Basil in all its forms is a true nutritional powerhouse. It is anti-bacterial and is high in essential nutrients like vitamins A, K and C, manganese, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Most importantly, like cannabis, this pungent herb contains flavonoids and terpenes in its oil, such as linalool, cineole, and limonene. These are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that can contribute greatly to breast cancer prevention.
What is Holy Basil?
Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is known as Tulsi in the centuries-old Ayurvedic healing tradition, where it is often used to ease anxiety. Modern medical studies have also shown holy basil’s effect on stress and this is perhaps the biggest reason why it should be included in your cancer healing toolbox. A 2011 Indian study using mice found that Holy Basil extract had a profound effect on markers for both depression and anxiety and that it “can be a potential therapeutic agent against mixed anxiety and depressive syndrome [MADD].”
While Holy Basil helps to stimulate cognition and decrease anxiety and depression, at the same time it can also increase immune function. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that healthy participants given 300 mg of Ocimum sanctum Linn. (Tulsi) extract on an empty stomach for a month had increased immune function, including a rise in T Cells and Natural Killer cells which help fight cancer.
Can Basil Help Heal Cancer?
Other basil (Ocimum basilicum) varieties besides Tulsi also seem to have vast healing effects—some against cancer tumor progression directly.
A 2007 Eastern European study found that basil extract used in conjunction with a whole-foods, vegetable-centric diet resulted in marked reduction in oxidated stress in women with advanced breast cancer. The researchers found that after three months of dietary changes, including adding basil extract, oxidative stress had gone down by almost half.
Another study, this one conducted in 2011 by the Cancer Biology and Applied Molecular Biology Laboratories at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, discovered that “basil leaf extract was highly effective in inhibiting carcinogen-induced tumor incidence …at the peri-initiational level.” The researchers zeroed in on basil’s possible effects on mice skin and fore-stomach papillomas. The animals were given 200 and 400 mg of basil extract per 1 kg of body weight. They found that the herb’s tumor-reducing effect was due, again, to its anti-oxidant properties. In particular, basil had a positive effect on glutathione production as well as a protection against liver cell damage.
Basil for Cancer Prevention
In addition to how basil can protect against cancer directly, it is also a great herb to add to your breast cancer prevention arsenal for its indirect healing effects:
- Basil is high in Vitamin D. The benefits of Vitamin D for health cannot be overemphasized—and it is essential that you get enough vitamin D if you wish to prevent breast cancer! Studies have shown that breast cancer patients with high levels of Vitamin D levels are two times as likely to survive than women with low levels. This is because vitamin D actually attacks and destroys cancer cells. Vitamin D is so important that the Canadian Cancer Society has endorsed using vitamin D as one of their cancer-prevention strategies.
- Basil is high in antioxidants. These come in the form of high amounts of both Vitamin C and flavonoids. Flavonoids are strong anti-inflammatories, as mentioned earlier. Vitamin C is needed for repair in the body, and antioxidants like vitamin C protect cells from both the amount of free radicals in the system and the damage they can cause.
- Basil is a powerful anti-bacterial. A 2004 study conducted by Ghent University in Belgium found that washing lettuce in a solution of 1 % either basil or thyme essential oil led to a considerable decline in the number of Shigella bacteria. Shigella can lead to shigellosis, which effects approximately 500,00 Americans each year according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is resistant to most antibiotics. Basil is also an effective antibacterial against E. coli, Salmonella and many others.
- Basil can balance blood sugar. Studies have shown that basil can control blood sugar as well. A 2004 study found that basil extract decreased serum concentrations of both cortisol and glucose in mice, suggesting that Ocimum sanctummay help regulate diabetes. Another study with rats found that basil leaves helped to reduce hyperglycemia, control cortisol levels and balance out adrenal overproduction.
Make Basil Part of Your Healing Toolbox!
If you had to pick just a few herbs for your kitchen (heaven forbid), I would say that basil needs to be at the top of that list! Eat basil leaves raw right from of the garden or farmers market or simmer then in tasty recipes. Of course, many individuals use basil in extract (food grade essential oil) form or in capsules. Do yourself, your body and your taste buds a favor– add this tasty “super herb” to your healthy breast protocol today!
Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, better known as Dr. V, is the founder of The 7 Essentials System ™, a step-by-step guide that teaches you exactly how to prevent and heal Breast Cancer naturally. To get your FREE 7-Day Mini e-Course and to receive her weekly action steps and inspiring articles on the power of Natural Medicine, visit her at BreastCancerConqueror.com