Heavenly Herb Encourages Weight Loss and Fights Diabetes

diabetes diet planDear Pharmacist,

I’m concerned about diabetes, I’m overweight, and it runs in my family. My sister has your diabetes book and said you recommend Holy Basil, among other herbs and nutrients. Is that the same as regular basil and would you tell me more?

–.A.L., Rockwall, Texas

Answer: I think Holy Basil a fabulous herb. This herb has been prized for centuries and is considered a sacred plant. It is related to other types of basil, but it’s not the same as the fresh basil you buy in American supermarkets (which is great too), or the dried spice form. Holy Basil acts as an “adaptogen” in the body, meaning it helps you adapt. It protects cells, improves endurance and helps you cope with stress by supporting adrenal and thyroid function.

Holy Basil is also called “Tulsi” in Ayurvedic medicine; both terms refer to the herb known in latin as Ocimum sanctum. Whatever you call it, it delivers!

Compounds in Holy Basil have been shown in clinical trials to nourish the pancreas, and specifically help generate healthy new beta cells. These beta cells are the body’s insulin-production factories, and insulin lowers blood sugar. See the connection? Holy Basil helps other cells in your body open up their receptor (their door), which welcomes insulin like a long lost friend. This is a beautiful thing, because it lightens the load on your liver and precious adrenal glands. You may notice fewer craving for sweets. Hey, getting your hand out of the cookie jar could mean faster weight loss!

Listen up if you have high cholesterol or triglycerides. Conventional medicine might call for statin drugs to reduce these markers. Studies suggest that Holy Basil can help reduce blood fats which, as you know, contribute to heart disease and remain a devastating complication of diabetes. Holy Basil happens to be a potent antioxidant, sweeping away damaged cells that could run amok. Tulsi happens to also have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. I hate fungus. I’m all about killing bad germs, and growing good ones (probiotics). With that in mind, consider Holy Basil this fall to reduce the risk of cough and cold.

I drink Holy Basil every day, in the form of tea (it’s called Tulsi Tea), and I keep the tea bags in my purse so at restaurants, I just ask for a cup of hot water and steep it at my table. Holy Basil is stronger when taken as an oral supplement. Organic India, New Chapter and Source

Naturals all make commercial brands. As for safety, it’s been used for eons and has an impressive track record, but because it lowers blood sugar, I don’t want you to combine it with prescribed diabetes medication unless you closely monitor your blood sugar and remain supervised by your doctor so he can reduce medication dosage when necessary. You’ll find other simple recommendations to manage diabetes and weight in my new book Diabetes without Drugs, available at bookstores nationwide and Amazon.


Related articles of interest:

Your Garden’s Hidden Pharmacy

Gymnema: Ancient herbal “sugar destroyer”

17 Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

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Suzy Cohen, RPh

Suzy is a graduate of the University of Florida and has been a licensed pharmacist for nearly 20 years.  People call her “America’s Most Trusted Pharmacist” because she has spent the last 10 years writing a syndicated column on health which reaches millions of people each week. People write to her from all over the world and thank her for giving them natural options, or for helping them stay safe on medications they need to take.  She realizes the importance and need for medications, but prefers to think outside the pillbox.  This mindset comes through in her work and has made her quite popular around the world.

Read more from Suzy at www.dearpharmacist.com

Suzy Cohen, RPh

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  1. THAIGUY says

    Concerning the article on Holy Basil, if you have not tried it DO
    not only healthy, also delicious. We lived in Alaska before moving to Thailand early this year, we had a hard time finding it in the Asian stores in the next town at times. If you go to an Asian store the Thai name for it is bike-a-pow. It does not keep well, in the frig a week or a little longer keep the moisture off.
    In the freezer pick the leaves and seeds off the stems and freeze
    it in the oil you prefer. If you do not it will turn black and loose its flavor. Want a great Thai dish, in the oil and herb when hot add some chopped garlic and Thai chile just a minute or so then add lean ground pork, when just about ready add just a little soy sauce and a touch of water stir and serve with rice.
    IF you are using fresh bike-a-pow stir it in just before taking it out of the pan. Enjoy.

  2. Lori says

    There is a small percentage of people who can get weird side effects from Holy Basil and I happen to be one of them. I get really weak in the elbows and knees and it gives me “the willies”. I’ve talked with a couple of naturopaths about it (including one who was affiliated with New Chapter) and they confirmed this may happen to some folks. I still recommend it though, as most people can get some real benefits from it.

  3. Dr.Tanwani Ishwar says

    Tulsi is used in India,since thousands of years.It is helpful in common colds,fever,bronchitis,asthma,cancer and almost any
    chronic problems with good results.

  4. Anonymous says

    thank you for the information was a great
    I know about tulsi but ii didn’t knew that it work on a diabetes I have a liquid form does it work same

  5. Ricardo36 says

    Dear Suzi,
    I would like your opinion about sterilizing of stethoscopes, I unfortunately have to visit too many Doctors and my last visit to one the P.A. was highly insulted when I mentioned sterilizing the stethoscope and when the Dr. came in he demanded that I apologize to her.
    In this day of infectious diseases,MRSA and fungus infections, etc. wouldn’t you think they would be more careful about spreading disease? None of the Dr.s I see visabley sterilize their stethoscope. I know what the answer is, but would like your professional opinion. Sincerely, Rich Keene, Edgewater, Fl.

  6. R Vasudevan says

    Tulasi is offered to Lord Vishnu and given to His worshippers . The medicinal properties of these leaves are well known in India for centuries. But for today’s requirements, a concentrated form of the alkaloids if isolated and administered, tritrated exactly to combat different ailments will be a boon to patients. Needless to stress the point that there are no side effects to using this God given natural relief to various physical complaints of people.
    I also wonder if any animal feeds on this while it may need relief from ailments that tend to get relieved by these holy leaves.

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