Tulsi : The Elixir Of Life
Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for its diverse healing properties. Tulsi is the purest and most sublime plant which has been known and worshipped in India for more than five millennium for its remarkable healing properties. Apart from its religious significance it is of great medicinal significance, and is a prime herb in Ayurvedic treatment.Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress. Marked by its strong aroma and astringent taste, it is regarded in Ayurveda as a kind of “elixir of life” and believed to promote longevity. Its scientific name is ‘Ocimum sanctum’, called Holy Tulsi. It is also believed to nourish the mind and elevate the spirit. Commonly called sacred or holy basil, it is a principal herb of Ayurveda, the ancient traditional holistic health system of India. Tulsi is known as “The Incomparable One”, “The Mother Medicine of Nature”, and “The Queen of Herbs”. Tulsi is native to India, where it often graces shrines and homes as an aromatic perennial shrub. Tulsi is grown as an annual herb in temperate climates. The tulsi plant is pleasing to the eye, with an upright, open and branching form. The fragrance of the leaves is also quite attractive-spicy and complex, often resembling clove.
Tulsi is most respected of all household plants in India. Tulsi herb is a commonly found plant all over the Indian sub continent.Its flowers are red or purple in color and sometime white in color. It is believed to be air purifier. The plant gives a spicy scent when bruised. It has warm, clove-like flavor and fragrance.
Medicinal Values of Tulsi
Healing Power: The tulsi plant has many medicinal properties. The leaves are a nerve tonic and also sharpen memory. They promote the removal of the catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tube.Leaves strengthen the stomach and induce copious perspiration. The seed of the plant are mucilaginous.
Fever & Common Cold: The leaves of Tulsi are specific for many fevers. During the rainy season, when malaria and dengue fever are widely prevalent. Tender leaves, boiled with tea, act as preventive against these diseases. In case of acute fever, a decoction of the leaves boiled with powdered cardamom in half a litre of water and mixed with sugar and milk brings down the body temperature.
Cough: Tulsi is an important constituent of many Ayurvedic cough syrups and expectorants. It helps to mobilize mucus in bronchitis and asthma. Chewing tulsi leaves relieves cold and flu.
Sore Throat: Water boiled with Tulsi leaves can be taken as drink in case of sore throat. This water can also be used as a gargles.
Respiratory Disorder: The herb is useful in the treatment of respiratory system disorder. A decoction of the tulsi leaves, with honey and ginger is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, influenza, cough and cold. A decoction of the leaves, cloves and common salt also gives immediate relief in case of influenza.
Kidney Stone: Tulsi has strengthening effect on the kidney. In case of renal stone the juice of tulsi leaves and honey, if taken regularly for 6 months it will expel the stones them through the urinary tract.
Heart Disorder: Tulsi has a beneficial effect in cardiac disease and the weakness resulting from them. It reduces the level of blood cholesterol.
Stress: Tulsi (Basil) leaves are regarded as an ‘adaptogen’ or anti-stress agent. Recent studies have shown that the leaves afford significant protection against stress. Even healthy persons can chew 12 leaves of basil, twice a day, to prevent stress. It purifies blood and helps prevent several common elements.
Skin Disorders: Applied locally, tulsi juice is beneficial in the treatment of ringworm and other skin diseases. It has also been tried successfully by some naturopaths in the treatment of leucoderma.
Headache: Tulsi makes a good medicine for headache. A decoction of the leaves can be given for this disorder. Pounded leaves mixed with sandalwood paste can also be applied on the forehead for getting relief from heat, headache, and for providing coolness in general.
Eye Disorders: Tulsi juice is an effective remedy for sore eyes and night-blindness, which is generally caused by deficiency of vitamin A.
Insect Bites: The herb is a prophylactic or preventive and curative for insect stings or bites. A teaspoonful of the juice of the leaves is taken and is repeated after a few hours. Fresh juice must also be applied to the affected parts. A paste of fresh roots is also effective in case of bites of insects and leeches.
Teeth Disorder: The herb is useful in teeth disorders. Its leaves, dried in the sun and powdered, can be used for brushing teeth. It can also be mixed with mustered oil to make a paste and used as toothpaste. This is very good for maintaining dental health, counteracting bad breath and for massaging the gums. It is also useful in pyorrhea and other teeth disorders.
Tulsi is the pillar of traditional Ayurvedic holistic healing system. All parts of tulsi are used by itself or in combination with other herbs to alleviate a number of ailments and conditions. Although it grows wild just about all over India, tulsi can be found in many homes and temple gardens. The medicinal properties of this plant make it sacred. Its anti-fungal and antiviral properties make it the perfect medicine for those annoying days when you are stuck at home with the flu, now its swine flu. That is why tulsi is considered to be a symbol of ‘fidelity’. It is right to say that it is both a ‘first-reach’ herb in most cases of cough, colds, flu and fever, as well as a ‘last-resort’ when nothing else seems to work.