Dense cluster of Holy Basil leaves with a rich, deep green hue, emphasizing the lush and healthy growth of the plant.

Holy Basil and Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Holy Basil, also known by its botanical name Ocimum sanctum or Tulsi, has long been revered in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for its purported health benefits.

Beyond its historical roots in South Asia, Holy Basil has gained contemporary attention as a nootropic—an agent that potentially enhances cognitive function and mental well-being. In the increasingly popular sphere of natural remedies, Holy Basil stands out for its adaptogenic properties, purportedly helping the body combat stress and promote mental clarity.

This blog post explores a scientific investigation, the “Controlled programmed trial of ocimum sanctum leaf on GAD” by Bhattacharyya et al. (2008), which examines its effects on Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

By exploring this study, we aim to bridge the gap between traditional herbal practices and evidence-based medicine, reflecting on the evolving role of natural remedies in modern therapeutic practices.



  • Background
  • Study Overview
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion


Holy Basil and Generalized Anxiety Disorder


Close-up of fresh Holy Basil leaves showcasing their vibrant green color and distinct texture, highlighting the plant's natural beauty



Historically, Holy Basil has been a cornerstone in Ayurvedic medicine, used for its wide range of health-promoting properties. It is believed to rejuvenate the body, maintain its balance, and help manage life stresses.

With the West's growing interest in alternative and complementary medicine, Holy Basil has surfaced as a popular nootropic, credited with improving mental agility, resilience to stress, and overall well-being. Preliminary studies and traditional claims suggest that it may alleviate stress and anxiety, offering a natural, less pharmacologically invasive path to mental health.

This blog reviews these traditional uses and the emerging scientific support, highlighting Holy Basil's potential as a holistic supplement in stress and anxiety management.


Study Overview

The study, "Controlled programmed trial of ocimum sanctum leaf on generalized anxiety disorders," authored by D. Bhattacharyya, T.K. Sur, U. Jana, and P.K. Debnath, was published in October 2008.

This research aimed to investigate the effects of Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) on patients suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The methodology employed was rigorous, involving a fixed dose regimen where 35 participants (21 males and 14 females) with an average age of 38.4 years were administered 500 mg capsules of Holy Basil extract twice daily after meals over a 60-day period.

The study utilized Hamilton's brief psychiatric rating scale to measure outcomes, and patients were assessed at baseline, the midpoint (30 days), and the end of the study (60 days).




The results of the study were significantly promising. Holy Basil intake led to substantial reductions in anxiety, stress, and associated depressive symptoms among the participants.

Statistically, the anxiety index showed a remarkable decrease from a baseline score of 84.42 to 55.54, marking a 34.2% reduction by the study's end (p<0.001). Similarly, the stress index saw a 27.5% decrease, and the depression index dropped by 30.8%.

These improvements were not only statistically significant but also indicative of Holy Basil’s potential as an effective natural remedy for managing psychological conditions like GAD, confirming its anxiolytic and antidepressant properties.

This study solidifies the role of Holy Basil as a substantial contributor to natural mental health management, aligning traditional use with modern clinical evidence.



The findings from the study on Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) demonstrate significant reductions in anxiety, stress, and depression, positioning it alongside other recognized nootropics and anxiety treatments.

Compared to traditional anxiolytics, such as benzodiazepines, Holy Basil offers a natural alternative without the associated side effects, such as dependency or sedation, which aligns with the growing preference for plant-based medicines in managing mental health.

However, the study's limitations, including its relatively small sample size and the short duration of 60 days, suggest that further research is needed to validate these findings across larger and more diverse populations over extended periods.

For practical applications, considering daily supplementation with Holy Basil could be beneficial for individuals looking to manage stress and anxiety naturally. Integrating it into holistic health practices, such as combined with meditation and balanced nutrition, might enhance overall mental well-being and quality of life.



The study underscores Holy Basil's potential as an effective natural remedy for reducing symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Its ability to significantly lower anxiety, stress, and depressive symptoms showcases its role in mental health management.

For those exploring natural alternatives to traditional medication, incorporating Holy Basil into your daily wellness routine could offer a promising supplement. Engage with a healthcare provider to tailor a holistic approach that includes Holy Basil for enhancing mental wellness and resilience.


Learn more about the vitamins, minerals and natural nootropic plant extracts we use to give your brain a daily boost 

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