Holy Basil: Our Antioxidant Friend

Holy Basil: Our Antioxidant Friend

by Natalise Kalea Robinson

If you’re looking for an ingredient that can calm and soothe your skin – look no further than holy basil. Packed with antioxidants, it provides comfort to the skin and helps reduce inflammation and stress.

But first, why are antioxidants important?

When our skin undergoes some stress as a result of extrinsic agents, such as exposure to UV radiation, it becomes perturbed and fatigued. 

When overly stressed, the molecules on the skin become oxidized. Oxidation occurs when a molecule loses electrons. For simplification purposes, you can equate this to feeling defeated.The now-oxidized molecules, however, are vengeful: they want their electrons back. These molecules then resurrect into electron-hungry species known as free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Since ROS are ravenous, they will attack nearby molecules and steal their electrons to make up for their lost electrons. This attack leads to oxidative stress and a free radical cascade, resulting in cellular damage. Hence, ROS (such as a hydroxyl radical) can cause deleterious effects on the body like inflammation and accelerated aging.

Topical application of antioxidants can therefore help prevent the harmful effects caused by ROS. To break it down, an antioxidant is an anti (against) + oxidant (oxidizing agent). Antioxidants are compounds that give up electrons to neutralize ROS: they help us when we experience stress (i.e., oxidative stress). In fact, oxidative stress can lead to skin damage (e.g., wrinkles and fine lines). Hence, it is important to supplement our body with antioxidants to fight off an excess amount of ROS.

Your Antioxidant Bestie, Holy Basil

Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), an aromatic herb originating in Southeast Asia, is rich in antioxidants, such as beta-carotenes and vitamins A, C, and E. Within Ayurveda, holy basil is known as the “elixir of life,” “The Incomparable One,” and “The Mother Medicine of Nature.” The herb has been used for centuries for different ailments, and modern medicine is just beginning to underscore the plant’s extraordinary properties. 

Although holy basil appears similar to the average shrub and quite ordinary with hairy stems and fuzzy green or magenta leaves, the shrub is anything but mundane. Not only is holy basil an antioxidant, but it also has a multitude of properties: it’s an adaptogen, a preservative, a flavor enhancer, and an antidote for scorpion stings and snake bites. The herb is even in the guise of a goddess (literally!).

Holy basil is known as Tulsi in Sanskrit. In Hinduism, Tulsi is a highly revered shrub. The herb is used to show reverence for the deity Vishnu and his consort: the goddess Tulsi. Hence, holy basil is worshiped and regarded as an earthly manifestation of the goddess Tulsi, and the plant is traditionally adopted in spiritual rituals and practices in India.

We all undergo stress to our skin on a daily basis – sometimes it goes unnoticed; sometimes it can be overwhelming. Whatever the cause, we can lean into antioxidants for help. And holy basil is one of the most effective antioxidants to help calm your skin. You can think of it as a bestie you always want around.

In fact, Holy Basil has such compelling effects that Parallel has chosen to craft their staple cleanser around this key ingredient. Want to try Parallel’s Holy Calming Cleanser? Sign up for the waitlist to get early access with a discount on all pre-orders now through February 1, 2023.

Questions? Ask at questions@parallelhealth.io.

About Parallel

A parallel world lives amongst us: the microbial world. This world impacts not only our lifespan, but also our healthspan.

Our mission is to empower people with real science to make meaningful skincare decisions to improve their healthspan, mental well-being, and self-confidence.

Parallel is a next-generation skin health company providing effective, personalized skincare and testing, powered by genomics, skin microbiome science, and machine learning.

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