Holy Basil vs. Ashwagandha

Holy Basil vs. Ashwagandha
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Effects, Uses, and Benefits

In the modern wellness world, there’s a lot of buzz about adaptogens. If you haven’t had a chance to become familiar with this trend, adaptogens are botanicals that have a variety of positive effects on different aspects of our well-being.

They’ve been around for centuries and are common ingredients in traditional medicine, and the recent resurgent of alternative medicine has brought adaptogens to the fore. A lot of research is being done at this very moment to support claims that adaptogens improve our health.

Holy basil and Ashwagandha are some of the best-known adaptogens. Or least they’re among the most studied ones, and their proponents not only believe in their benefits but often debate the pros and cons of Holy Basil vs Ashwagandha. To shed some light on these herbs and their effects, let’s dig a bit deeper into what they actually are.


Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an essential part of Ayurvedic medicine, which is among the oldest medicinal systems in the world. Ashwagandha has been in use for more than 3,000 years now, and is widely considered one of the most powerful herbs.

In the ancient medicine, the plant has had a wide variety of uses. It’s been used as an anti-inflammatory agent, aphrodisiac, diuretic, poison remedy, and for recovering from various diseases. Over time, experts have learned a lot more about it and identified uses that can bring many benefits to our everyday lives.


Antianxiety effects

One of the most common uses of Ashwagandha is as an anti-anxiety herb. A 12-week control study showed that it was more effective in reducing anxiety than a psychotherapy intervention.

Participants of the study were divided into two groups. One was prescribed 300mg of Ashwagandha two times a day, deep breathing exercises, and dietary modifications. The other group received psychotherapy, placebo pills, as well as deep breathing exercises.

After 12 weeks, the anxiety scores of the Ashwagandha group were down by 56.5%. At the same time, the psychotherapy group had a decrease of 30.5%. An important note is that neither groups experienced any side effects. 

Anti-tumor effects

Ashwagandha is an extremely potent antioxidant. As such, there’s some evidence that it can be used for the prevention and treatment of cancer. Another study found that the bioactive compounds in this plant could inhibit cancer cells and prevent them from growing.

This effect applies to some of the world’s most common forms of cancer, such as colon, lung, and breast cancer. Ashwaganda is a powerful immune system booster, so it can both help fight cancer or prevent it from forming in the first place.

Adrenal fatigue relief

Adrenal fatigue is a disorder that is associated with a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, lightheadedness, body aches, and low blood pressure. When your adrenal glands can’t work properly, mostly due to chronic physical and mental stress, you start experiencing the mentioned symptoms.

There is research claiming that Ashwagandha can be an effective method of adrenal fatigue relief. It supports the normal functioning of the adrenal glands and their production of hormones that are essential to a person’s well-being.

These are only some of the main uses of this powerful plant. Other benefits include normalized thyroid hormone levels, increased stamina, and a stronger immune system.

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Holy Basil

This is another powerful adaptogenic herb, native to tropical Asia. It has the same rich history as Ashwagandha, and has been used in many medicinal systems, including Greek, Roman, and Ayurvedic medicine.

Another name by which you may recognize it is tulsi. Even though the plant was initially an important part of the Hindu religion, today it serves many health purposes. Here are some of the most important ones.

Holy Basil

Adaptability to stress

Similar to Ashwagandha, holy basil has powerful anti-stress effects. A study showed that this herb could lower the levels of stress, as well as prevent it from happening.

In the study, subjects were exposed to continuous stress in order to trigger the production of stress hormones. Administration of holy basil significantly lowered the production of these hormones, therefore reducing the stress response. After a certain period of administration, the subjects noticed the preventative effects of holy basil.

Hypoglycemic effects

Another important benefit of holy basil is the stabilization of glucose levels in patients with diabetes.

In order to prove this effect, scientists conducted an experiment on rats. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial showed that the herb played an important role of lowering the levels of blood sugar. This is one proof that this plant can be an effective format controlling diabetes.

Heart disease prevention

There is proof that holy basil is an effective method of heart disease prevention. The extract of this plant can be helpful in preventing atherosclerosis, since the compounds in it inhibit myeloperoxidase, which has been implicated in the development of the disease.

Another study proved that this herb successfully normalized the levels of cholesterol. The results showed a significant decrease in LDL (the ‘bad’ cholesterol), as well as an increase in HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol).

There are many more benefits of holy basil, which include analgesic properties, liver protection, and protection from stomach ulcers.


As you can see, the benefits of these adaptogenic herbs are abundant. Even though they share some similar effects, both of them are used to treat a number of health conditions.

For this reason, they’re among the most popular adaptogens out there. If used correctly, they can bring many positive effects to both your mental and physical health. If you need a natural solution to various health conditions, or need a safe way of improving the quality of your life, these herbs can be a good choice.

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