Scientifically known as Ocimum sanctum, holy basil is a variety of the well-known herb indigenous to India. It is a vital plant in the world of Ayurvedic medicine. Now recognized globally, it is usually taken as a supplement or added as an ingredient to dishes. The leaves, oils, stems, and seeds of holy basil are utilized medicinally. Because of its curative properties, many people with diabetes (Type I and Type II) use holy basil to lower their elevated blood sugar levels.
Can Increase Insulin Production
Since diabetes involves high levels of glucose in the blood, the body needs insulin to lower these levels. In a Type I diabetic, the pancreas is unable to manufacture insulin. The individual is dependent on their insulin injections. On the other hand, the pancreas of a Type II diabetic is insensitive to insulin and cannot produce enough of it. Scientists speculate that holy basil can increase the secretion of insulin in Type II diabetes patients.
Can Reduce Blood Glucose Levels
According to the results of a study performed on 40 individuals with Type II diabetics, holy basil can help decrease the post-mean and the fasting blood sugar levels. The participants were all asked to stop taking their prescribed diabetes medications during the study. Twenty patients were asked to take 2.5 grams of holy basil leaf powder every day. The other twenty only took placebos. They all did this for two weeks. The two groups of participants were monitored closely. By the time the study ended, holy basil was able to reduce post-meal blood glucose levels by 7.3% and fasting blood glucose levels by about 7.6%.
Can Prevent Cardiovascular Conditions
Diabetics suffer from a common secondary health condition—cardiovascular disease. This is the main cause of death in many diabetic patients. Because holy basil has significant amounts of antioxidants, it can help in protecting the body from any cell damage. Free radicals have been found out to contribute to cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants fight off these free radicals. Studies also show that holy basil can lower total triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Elevated cholesterol levels make a diabetic vulnerable to cardiovascular conditions such as strokes and atherosclerosis. Taking holy basil daily can help reduce this great risk.
Though the participants in the study took 2.5 grams of dried holy basil leaf powder on an empty stomach daily, there is still no standard dose for the herb. The health benefits of holy basil for diabetics still need further study. In theory, this useful herb can lower levels of blood sugar when it interacts with sedatives or when it’s taken with diabetes medications.