Tulsi, another name for holy basil, has a rich history dating back to ancient eastern uses 3,000 years ago. Mentioned in the Rig Veda around 1500 BC, the sacredness of holy basil was celebrated in the Purana and is highly regarded in Ayurvedic medicine.
It is suspected that tulsi is native to tropical Asia, although it now grows in many tropical climates across the globe. Historically used in these areas as medicine because of its widespread healing power, holy basil leaves are now regarded by most countries as adaptogens (anti-stress agents) and have been used widely to promote health throughout the entire body.
Health Benefits of Holy Basil – Tulsi
Herbs and Spices
The health benefits of holy basil, also known as tulsi, include oral care, relief from respiratory disorders, as well as treatment of fever, asthma, lung disorders, heart diseases and stress. Holy Basil, which has the scientific name Ocimum Sanctum is undoubtedly one of the best medicinal herb that has been discovered. It has endless miraculous and medicinal values and has been worshiped and highly valued in India for thousands of years.
Even going close to a Tulsi plant alone can protect you from many infections. A few leaves dropped in drinking water or foods can purify it and can kill germs within it as well. Even smelling it or keeping it planted in a pot indoors can protect the whole family from infections, coughs, colds and other viral infections.
The health benefits include the following:
Fever: The miraculous healing properties of Holy Basil come mainly from its essential oils and the phytonutrients contained in it. Holy Basil is an excellent antibiotic, germicidal, fungicidal and disinfectant agent and very efficiently protects our body from all sorts of bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Fever is mainly caused due to infections from protozoa (malaria), bacteria (typhoid), viruses (flu) and even allergic substances and fungus. Fever is not actually an ailment in itself. It is just a symptom which shows that our body is fighting against less visible infections. The tremendous disinfectant, germicidal and fungicidal properties of tulsi destroys all those pathogens discussed above and heals the resulting fever. It is an old practice in India to have a decoction of tulsi leaves and flowers in case you are suffering from a fever.
Respiratory Disorders: Tulsi, along with curing viral, bacterial and fungal infections of the respiratory system, gives miraculous relief in congestion due to the presence of components like Camphene, Eugenol and Cineole in its essential oils. It is very effective in curing almost all varieties of respiratory disorders including bronchitis, both chronic and acute.
Asthma: Tulsi is very beneficial in the treatment of asthma, since it relieves congestion and facilitates smoother breathing. The phytonutrients and essential oils, along with the other minerals in it, help cure some of the underlying causes of asthma as well.
Lung Disorders: The compounds like vitamin-C, Camphene, Eugenol and Cineole that are present in the essential oils of tulsi do not only cure the infections in the lungs, but also cure congestion of the lungs. Furthermore, they are found to be effective in healing the damages caused to the lungs due to smoking, tuberculosis, and lung cancer. It also helps to cure tuberculosis due to its antibiotic properties.
Heart Diseases: Holy Basil contains vitamin-C and other antioxidants such as eugenol, which protect the heart from the harmful effects of free radicals. Additionally, eugenol is very beneficial in reducing the cholesterol levels within the blood.
Stress: Vitamin-C and other antioxidants in Holy Basil, apart from repairing damages done by free radicals, also minimize the stress caused by these oxidants. They soothe the nerves, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and thus reduce stress. One such component is Camphene. Potassium also reduces blood pressure-related stress by replacing sodium and loosening the tense blood vessels.
Oral Care: Tulsi is an excellent mouth freshener and oral disinfectant and its freshness lasts for a very long time. Holy Basil destroys more than 99% of the germs and bacteria in the mouth and this effect can last all day. It also cures ulcers in the mouth. Finally, it is also known to help inhibit the growth of oral cancer which can be caused by chewing tobacco.
Dental Care: Holy Basil destroys the bacteria that are responsible for dental cavities, plaque, tartar, and bad breath, while also protecting the teeth. It also has astringent properties which make the gums hold the teeth tighter, thereby keeping them from falling. However, tulsi also has certain compounds like mercury, which has rich germicidal properties, that can actually be harmful for the teeth if kept in direct contact for too long. Therefore, it is advised to avoid chewing these leaves. It is actually discussed in holy books and Ayurvedic teachings that chewing these leaves robs them of their holiness. However, it has no harm if you do not chew it or consume its decoction.
Kidney Stones: Tulsi, being a detoxifier and a mild diuretic, helps to reduce the uric acid level in the body, which is the main culprit as far as kidney stones are concerned. It also helps to clean out the kidneys through increased frequency of urination. Acetic acid and certain components in tulsi essential oils also facilitate dissolution of the stones. Finally, it has pain-killer effects and help bear the pain from kidney stones as they pass.
Skin Care: Try taking a daily bath with a decoction of Holy Basil mixed with your bathwater, washing your face with it, or simply applying the paste of its leaves on an infected area of the skin in case of skin diseases. You can also just consume tulsi leaves, and still manage to keep your skin free from all infections. You may not believe this, but rubbing Holy Basil leaves or its extracted oils on the body keeps mosquitoes and other insects away. It cures skin disorders both internally and externally, without any side effects. This property mainly comes from its essential oils, which are highly antibiotic, disinfectant, antibacterial and antifungal in nature. External application on the skin also removes extra oil from the skin surface. Camphene in it also gives a soothing, cooling effect.
Headache: Headaches caused due to migraines, sinus pressure, cough and cold, or high blood pressure can be effectively controlled by the use of a single tulsi serving. Camphene, Eugenol, Cineol, Carvacrol and Methyl-Chavicol have excellent analgesic, sedative, anticongestive and disinfectant properties.
Anti-Aging: Vitamin-C, A, phytonutrients and the essential oils in Holy Basil are excellent antioxidants and protect the body from nearly all the damage caused by free radicals in the body, which are hazardous byproducts of cellular metabolism that are responsible for a wide swath of diseases, including cancer. In the traditional Indian medicine system called Ayurveda, it is considered as a tonic to retain youth and avoid premature aging.
Immunity: Holy Basil is so good for boosting up the immune system that it is hard to describe in words. It protects against nearly all infections from viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa. Recent studies show that it is also helpful in inhibiting the growth of HIV and carcinogenic cells.
Eye Care: Wash your eyes daily with a few leaves of basil soaked in water and you will be free from conjunctivitis, boils and many other problems of the eyes which are caused due to viral, bacterial or fungal infections. It also soothes eye inflammation and reduces stress. Regular consumption can protect your eyes from much of the damage done by the free radicals, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma and vision defects, due to the high antioxidant content of its essential oils, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
Other Benefits: It can protect your body from radiation poisoning and also heal and damages from that sort of condition. It can be given after surgery to help heal wounds quickly and also to protect those healing areas from infections. It acts as a vaccine against pox if consumed regularly. It is anticarcinogenic and found to be effective in healing nearly all types of cancer and tumors. Being an expectorant is one of the most prized properties of Holy Basil, making it very efficient in curing coughs and colds. It is beneficial in reducing labor pain, destroying rabies germs, treating gastroenteritis, cholera, whooping cough, measles, mumps, rheumatism, nausea, septic, urinary and genital infections, destroying worms in the stomach. Furthermore, its dried leaves can be mixed with food grains to be used as an insect repellant. Apart from these many functions, more alternative applications and uses of this truly miraculous plant are always being discovered or experimented with.
Perhaps you should just find out how amazing it can be for yourself!