Tulsi, the holy basil is one of the most sacred and worshipped plants in Indian culture. It is a plant found in almost every Indian household, temples and gardens as it clears and purifies the aura.
Tulsi benefits are enormous and its characteristics as antitoxic, antistress, antimicrobial, etc. are more needed now than ever in this modern age to protect against toxic environment created by human activity and stressful living conditions.
Tulsi holds an essential place in Hindu traditions & rituals and also is worshipped as a deity.
Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) is considered as divine because it is believed to strengthen faith, compassion, love, and devotion. It has the quality of Sattva, thus keeps the mind at peace and brings clarity & pure awareness.
Tulsi has been mentioned in various Indian classical literature, including Ayurveda. Ayurvedic texts have explained both medicinal and spiritual healing properties of Tulsi.
Tulsi is one of the best examples of Ayurvedic holistic approach to health.
Divine Tulsi – All you need to know
The meaning of Sanskrit name Tulsi itself means ‘matchless one’ or ‘the best drug.’ As it is a sacred plant, it is known as Holy Basil.
Tulsi is an erect, slightly woody, branched herb with typical aromatic smell. It is 30-60 cm tall and has bright green elliptic leaves. It has purple flowers in close whorls arranged in an elongated fashion. Seeds are small, globose, and black-brownish color.
Tulsi is native to India, Nepal, and Iran. It thrives in a warm climate and is generally found in wild tropical regions throughout the globe. Now it is also cultivated commercially in Egypt, France, Italy, Hungary, and the USA.
Tulsi tastes pungent and somewhat bitter with a cooling after taste. It is easy to digest and exerts a pungent post-digestive effect on the body. It has a hot potency owing to which it alleviates kapha and vata dosha in the body.
Tulsi has light and dry attributes due to which it penetrates deeper tissues and dries up abnormal body secretions. On the contrary, seeds are oily and slimy with a cold potency. Thus, seeds are used for treating disorders due to imbalanced pitta dosha.
All parts of Tulsi such as leaves, seeds, and dry roots are used in making medicines. However, leaves are considered as the most beneficial part of this plant. Leaves contain essential oils, nutrients like Vitamin A, C, Calcium, Phosphorus, and various medicinal phytoconstituents.
How is Tulsi so beneficial?
Tulsi is an elixir of life as it takes care of your overall health. Its benefits heal our body, mind, and spirit. Let’s take a look at the few of its benefits.
Considered as the best remedy for respiratory problems in Ayurvedic texts. It helps to drive out the mucus in bronchitis, tuberculosis and asthma attacks
- Prevents and serves as a cure for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
- Very useful in curing cold, running nose, sore throat, coughing problems associated with fever
- Assists in dealing with the daily stressful life, calm down the mind and is helpful in anxiety disorders
- Has mild blood thinning qualities and purifies the blood. Thus, it reduces the risk of stroke, stress-related hypertension, heart attacks, and lowers blood cholesterol levels
- Have antiseptic properties hence, treats ulcers, cuts, and wounds.
- Eases all kinds of inflammatory and neurological pain. Also, it reduces pain due to measles, chickenpox, and smallpox
- Strengthens kidneys and helps in treating kidney stones
- Simulates secretion of digestive juices enhances appetite and supports healthy liver functions
- Shows anti-rheumatic properties i.e., increases muscle mass and bone strength thus reducing the severity of arthritis, muscle-related disorders, and pain
- Due to antimicrobial and antitoxic properties, it inhibits the growth of pathogenic microbes and gets rid of the worms & parasites living off our body
- As it has a peculiar aromatic smell, it is an excellent mouth freshener, and oral disinfectant thus helps in curing bad breath
- A very good antipyretic. It helps in reducing almost all kinds of fever like viral encephalitis, malaria, recurrent fever, fevers associated with other diseases, etc.
The Imperial Malarial Conference has declared Tulsi as a genuine remedy in curing malarial fever.
How to use Tulsi?
The therapeutic qualities are widely known, but lesser-known are the ways to use it. Let’s see how we can make the most of the benefits of Tulsi to restore our health.
