Holy Basil, the “queen of herbs” is the most sacred of all the herbs found in India! This sacred plant is found in almost every Indian household. Tulsi has been used in India for around 5000 years and is acclaimed for its healing properties of the mind, body and spirit. Tulsi has been widely popular in South Asian countries for many centuries and now is also gaining popularity in the West.
Most commonly known as “Tulsi” or “Tulasi” (Hindi) in India, the basil plant is a leafy herb belonging to the mint family. The scientific name of Tulsi is Ocimum Tenuiflorum and is its English term in Basil. There are three variants of Tulsi; Rama Tulsi, Krishna Tulsi, and Vana Tulsi. Each of the variants has its own distinctive taste. The parts of Tulsi generally used are its leaves, seeds and dried roots.
The extract obtained from Tulsi plants is used to cure various diseases such as common cold, inflammation, malaria, heart diseases, and many more. Tulsi contains hundreds of beneficial compounds and possesses strong antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, adaptogenic, and immune enhancing properties. Tulsi also aids in the purification of the atmosphere. It has been used for centuries as an important component of Ayurveda for its diverse healing properties. Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogenic, balancing different processes in the body and enabling the body to adapt to stress. Marked by its strong aroma and astringent taste, it is regarded in Ayurveda as an “elixir of life” and is well known to promote longevity. It is because of these numerous benefits that “Tulsi medicinal plant” is worshiped as a goddess in India!
Nutritional Value of Tulsi/Basil
Have a glimpse at the nutrient facts of Tulsi before progressing to its benefits:
|Principle||Nutrient Value||RDA %|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.209 mg||4%|
|Vitamin A||5275 IU||175%|
|Vitamin C||18 mg||30%|
|Vitamin E||0.80 mg||5%|
|Calcium||177 mg||18 %|
|Manganese||1.15 mg||57 %|
|Carotene ß||3142 μg|
|Crypto-xanthin ß||46 μg|
A. Health Benefits of Tulsi
Not only from a religious point of view, but from a medicinal perspective too, Tulsi has endless value. In Ayurveda, it is considered as the destroyer of all the doshas. The Tulsi benefits are many and people also chew raw leaves regularly to reap these benefits. Tulsi leaves also re-energize and rejuvenate the body of a person. It keeps one fresh mentally and stimulates the thought process. The holy basil is a homemade remedy for a lot of common ailments.
Listed below are some of the uses of plant:
1. Fever And Common Cold
The medicinal use of Tulsi begins with the ability of the leaves to cure many kinds of fever.
- Tender Tulsi leaves boiled in water act as a preventive against malaria and dengue fever.
- In the case of acute fever, a decoction of the leaves boiled with cardamom powder in half a litre of water mixed with sugar and milk brings down the temperature.
Tulsi is also a good germicidal agent and a disinfectant that protects the human body from all types of viral infections.
2. Cough And Respiratory Problems
Chewing Tulsi leaves also cures cough and flu. It helps to mobilize mucous in bronchitis and asthma attacks. A decoction of leaves with honey and ginger is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, influenza, and cold. A decoction of leaves, cloves and common salt also relieves influenza.
Water boiled with basil leaves can be taken as a drink in case of a sore throat. You can also gargle with this water to soothe sore throat. Tulsi is an important ingredient in the preparation of cough syrups and expectorant.
3. Healing Properties
Basil leaves have antiseptic properties and are hence, used in the treatment of ulcers, cuts and wounds. They help in reducing the pain caused by measles, chicken pox, and small pox. A mixture of basil leaves juice and coconut oil can be applied on cuts and wounds to give relief. Chewing a basil leaf or applying the juice of basil leaves on the area stung or bitten by an insect also helps relieve the pain as well as draw the venom out.
4. Treatment of Sore Throat
A concoction made by boiling basil leaves in water can be taken as a drink or used for gargling to get relief from a sore throat.
5. Kidney Stones
One of the Tulsi plant’s uses is that its leaves have a strengthening effect on the kidneys. In case of renal stones, the consumption of juice of basil leaves mixed with honey helps remove these stones through the urinary tract. Tulsi being a detoxifying agent can help to reduce uric acid level which is the main reason behind kidney stones.
6. Heart Disorder
Basil is very beneficial in combating cardiac disease and the weakness resulting from it. It reduces blood cholesterol levels. Tulsi also contains Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants such as Eugenol protects the heart from harmful effects of free radicals. Tulsi can also reduce blood pressure and thus is useful for heart patients.
7. Children’s Ailments
- Common paediatric problems like cough, cold diarrhea and vomiting respond favourably to Tulsi juice.
- Basil leaves taken with honey keeps chicken pox at bay.
- If a baby is given Tulsi juice regularly before teething, it helps grow teeth easily without any of the usual teething troubles. Massaging the gums with a mixture of Tulsi leaves and honey will also help.
- Giving children a mixture of Tulsi juice and honey helps bring relief from cough and sore throat too.
