Holy Basil vs. Ashwagandha: Differences Explained

Holy basil and ashwagandha are two adaptogenic herbs that have been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine. Today these herbs are gaining more popularity …

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Written by: Daniel Powers, MS
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Holy basil and ashwagandha are two adaptogenic herbs that have been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine.

Today these herbs are gaining more popularity as they become better understood by Western scientists and medical researchers.

In this article, we’ll compare the differences of holy basil vs. ashwagandha , as well as their similarities.

health benefits of tulsi holy basil vs. ashwagandha

Holy Basil vs. Ashwagandha: Similarities & Differences Explained

Ashwagandha and holy basil are both adaptogenic herbs, which means they have the ability to help the body adapt to stress.

Even though both herbs have similar physiological benefits, they function differently in the body.

Ashwagandha is a relaxing herb that helps to create long-term mental and physical resilience. It is especially helpful for those who struggle with anxious thoughts.

Additionally, ashwagandha can help to improve sleep quality.

On the other hand, holy basil helps to enhance mental clarity and energy levels. It can help you feel more motivated and focused all day.

In terms of other benefits, holy basil can also help to support blood sugar regulation. This is especially helpful for those who have issues with regulating their blood sugar.

Holy Basil Overview:Ashwagandha Overview:
Primary Benefit:Holy Basil may aid in stress managementAshwagandha may lower elevated anxiety levels
Secondary Benefit(s):Holy Basil may benefit mental clarity and function Ashwagandha may possess ant-stress properties
Part of the Plant Used:Flowers, seeds, leaves, and stemRoot
Dosage Range:500-2,000mg300-1,000mg
Form:Extract, powder or capsuleExtract, powder or capsule
Side Effects:Excessive use may result in nausea or diarrheaLarge doses may cause stomach upset, diarrhea, or vomiting
Recommended Products:Gaia Herbs | Check PriceGaia Herbs | Check Price

Holy Basil vs. Ashwagandha: Which is right for you?

Finding the best herb for you largely depends on what your personal needs are.

If you’re looking to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality, ashwagandha may be the best option. Ashwagandha also appears to be beneficial for reducing stress.

On the other hand, if you are looking for an energizing herb for increasing cognitive function, tulsi may be right for you. It also has the added effect of helping to support healthy blood sugar levels.

Ashwagandha Might Be Right For You If:

•You occasionally have anxious thoughts

•You need deep, relaxed focus

•You struggle with insomnia

Holy Basil Might Be Right For You If:

•You want to have more energy throughout the day

•You need to support healthy blood sugar levels

•You want to improve your overall brain function and memory

Holy Basil vs. Ashwagandha: Can You Take Them Together?

Yes, you can take holy basil and ashwagandha together.

Both herbs help to safeguard the body from external stress, have anti-inflammatory qualities, and are beneficial tonics for general well-being. As such, they work synergistically together to improve overall health.

It’s best to take holy basil in the morning, this allows you to take advantage of its mentally stimulating effects. If you take it at night it may impact your ability to sleep.

Taking ashwagandha at night is optimal as it can help to improve your sleep quality.

Best Holy Basil & Ashwagandha Supplements:

It is crucial to select an effective, high-quality supplement from a trustworthy brand, although this can be difficult.

To make picking a supplement that works for you easier, we’ve put together a complete guide going over our top recommended ashwagandha supplements and the best holy basil supplement.

Recommended Holy BasilRecommended Ashwagandha
best holy basil supplementbest ashwagandha supplement
Gaia HerbsGaia Herbs
•Organic, Vegan, and Gluten-Free 
•Ecologically Harvested
•Easy-to-Take Capsules
•Organic, Vegan, and Gluten-Free 
•Ecologically Harvested
•Concentrated Dosage

Ashwagandha Benefits & Uses:

Ashwagandha is a plant that grows in India that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It is well known for its adaptogenic effects.