- To cure malaria, extract the juice of Tulsi and take 10-20 ml of it with the powder of black pepper. If it is hard for you to drink the juice, you should try taking an infusion of Tulsi leaves
- In the case of acute fevers, make a decoction of leaves with cardamom powder in a half-liter of water. When it is reduced to ¼, then add sugar and milk. This milk preparation brings down the temperature quickly
Cold & respiratory disorders
- Those who tend to catch a cold and cough often should be given 5 to 10 drops of Tulsi leaf juice with 2 to 5 drops of honey daily
- To relieve running nose take one teaspoon of Tulsi juice mixed with ginger juice
- A mixture of Tulsi juice, ginger juice, onion juice with honey is an excellent expectorant remedy and can be used in bronchitis, asthma, and influenza
- Whole dried Tulsi plant or even Tulsi roots given in decoction form can be taken in bronchitis, catarrh, and diarrhea
The decoction of Tulsi leaves with a little of cardamom powder, and about 12 g of Salep powder (Orchis mascula) makes a nourishing aphrodisiac drug
Tulsi acts as Rasayana (rejuvenator) and improves immunity if 6 ml to 30 ml of its leaf juice is taken every morning twice daily. It also helps in keeping away viral infections and allergies
In arthritis mixture of Tulsi leaves, fresh turmeric, and sugarcane molasses is beneficial
- Chewing 8-10 Tulsi leaves daily and rubbing Tulsi leaf juice on black spots on face & body removes those spots
- Applying Tulsi juice is considered as the best remedy for urticaria
- Applying the paste of Tulsi and sandalwood prevents acne, pimples, blackheads, swelling on face, improves glow and complexion
- Fresh roots, stems, and leaves are bruised and applied on insect bites and animal stings. It helps relieve the pain as well as draws out the poison
- In case of earache cook, Tulsi leaves in mustard oil for a few minutes and add fresh garlic juice to it. Using this oil as ear drops relieves of pain in the ear
- Putting two drops of Tulsi juice at bedtime reduces sore eyes and night blindness. This is because basil is an excellent source of Vitamin A
- As it is antiseptic and antimicrobial, it prevents conjunctivitis, boils, fungal and bacterial eye infections if eyes are washed with water having soaked Tulsi leaves
- To treat conjunctivitis apply the paste of Tulsi leaves and honey on the skin underneath the eye
- If you have dandruff and itchiness, add a small quantity of Tulsi oil to coconut oil and massage your scalp
- Applying Tulsi paste on the scalp helps in hair growth and reduces hair loss
- For kidney stones, drink a mix of Tulsi juice and honey daily for six months. It will break and expel the stone via urine
- Grind Tulsi seeds with cumin seeds and sugar. Taking this mixture with milk help relieves pain in the bladder caused due to kidney stones and burning sensation while passing urine
- To relieve post-delivery pain in women, soak Tulsi seeds in water overnight, crush them well and take with sugar
- Leucorrhoea or white vaginal discharge can be cured entirely by drinking rice water mixed with 20 ml Tulsi juice
- Applying the paste of Tulsi leaves over the abdomen and breasts relieve itching on skin
Chewing 8-12 Tulsi leaves or drinking Tulsi juice calms the mind and helps to relieve stress
- Regular consumption of Tulsi tea instead of caffeinated beverages nurtures & nourishes the body and has a calming effect on the brain
What do recent studies say about Tulsi?
- Many scientific studies, including animal and human experiments, have proved that pharmacological actions of Tulsi help both the body and mind to cope with a wide range of physical, chemical, infectious, and emotional stress.
Thus, it prevents the development of stress-related disorders and improves brain functioning
- The antitoxic property of Tulsi has been studied extensively. Many laboratory pieces of research have shown that Tulsi protects against toxic chemical-induced adverse effects like cancer, liver toxicity, drug side effects, organ damage, etc.
It deactivates toxic chemicals and safely excretes them out of the body
- It also protects against the toxic effects of radiation, heavy metals, pesticides, pollutants, and industrial toxicants
- Modern research has revealed that Tulsi has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal activity against many pathogens. It boosts the defense of our body against infectious diseases and reduces chances of falling ill frequently
- Different derivatives of Ocimum sanctum have shown antiulcer and anti-secretory features. They could also heal gastric ulceration
Tulsi is a rare combination of spirituality and medicinal utility. Modern scientific researches have demonstrated the psychological and physiological benefits from daily consumption of Tulsi.
Tulsi is an excellent example of ancient Indian wisdom and culture. It benefits are enormous and can be used for treating Cold & respiratory disorders, female disorders, fever, building immunity, stress relief, and so many other physical, mental and spiritual problems.
Reinstating the ancient Indian practice of planting Tulsi plant in the household may play a useful role in addressing modern-day issues through a constant connection with nature and natural healing powers.