Holy basil has been shown to reduce stress, treat ulcers, relieve joint pain, and more. Find out why it’s called the Queen of Herbs. Several animal studies back holy basil, a special variety of the plant you use in your pesto sauce, as effective at reducing stress by increasing adrenaline and noradrenaline and decreasing serotonin. This is no surprise to Pratima Nangia-Makker, PhD, a researcher at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, whose mother and grandmother relied on a tea made from the leaves of holy basil to relieve indigestion and headaches.
It might also: Inhibit breast cancer. First in test tubes and then in mice, a tea made of holy basil shrunk tumors, reduced their blood supply, and stopped their spread, found Nangia-Makker, who plans to study the effects in humans.
Maximize the benefits: For stress relief, try holy basil extract from New Chapter or Om Organics, widely available in health food stores. To aid in breast cancer treatment, Nangia-Makker advises drinking this tea daily: Pour 2 cups boiling water over 10 to 15 fresh holy basil leaves (other varieties of basil won’t work) and steep 5 minutes. Remove the leaves before consuming.