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Tulsi for fertility: A Friend Or Foe? What studies say

Is Tulsi good for female fertility? Yes, the antioxidants and adaptogenic nature of tulsi leaves make them supportive of female fertility as they can help regulate hormones and reduce stress. It may help reduce menstrual disorders such as dysmenorrhea [1].

It’s equally a rich source of antioxidants [2] that could potentially help to improve egg quality and ovulation. Am talking about incorporating the leaves into meals since excess raw intake of the leaves could harm your liver.

In the ancient Indian medical system, popularly known as Ayurveda [3], Tulsi leaves have been traditionally used to promote female fertility, and this article provides some scientific studies that support some of these claims.

What are Tulsi Leaves?

Tulsi for female fertility

Tulsi leaves, also known as holy basil or Ocimum tenuiflorum, are aromatic leaves from a sacred plant native to India. Revered in Hindu culture as the “Queen of Herbs,” tulsi has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for its numerous health benefits [4, 5].

These fragrant, light green leaves possess a unique flavor with subtle hints of clove and mint, making them a versatile addition to both culinary and medicinal preparations.

However, Tulsi should be confused with other species of Ocimum such as scent leaves known as (Ocimum gratissimum) and Basil leaves (Ocimum basilicum) which are great for their culinary and therapeutic benefits.

Before we dig deeper, you should know that Tulsi’s health-rejuvenating potential is linked to its nutrients and bioactive components detailed below.

Bioactive Compounds in Tulsi

According to a phytochemical review, Tulsi leaves are a rich source of bioactive compounds [6], including essential oils, flavonoids, and phenolic acids, beta carotene, vitamin C, calcium, tannins. These compounds contribute to the plant’s diverse therapeutic properties.

  • Eugenol, the primary constituent of Tulsi’s essential oil, exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
  • Flavonoids like quercetin and apigenin possess anti-cancer and cardioprotective properties.
  • Phenolic acids, such as rosmarinic acid, contribute to tulsi’s antiviral and antimicrobial activities.

Tulsi Leaves and Female Fertility

Help treat menstrual irregularities

Tulsi is good for female fertility due to their antioxidants and adaptogenic properties. The leaves have been traditionally used to promote fertility and address menstrual irregularities [7].

Another study suggests that tulsi’s adaptogenic and antioxidant properties may help regulate hormones, and improve egg quality.

Help reduce ovarian toxicity

Tusli may help reduce ovarian toxicity. According to an animal study published in the Journal of Ecophysiology and Occupational Health, Tulsi water extract can protect the ovaries from toxins.

This claim was validated on Clarias batrachus fish with pesticide-induced ovarian toxicity. The aqueous leaf extract of Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi) can minimize the cellular abnormalities induced by the pesticide rigor in the ovaries of Clarias batrachus fish [8].

The extract was effective in restoring the ovarian architecture to almost normalcy and regulating hormonal imbalance.

These findings suggest that OS could be a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of pesticide-induced ovarian toxicity.

However, more research is needed to establish a definitive link between tulsi and fertility.

Tulsi and Menstruation

Tulsi, also known as holy basil, has been traditionally used to alleviate menstrual symptoms and promote menstrual health. Some studies suggest that tulsi may help to:

  • Relieve menstrual cramps: Tulsi’s antispasmodic properties may help to relax uterine muscles, reducing menstrual cramps and pain.
  • Regulate menstrual cycles: Tulsi’s adaptogenic properties may help to regulate hormones and balance the menstrual cycle, reducing irregular periods.
  • Ease menstrual bloating: Tulsi’s diuretic properties may help to reduce water retention and bloating associated with menstruation.
  • Improve mood and reduce PMS symptoms: Tulsi’s adaptogenic properties may help to reduce stress and anxiety, which can contribute to PMS symptoms.

Does Tulsi affect sperm count?

Yes, fresh leaves of tulsi were found to reduce sperm count, FSH, and LH levels in tested group rabbits that were fed fresh leaves of tulsi for 30 days. This makes it an effective male contraceptive agent [9].

In this study of male rabbits, tulsi was found to decrease sperm count and reproductive potential. However, incorporating tulsi leaves as ingredients into meals instead of raw intake may provide a better alternative to reduce its antifertility potential.

