Holy basil contains ursolic acid and numerous other compounds that have powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. Holy basil may help alleviate type 2 diabetes by improving insulin activity in the body. Holy basil has radioprotective properties, having been shown to protect against radiation-induced sickness and prevent radiation-induced DNA damage. Holy basil, which is not typically consumed as food in the U.S., is available as tea (Tulsi tea).
Breast cancer-related effects of eating holy basil
Holy basil has been shown to inhibit breast cancer (including DCIS) growth and progression by affecting cell proliferation and angiogenesis in a mouse experimental model. Holy basil should not be used during radiation treatment since its radioprotective properties could interfere with radiotherapy effectiveness.
While they are closely related, basil (Ocimum basilicum), otherwise known as sweet basil, is not exactly the same plant as holy basil (Ocimum sanctum). Fresh or dried basil typically is used as a food ingredient, whereas holy basil normally is consumed as a herb in the U.S.
Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a more complete list of studies, please click on holy basil.