Traditionally it was used to help with inflammation, bronchitis, insomnia, ulcers, and asthma. It was also known as an aphrodisiac and was used to help with healthy aging.

Although ashwagandha has a long history of traditional usage, new studies are catching up. A new study shows that ashwagandha may help to relieve mild anxiety, improve sleep quality, and boost overall stress resilience.

Holy basil vs. ashwagandha: ashwagandha health benefits

1. May Reduce Mild Anxiety

Ashwagandha has been discovered in clinical trials to aid anxiety and overall mental well-being.

In a study looking at the impact of ashwagandha on anxiety, researchers found that 300mg of ashwagandha root extract daily reduced self-reported stress levels in stressed adults.

Another clinical trial revealed that ashwagandha extract was shown to reduce anxiety in men and women with high-stress.

2. May Reduce Stress

Ashwagandha has also been found to have adaptogenic anti-stress properties, suggesting that it may aid in reducing stress.

A human clinical trial involving stressed women and men revealed that ashwagandha helped to lower perceived levels of stress.

This study, in conjunction with other studies, demonstrates that ashwagandha is a useful tool for stress management.

3. May Reduce Insomnia

Ashwagandha has been studied in people and found to help with sleep quality and insomnia.

Researchers have discovered that ashwagandha significantly improves several measures of sleep quality in those who had previously reported problems sleeping.

You can read our full article on the benefits of ashwagandha here.

Holy Basil Benefits & Uses:

Holy basil, also known as tulsi, is an herb that’s found in India that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine.

It’s well known for its adaptogenic, anti-stress effects.

In traditional Indian medicine, tulsi was said to increase beauty, intelligence, stamina, and to provide a calm disposition. It was also used to aid in longevity.

New research shows that holy basil has a variety of benefits, including stress support, blood sugar regulation, increased brain function, and more.

holy basil vs. ashwagandha: holy basil health benefits

1. May Help With Stress Management

Tulsi’s adaptogenic (i.e. stress-reducing) properties are one of the most important features.

Holy basil has been shown in a human clinical trial to help with stress management by 39%.

The same study also found that holy basil also reduced health scores for symptoms including forgetfulness, sexual difficulties of recent origin, frequent feelings of tiredness, and sleep difficulties.

2. May Improve Mental Clarity

Tulsi also promotes better brain function by enhancing reaction time and reducing anxiety.

In a human clinical trial, subjects who took 300mg of holy basil per day for thirty days experienced significant gains in cognitive function, cortisol levels, reaction time, and reduced error rates in tests.

The participants also noted a reduction in anxiety levels.

3. May Support Blood Sugar Regulation

A handful of human clinical trials have shown that tulsi may be impactful in stabilizing blood sugar levels.

A human clinical trial found that participants with type II diabetes who took holy basil plus Glibenclamide (a blood sugar drug) had better results than Glibenclamide alone.

This promising comparative study showed that holy basil (in addition to Glibenclamide) may help to lower fasting blood sugar levels and reduce post-prandial blood sugar by roughly 10 gm/dl.

You can read more here about the benefits of tulsi holy basil.

Potential Side Effects & Interactions:

Ashwagandha is a well-tolerated herb that is generally recognized as safe to take.

According to researchers, moderate doses of ashwagandha root extract (300mg daily) do not appear to be associated with any major side effects or adverse reactions.

Click here to learn more about the safety of ashwagandha.

Holy basil is generally considered as being a safe herb to consume. Safety studies note that it is well tolerated by most people.

Both of these herbs have no known interactions with each other and appear to be safe when taken together.


Ashwagandha and holy basil are similar in that they both provide health benefits to the body.

While ashwagandha is an herb that provides relaxation, holy basil is an herb with energizing qualities.

Additionally, ashwagandha helps to support healthy stress levels while holy basil can help to improve cognitive function.

Consider trying each of these herbs individually, or together.

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About Daniel Powers, MS

Daniel has a master's degree in herbal science from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. He has a passion for herbal medicine and how it can be used to support everyday health & wellness.

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