Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is a plant that is native to India. It is commonly used in the traditional Indian medicine system, Ayurveda.
Holy basil is sometimes called “hot basil” because of its peppery taste. Chemicals in holy basil are thought to decrease pain and swelling. They also might lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Holy basil oil might act as an antioxidant.
People use holy basil for anxiety, stress, diabetes, high cholesterol, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support any of these uses.
Don’t confuse holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) with basil (Ocimum basilicum), which is very commonly used in cooking.