- Warm Tulsi juice gets rid of the worms in the stomach.
Tulsi is one of the many herbs that help to control blood sugar level in a person. It reduces the blood sugar levels by causing a sudden or drastic drop.
9. Stomach Problems
Several stomach problems like acidity, constipation and flatulence can also be cured with Tulsi leaves. Tulsi supports the digestive system and makes you feel less bloated and more comfortable. It also helps people suffering from vomiting and lack of appetite.
10. Aids In Weight Loss
Basil leaves taken with home-made fresh curd help in reducing excess weight and fight laziness by renewing your energy levels and facilitating new blood cells formation.
11. Eye Disorder
Basil juice is an effective remedy for sore eyes and night blindness, which is generally caused by lack of Vitamin A. Two drops of basil juice can work wonders for the eyes. It soothes eyes and reduces stress. Also, it can protect from conjunctivitis, boils and other problems of the eyes which are caused mainly due to bacterial and fungal infections by washing eyes with water soaked in Tulsi leaves.
Basil leaves act as relaxants for your eyes to sooth stress induced fine lines. Chewing a couple of basil leaves helps to ward off eye problems caused by free radicals such as vision degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma. Basil leaves juice is an effective remedy for sore eyes and night blindness.
Tulsi is anti-carcinogenic in nature and helps to treat some forms of cancer like breast cancer. Tulsi restricts the blood vessels that feed tumors. It also helps to inhibit the growth of oral cancer that is caused due to tobacco. But Tulsi should not be used as a sole treatment of cancer however.
13. Gum Disorder
The leaves are also useful in treating gum disorders. Tulsi leaves dried and powdered can be used for brushing teeth. It can also be mixed with mustard oil and can be used as a toothpaste. It maintains the health of the gums and helps to counteract pyorrhoea and other dental problems. This toothpaste can also be rubbed on the gums to hinder gum inflammation.
Tulsi is also used as a mouthwash to relieve tooth for headache. A faciache. Tulsi is an excellent mouth freshener and oral disinfectant and destroys 99% of germs and bacteria found in the mouth. These leaves are quite effective for several mouth infections like ulcer.
14. Help to Get Rid Of Bad Breath
Bad breath can be detrimental to your self-confidence. Basil leaves can be a healthy substitute to special toothpastes and chewing gums to ward off bad breath. You can chew a handful of basil leaves to prevent bad breath.
15. Helpful In Quitting Smoking
Chain smokers can try chewing basil leaves to get rid of their addiction. These can be more beneficial than nicotine patches, flavored gum or even plain candy to curb the urge. While the juice has a cooling effect on your throat, the chewing will distract you and the antioxidants will repair the damage caused due to years of smoking.
16. Relief From Headache
Basil leaves are considered a great medicine for headaches. A facial steam of dried basil leaf is effective in alleviating headache. For this purpose, add a tablespoon of dried basil leaves to 2 cups of water in a large pot. Covering your head with a towel, carefully lean over the pot and breathe in the steam for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also apply pounded basil leaves mixed in sandalwood paste on your forehead to get relief from heat and headache as well as cooling effect in general.
17. Pain Relief
Tulsi plant acts like a COX-2 inhibitor and benefits people with painful medical conditions. Some compounds found in Tulsi helps to ease inflammatory and neurological pain and has no side effects whatsoever. Tulsi is also used in the treatment of ulcers, cuts and wounds because of its beneficial antiseptic and healing properties.
18. Stress Reliever
The anti-oxidants present in Tulsi help in balancing different processes of the body. Drinking Tulsi extract daily smoothes the nervous system and helps to relieve stress.
19. Insect Bite
This herb also prevents insect stings and bites. A teaspoon of fresh juice should be applied on the affected areas and repeated after a few hours. A paste of fresh roots is also effective in case of bites of insects and leeches.
Apply a paste of Tulsi leaves and roots ground together on the sting of the scorpion. It will completely eliminate the effects of poison. Also in such cases, crushing a few leaves of Tulsi and mixing it with lemon helps too. Apply it on the area of the sting and it will cure the problem. The pain caused by the sting can be reduced by drinking Tulsi juice and also by applying it on the sting.
B. Skin Benefits Of Tulsi
The beauty benefits of Tulsi plants are plenty. It helps in maintaining a healthy skin and shiny hair. Tulsi extracts make the most organic solution for your skin and hair problems. Tulsi is endowed with antiseptic and purifying qualities which help to prevent skin diseases. Some of them have been listed below.
20. Prevention Of Acne And Pimples
Basil leaves prevent the outburst of acne and pimples as they purify your blood by removing toxins. They contain antibacterial and antifungal agents and you can apply a paste of these leaves mixed with sandalwood paste, neem paste or rose water to prevent inflammation.
21. Lightens Scars And Marks
Besan and Tulsi paste face pack is a popular pack to get rid of scar marks and get a clean and even skin tone. Skin whitening effects of besan lightens the appearance of scars and black marks and Tulsi kills the bacteria that lead to acne.
