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As we see, most of the people around us are disease-struck. The principal reason behind this tragic situation is lifestyle-related chronic diseases, most of which can be addressed through Ayurveda as it is based on the philosophy of healthy and simple living. Ayurveda advocates regular consumption of adaptogenic herbs. Of all the Ayurvedic herbs, Tulsi is the most useful and the most efficacious one. Tulsi is associated with the epithet of “Mother of herbs” and “The Queen Medicine of Nature.”

Where is Tulsi found?

Tulsi aka ‘Holy Basil’ is an aromatic perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae. It grows primarily in the Indian Subcontinent and widespread as a reared plant throughout the Southeast Asian tropics. It usually develops in the forests of tropical regions on its own, and for its religious implications, people in India plant it in their homes as well. Rearing of the plant in every household has been designated as a religious duty by our Rishies. So, people, each morning and evening, kindle a mud lamp and bow their heads before the plant out of respect. For its beneficial characteristics, Shastras state- “तुल ां उपम ां सदृश्यां व अस्यतत क्षिपतत इततl,”[1] which means- Tulsi is invaluable due to its unique properties.

How to Identify Tulsi?

It belongs to the category of shrub, and usually grows 60-75 cm. in height, and the entire bush is sharply aromatic. The branches remain straight and widespread. Its leaves are 2.5-5 cm. long in an oval shape. The branches end with a cluster of blossoms. Tulsi, carrying whitish green leaves, is called Shukla Tulsi (White Tulsi), and the one with dark branches as well as dark leaves is called (Krishna Tulsi) Black Tulsi. Except for these two varieties, Tulsi is of several other kinds, one of which is O. gratissimum Linn., also known as Rama Tulsi. Krishna Tulsi is considered most useful. Its leaves and seeds are used in many medicines.

Chemical Composition: BASIL

Dr JLN Shastry writes about the chemical composition of Tulsi in Dravyaguna Vijnana’s second volume that it has Camphor, Bornyl acete, b-Caryophyllene, cadinene, camphene, Humelene, Carvacrol, Eugenol, Limonene, methyl ether, Methyl chavicol, etc. In its leaves, 0.7% volatile oil is present, which repels folly odours and poisonous insects. The parts that are mainly used are leaves, seeds, and root. Sometimes the whole plant (panchang) is used.

Medicinal Properties

It proves Ayurveda’s holistic lifestyle approach to health. Tulsi has pungent (Katu) and bitter (Tikta) taste. It undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion which is said to pierce deep tissues that help in discharging the dead tissues and balances Kapha and Vata. Many scientific studies have been carried out by scholars that reveal tulsi’s unique combination of pharmacological actions. These actions include Antimiscrobial (antibacterial, antimalarial, antifungal, antiviral, anthelmintic, antiprotozoal), anti-diarrheal, chemopreventive, radioprotective, anti-oxidant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, anticarcinogenic, analgesic, antipyretic, anti-coagulant, anti-allergic, central nervous system depressant, anti-hypercholesterolemia, anti-asthmatic, anti-tussive, anti-emetic, diaphoretic, anti-leukodermal, anti-fertility, immunomodulatory, anti-ulcer, adaptogenic, anti-spasmodic, anti-arthritic, anti-stress, anti-cataract, memory enhancement, anti-thyroid and cardioprotective activities.Tulsi repels harmful insects such as mosquitos reducing the chances of their breeding hence making it effective against widely spread Malaria. These pharmacological actions restore physiological and psychological functions by treating chemical, emotional, physical, and infectious conditions. Tulsi is also beneficial for its cosmetic implications. It is used in many cosmetics essentials as it gives brightness to the complexion, enrich the beauty, cure skin diseases; ringworm, etc. It gives protection against anxiety, asthma, fever, arthritis, otalgia, hiccups, gastric, cough, diarrhoea, dysentery, eye diseases, indigestion, vomiting, cardiac, back pain, scorpion and snake bites. It is useful in auto immune diseases.

Methods to use Tulsi in different Medical Conditions

  • Rashes/itching- It is useful in Urticaria and Itching. To cure rashes, make a paste out of tulsi leaves and apply it to the affected area.
  • Headache- In the condition of Sinusitis and headache, crush basil’s leaves and make them into juice. Put two drops into both nostrils during empty stomach. It will give relief from headache as well as sinusitis.
  • Foul Breath- Bad breath is a significant problem among people, which is a direct result of low digestion. Tulsi is called Daurgandhyahara. Swallowing one or two leaves daily prevents lousy breath problem by restoring digestion.
  • Low Immunity- People often take tulsi daily through tea. Tulsi tea is highly digestive, good for respiratory health, immune boosting, etc. Tulsi is panacea in the sense that it treats laryngitis and hoarse voice, ringworm, dandruff and hair loss, etc.
    The recipe of the tea is as follows-
    Take dry Tulsi leaves and powder it. Mix 1 part of Tulsi leaf powder to 10 parts of tea powder. Use this tea powder to make tea. Fresh 3-4 leaves can also be used in a cup of tea.
    It is acceptable that some people avoid drinking tea. They can make tulsi herbal tea by mixing it with the combination of lemongrass, liquorice, ginger, cinnamon, terminalia tea bark and peepal tree bark.
  • Respiratory Ailments- It is also ideal for treating laryngitis and hoarse voice. Take 6-8 leaves with 2 pepper grains with a pinch of rock salt. Chew them slowly and suck its juice to cure laryngitis. And for treatment of hoarse voice, take 8-10 tulsi leaves and extract its juice. Mix it with 1 spoon honey and take it. It will give relief from hoarse voice. Another method to is- take 8-10 tulsi leaves mix it with 5gm. Ginger. Extract juice out of the combination and add honey of the same quantity in the mixture. Give it three times a day to an adult to cure the condition.
  • Fungal disease- As said earlier, tulsi is an anti-fungal herb, which means it can cure fungal diseases such as ringworm, etc. To treat ringworm, take 10 fresh leaves of Basil and extract their juice. Mix it with a pinch of turmeric or neem powder. Apply it to the affected area for 10 days regularly.
  • Dandruff- The treatment of dandruff and hair loss can be done by preparing a mixture of 750 ml. of coconut oil and 250 ml. of tulsi leaves’ juice. Keep the mixture in an airtight bottle under sunlight. After 10 days, filter the concoction and apply it thrice a week.

Disclaimer- All the information given above is for educational purpose only. Don’t follow any
advice regarding dosage or diagnoses, as it is as written in the article. Always consult your
ayurvedic physician before trying any medicinal practice on your own.