Holy Basil, also known as tulsi, is a sacred plant in India, mostly worshipped as Goddess Tulsi. It has been an age-old custom for people in India to light a diya near it in the morning and evening since ancient times. This auspicious herb is also used during all the religious occasions and in pujas and offered as teertham in the temples. A few tulsi leaves are put in drinking water and offered to whoever visits the temple. It is refreshing and one can’t ignore the scientific reason behind this practice.
Holy Basil, scientifically known as Ocimum Sanctum is also considered as one of the best medicinal herbs that speak volumes in Ayurveda. It has endless miraculous and medicinal properties and has been used for treating various diseases since times immemorial.
The health benefits of tulsi are:
Tulsi consists of phytonutrients which act as an excellent antibiotic, germicidal, fungicidal, and disinfectant agent. It effectively protects our body from all sorts of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Tulsi destroys all the pathogens which are born during the fever. It is an old practice in India to have a decoction of tulsi leaves during fever.
Cures Respiratory Disorders
The tulsi leaves offer a miraculous relief from congestion. Components like camphene, eugenol, and cineole present in it, helps in curing almost all respiratory disorders including bronchitis.
Prevents Lung Disorders
Tulsi leaves have vitamin C, which is effective in healing the damages caused due to tuberculosis. It also prevents lung cancer.
Prevents Heart Diseases
The vitamin C and antioxidants such as eugenol, in tulsi help to protect the heart from the harmful effects of free radicals. Eugenol in it is very beneficial in reducing the cholesterol levels.
Tulsi has the power to soothe the nerves as it contains potassium which lowers blood pressure and reduces inflammation, thus reducing stress.
Tulsi is also an excellent mouth freshener and an oral disinfectant and its freshness last for a very long time.
Tulsi kills bacterias that are responsible for dental cavities, plaque, tartar, and bad breath. Its astringent properties make the gums hold the teeth tighter, thereby keeping them from falling.
The powerful herb is also known to cure conjunctivitis and other infections such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, vision defects, and ophthalmia. Washing your eyes daily with water -soaked with tulsi leaves – can take care of most of the above eye ailments.
Taking bath with tulsi water everyday cures skin infections. Chewing on a few leaves can also keep your skin free from all infections. Rubbing the leaves or its oil on the body are also known to keep mosquitoes and other insects away.
If you are suffering from headaches due to migraine, sinus pressure, cough, cold or high blood pressure, having a cup of tulsi tea will give you immediate relief. Camphene, eugenol, cineol, carvacrol, and methyl-chavicol, in holy basil, have excellent analgesic, sedative, anti-congestive, and disinfectant properties.
Prevents premature ageing
In Ayurveda tulsi, is considered as a tonic to retain youthful vigour and avoid premature ageing. Vitamin C and A, phytonutrients, and the essential oils in tulsi are excellent antioxidants and protects the body from cancer too.
Drinking tulsi tea helps in boosting up the immune system and protects against nearly all infections caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. Recent studies have shown that it is also helpful in inhibiting the growth of HIV and carcinogenic cells.
Prevents Kidney Stones
Tulsi, being a detoxifier and a mild diuretic, helps to reduce the uric acid level in the body, which is the main cause for kidney stones. It also helps to flush out the stones in kidneys through increased frequency of urination. Acetic acid and certain essential oil in tulsi facilitate the dissolution of the stones. Finally, it has pain-killer effects and helps bear the pain from kidney stones as they pass out.
Simple steps to prepare medicinal decoction
Put 2-3 spoons of the tulsi powder in a boiling cup of water and allow it to seep for 5-6 minutes. Having this strong decoction 2-3 times a day during fever, cold or a cough gives immediate relief.
Preparation of Tulsi tea
Roast clove, pepper and cumin seeds (jeera) in a hot pan. Now powder these with the help of a mortar and pestle. Finally, add chopped tulsi leaves and tender barks of the tulsi plant to this powder and pound the mixture.
Boil 4 cups of water in a pan and add the coarsely ground ingredients. Allow it to boil till the water reduces to one cup. Filter the decoction and allow it to cool down a bit. Add honey and lemon juice when the decoction is lukewarm.