Also, Human-based studies are not available to validate this claim. More importantly, Tulsi may only affect sperm count at high doses of raw intake.

Does basil affect fertility?

Basil is a different plant from tulsi, and there is no evidence to suggest that it has any effect on fertility. Some studies suggest that basil may be beneficial for fertility. One study found that basil extract increased testosterone levels in rats.

There is some evidence to suggest that tulsi may be beneficial for female fertility, while basil may be beneficial for male fertility. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Tulsi Leaves During Pregnancy

Incorporating tulsi into meals is completely safe for you if you are pregnant.

However, some studies suggest that tulsi may have uterine stimulant properties, so it is advisable to avoid raw intake of the leaves or excessive consumption during the first trimester.

How to Use Tulsi Leaves

Tulsi leaves can be consumed in various forms, including:

  • Fresh Leaves: Chew a few fresh tulsi leaves. Add them to salads, soups, and herbal teas.
  • Dried Leaves: Use dried tulsi leaves to make tea, infusions, or decoctions.
  • Tulsi Powder: Consume tulsi powder mixed with water, milk, or smoothies.
  • Tulsi Essential Oil: Dilute tulsi essential oil in a carrier oil and apply it topically for skin and hair care.

Health Benefits of Tulsi Leaves

Tulsi leaves have been extensively studied for their potential health benefits. Some of the well-documented benefits we can get if we eat Tulsi leaves daily include:

Immune Boosting

Tulsi’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help strengthen the immune system by making it more resistant to infections.
Tulsi was found to increase immune response according to a report from a small randomized double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial [10]. This makes Tulsi leaves an effective remedy for colds, flu, and other infections.

Diabetic support

Tulsi leaves have been proven helpful in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. According to a study, the leaves were found to possess both superoxide and hydroxyl free radical scavenging potential.

It was further proven in a 30-day dietary supplementation of fresh tulsi leaves in a dose of 2 gm/ on groups of the diabetic model, there was a significant reduction in blood glucose levels in the test group when compared to the control group [11, 12].

Stress Reduction

Tulsi’s adaptogenic properties help the body adapt to stress, reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation, and improving sleep quality [13].

Cardiovascular Protection

Tulsi’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects contribute to improved cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels [14].

Digestive support

Tulsi’s antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties [15] help alleviate digestive issues. Incorporating them into meals can help us have better digestion as they can help prevent indigestion, bloating, and constipation.

Antioxidant Activity

Tulsi’s high antioxidant content helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease [16, 17].

Antioxidant is very important in fighting against chronic diseases, they can help prevent premature aging caused by free radicals.

Side Effects of Tulsi

Tulsi is generally considered safe when consumed in moderation. However, there are some potential side effects to be aware of, including:

  • Stomach upset: Tulsi may cause stomach upset in some people, especially if consumed in large amounts.
  • Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to tulsi, which can cause symptoms such as itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
  • Interactions with medications: Tulsi may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners. It is important to talk to your doctor before using Tulsi if you are taking any medications.

Does Holy Basil Increase Estrogen?

Some studies suggest that holy basil may increase estrogen levels in women. In a study of female rats, holy basil was found to significantly increase estrogen levels.

However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and determine whether holy basil has a similar effect in humans.

Tulsi Benefits for Anxiety

Tulsi has been traditionally used to reduce stress and anxiety. Some studies suggest that tulsi may help to:

  • Lower cortisol levels: Cortisol is a stress hormone that can contribute to anxiety. Tulsi has been shown to lower cortisol levels in humans.
  • Increase GABA levels: GABA is a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation. Tulsi has been shown to increase GABA levels in the brain.
  • Improve mood: Tulsi has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.

Overall, tulsi is a safe and effective natural remedy for a variety of health problems, including menstrual symptoms, anxiety, and stress. If you are considering using Tulsi, it is always best to talk to your doctor first.


Tulsi leaves, with their rich bioactive profile and diverse health benefits, have rightfully earned their status as a revered herb in traditional medicine. Whether used as a culinary ingredient or a therapeutic remedy, Tulsi offers a holistic approach to well-being, promoting physical and mental health.

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