Ocimum sanctumHoly Basil, Tusli, Tulasi, Madura-tala

FAVORITE USE(S): For relaxation and dream enhancement

FAVORITE TIME(S): By itself, holy basil tea is wonderful any time of day.  As part of a combination of dream herbs, I prefer to take this just before bed.

Holy basil is one of those herbs that is medicinal in a number of different ways.  I first started taking holy basil for its benefits as an adaptogen.  It is well known as a herb that helps to balance the body and allow it to adapt to stressful situations.  In this way, it is regarded as an elixir of life and is also said to promote good health and longevity.  In India, the seeds are even apparently worn on the body as charms to help bring peace and balance.

After taking holy basil for some time and noticing the distinct relaxing and stress-reducing effects it had on me, I did a little more research in to it and was surprised to find that, in combination with other herbs, holy basil seems to be a powerful tool for dream work!  I did notice after about a week of taking holy basil for health purposes my dreams started to increase in frequency and vividness.  Traditionally, holy basil is combined with patchouli leaves to create a potent dreaming blend, which I have discussed more in the article on patchouli.  However, I also found reports of its being used with a variety of other dreaming herbs, ranging from kava kava to passion flower.  I have definitely found that holy basil seems to potentiate the effects of lucid dreaming, making it easier to relax and fall in to a restful state, and easier to recall and work within dreams.  The effects of holy basil definitely build up exponentially over time, so I find the effects most powerful when I consume it every day.  The health benefits alone and quite noticeable, and the dreaming effects will build in intensity over time!

HOW TO PREPARE/RECIPE: The leaves and the seeds of holy basil can both be used, although I usually use the seeds because I find they are a lot easier to acquire.  Traditionally, it seems that the dried and powdered leaf is consumed mixed with ghee.  The essential oil of holy basil is also apparently used for its powerful anti-bacterial properties, and the leaves are even mixed with stored grain to keep pests away!

My favorite way to take holy basil is to make a tea out of the seeds.  I boil one cup of water until it is at a rolling boil, then remove the water from the heat.  Then I put in 1 tsp of holy basil per cup of water and let steep for 10 minutes. Dried patchouli leaf can be added to this blend to create a powerful dreaming blend.  I have also found that adding valerian root or passion flower to this tea increases its dreaming effects tremendously.  The seeds can also be ground and added to a smoking blend of dream herbs to potentiate its effects, but I personally prefer the tea.  It has a very pleasant taste, and is easily customizable with any other herbs you want to add.