stop there! Holy basil oil is packed with iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin K, and robust antioxidants (say that 10 times fast!), which all work together to reduce inflammation, boost skin cell metabolism, and maintain healthy collagen levels. Maintaining healthy collagen levels means you’ll have plump, smooth skin that regenerates itself constantly!
Other uses of Tulsi
In addition to being a skin care miracle worker, Tulsi is also used in natural health care to boost the immune system. Why do you need a strong immune system? If your body is in peak shape, that means it’s going to be less likely to develop cancer cells, as reported by Dr. Axe, and according to the Nutrition and Cancer journal.
Another one of the most powerful uses of holy basil is its adaptogenic properties which stimulate or sedate depending on what your body needs. Many people use holy basil oil for combatting mental stressors and anxiety since it is known to decrease stress hormones. What’s interesting is that in some cases, overeating is a symptom of anxiety, so by using Tulsi, it can actually help control weight gain!
The benefits of this herb seem to keep rolling in!
Several studies have proven the benefits of holy basil for mouth health (due to its antimicrobial properties), with a 2016 study in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology showing that holy basil was effective in warding off periodontal pathogens.
Where can you find and how can you use Tulsi?
So, are you ready to reap the many benefits of holy basil for both body and mind health?
There are many ways to make the most of this healing herb, starting with applying directly to the skin.
When used for treating or rejuvenating the skin, topical application is best, keeping in mind that holy basil oil must be combined with a carrier oil such as virgin coconut oil or easy to absorb olive oil. Our Tulsi Rejuvenating Oil with Lavender + Evening Primrose is the perfect choice to moisturize your skin, without leaving a greasy feeling, while our Tulsi Luminous Scrub with Lavender + Pink Sea Salt gently promotes healthy circulation.
To reap Tulsi’s calming and aromatherapy benefits, sipping on a warm cup of tea with the leaves or inhaling with our Herbal Detoxifying Steam with Flowers + Cleansing Herbs can provide deep, long lasting relaxation and also adds antibacterial properties to the steam.
Whatever your use for Tulsi, you’ll soon find it will become a regular feature in your skincare ritual. If you have any more questions about holy basil, drop us a comment below, we’ll be happy to hear from you!
Written by Tamryn Burgess
Tamryn is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Licensed Esthetician. Her passion for empowering people to make informed decisions about their mind and body flows through her work as a content creator for the world's top natural wellness, nutrition and growing skincare brands. She's an avid yogi, loves singing and when she's not writing, you can find her reading or trying something new! Find her on Twitter here: @tamrynjburgess