Botanical Name: Ocimum sanctum
Common Names: Sacred basil / Holy basil
Sanskrti name: Surasa
Part Used: Leaves, roots, Seeds
Location/Cultivation and types - Holy basil is found throughout the lowlands of India as well as in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, southern China, Thailand, and Malaysia. There are three types of Tulsi plants available Rama tulsi (Bears small green leaves), Krishna tulsi (Bears dark green to Purple leaves and has a strong taste and smell) and Vanatulsi (Bears large green leaves and is the wild variety growing in forests).
Chemical constituents or active compounds - Tulsi contains chemical compounds such as eugenol, ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid, chlorophyll, caryophyllene, oleanolic acid and linolenic acid. Nutritional compounds found in tulsi include vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron and zinc.
Properties -Adaptogen, antibacterial, antidepressant, antioxidant, antiviral, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue (promotes the flow of mother’s milk), and immune modulator.
Health Benefits of tulsi plant – It can be used at home for several ailments and does not require any kind of doctor’s prescription. Tulsi is used in Fever, Headaches, Insect bites, Labor pains, Nausea and vomiting, Skin problems, Respiratory infections, Sore throat, Stress, Respiratory disorders, Diabetes, Teeth disorders and Cancer.
How to take Tulsi - Tulsi fresh leaves, leaves powder, fresh leaves decoction, infusion can be used. Various supplements that contain tulsi extracts are being manufactured and marketed by many pharmaceutical companies.
Therapeutic uses mentioned in various classical texts of Ayurveda are as follows.
- Kaphaja kasa (Cough due to vitiated kapha) – Internal administration of juice of tulsi with honey is advised.
- Netraroga (Eye disorders) – Anjana (Collyrium) is applied with juice of tulsi and honey.
- Putikarna (Ear infection) – Eardrops are administered with juice of leaves.
- Nava netra kopa (Recent eye disorders) – Juice of ramatulsi is applied as anjana (Collyrium) with honey.
- Vrischika visha (Scorpion sting) – Ramtulsi seeds are mixed with goat’s milk and applied on the region of bite.
- Vishama jwara (Intermittent fever) – Maricha powder is administered internally with leaf juice of tulsi.
- Kushta (Skin disorders) – Juice of roots is administered internally daily morning. This
cures skin disorders.
- Shitapitta (Urticaria) – External application of juice of tulsi is advised.
Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn) is sacred medicinal herb, which is worshipped in India. Due to its innumerable medicinal virtues it can be used in curing various diseases. Krishna tulsi has more medicinal value compare to ramatulsi.
- Tulsi leaves have hypocholesterolemic (lowering cholesterol), hypotriglyceridemic (lowering triglycerides), hepatoprotective (protecting liver), anti-inflammatory (preventing inflammation), and anti-oxidant effects.
- Tulsi has anti-bacterial properties that help to fight the bacteria and purify the surrounding air. Based on the proved studies, tulsi can absorb the positive ions; it even stimulates the negative ions. Tulsi, from its root to leaves encompassed with multiple healthy perks.
- Tulsi acts as soothing agent or demulcent, lessens fever and expectorant.
- Tulsi contains vitamin C, vitamin A, and essential oils, which are all anti-oxidants that scavenge free radicals in the body, improving cellular integrity, blood flow, and genetic expression. It is particularly good for cardiovascular health and brain function, as it helps protect against heart disease and brain degeneration.
- Tulsi is rich in aromatic essential oils that have powerful effects on the body. These phytonutrient rich oils have a great smell that naturally boosts mood and spirit. Eugenol has been shown in studies to combat stress and enhance mental clarity.
- Tulsi acts to modulate stress levels and blood sugar levels by stabilizing cortisol and insulin. A study out of the Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry indicated that holy basil may reverse some of the damaging effects of diabetes like neuropathy and retinopathy.
A considerable, rapidly expanding body of modern scientific information is currently available confirming many of the life-supporting benefits described in ancient Indian Ayurvedic (“Knowledge of Life”) writings. In many Ayurvedic scriptures, Tulsi is frequently mentioned as one of the main pillars of herbal medicine. The sacred plant is described as a protector of life, preventing misery and disease from birth through old age and death—and even then aiding the passage to the heavens. Ongoing clinical investigations of Tulsi’s health promoting qualities are sure to bear rich fruit. Relatively little known in the West, the holy basil Tulsi is certain to emerge in the near future as a major player in the growing field of herbal health supplements and medicines, both in daily self-care and in professionally managed health care systems. Tulsi is a miracle herb and is a boon to the world.