22. Beneficial For Facial Skin
Rubbing dried basil leaves on your face improves your facial skin in many ways, giving it a younger and fresher appearance. Applying a paste of basil leaves on your face and neck improves your skin tone.
23. Prevention Of Blackheads
Basil leaves also prevent the appearance of blackheads. Wet the top side of the basil and place one leaf on each side of your nose for 5 minutes. After this take it off and wash your face.
24. Adds Glow To The Face
Rubbing finely powdered dry Tulsi on the face like a loose powder adds glow to the face glow and removes dark spots from the face.
25. Prevents Inflammation
Tulsi leaves contain antibacterial and antifungal compounds. A paste made of Tulsi leaves along with sandalwood paste and rose water can be applied on the face as it helps to prevent inflammation.
26. Treatment Of Skin Infections And Ringworms
Due to their antibacterial, antibiotic and antifungal properties, basil leaves can restrict the growth of bacterium like E coli and B anthracis which cause skin infections. A concoction prepared by grinding and boiling 200-250 grams of basil leaves with equal quantity of sesame seed oil can be applied on the skin to cure itching. A mixture of ground basil leaves and lemon juice can be applied on the skin to treat ringworm.
27. Adds Young And Fresh Look
The antioxidants present in Tulsi makes you look younger and fresher. Tulsi is very healthy for the skin. It works well as a skin and hair moisturizer too.
28. Tightens Skin Pores
Skin with blemishes can also benefit from Tulsi leaves. Make a face pack using one egg white and Tulsi leaves paste. Then rub the mixture gently on the face particularly on the infected areas of the skin. Wash off the face pack after 20 minutes scrubbing it gently. The egg white used will tighten the pores while the Tulsi paste will disinfect the skin and prevent infections which cause pimples and acne.
29. Promotes Quick Healing
Another good remedy for treating all types of skin diseases is boiling Tulsi in mustard oil till the oil turns black. Let it cool, then strain the oil and apply all over the body during winters. This promotes quick healing. Application of Tulsi juice on the boils is beneficial and gives relief too.
30. Relieves Skin Irritation
Apply Tulsi paste for relief from skin irritations caused due to plucking of the hair.
31. Heals Wounds, Cuts, And Burns
Dry Tulsi leaves in a shade, add alum, grind and sieve well and store the powder in a clean glass bottle. Apply the powder on wounds and cuts. Pain due to burns can be alleviated by applying equal amounts of Tulsi juice and coconut oil mixed in it.
32. Treatment of Vitiligo
Regular intake of basil leaves has the potential to cure ‘vitiligo’, a disease characterized by white patches on the skin.
33. Soothes Itching
Rubbing Tulsi leaves on areas that itch gives quick relief. Itching can also be soothed by applying a mixture of Tulsi and lemon juice.
34. Treats Skin Diseases
Tulsi works very well on eczema, acne and pimples and many cosmetic companies use Tulsi as an ingredient in skin ointments due to its antibacterial properties. People suffering from scabies and eczema should drink Tulsi juice to help cure it.
C. Hair Care Benefits Of Tulsi
Dry and damaged hair is often a cause of concern for beauties. Further high pollution in cities and several other factors combine to wreak havoc on our crowning glory and damage our hair to the very roots. It is highly important to keep ourselves hydrated and eat a balance diet to ward off hair problems. Always rely on herbal products and homemade remedies for hair problems rather than using over the counter, chemical laden hair care products which do nothing but make the matter worse for us. Tulsi is a wonder herb which helps to achieve lustrous shiny and healthy hair.
35. Prevention Of Hair Loss
Hair loss is a common problem which can occur due to itchiness and sweatiness of scalp. You can make a paste of basil leaves and add it to your hair oil. Applying this oil on your scalp will keep your scalp cool, reduce itchiness and promote hair growth by improving circulation in your scalp.
36. Treats Dandruff And Dry Scalp:
One of the major causes of hair loss is dandruff and dry scalp. Add a small quantity of Tulsi oil to regular carrier oil like coconut oil and massage well on your scalp. Tulsi helps to improve the blood circulation and keeps your scalp cool reducing itchiness and dandruff and thus promotes hair growth. You can also apply Tulsi paste which keeps the scalp, roots clean and keeps the dandruff at bay.
37. Strengthen The Hair Shaft
If you are suffering from brittle hair or hair thinning, you can consider basil leaves as they are effective in strengthening the hair shaft.
38. Boosts Immunity
Tulsi has a complex constitution that includes immunity booster, adaptogens and anti-oxidants. Hence, Tulsi juice when taken every week keeps our scalp healthy and hydrated.
39. Treatment Of Grey Hair
For this purpose, soak dried basil leaves powder and amla powder in water overnight and wash your hair with it after straining it the next morning. This prevents graying of hair as well as hair fall.
40. Rejuvenate Hair Follicles
Basil leaves help in rejuvenating and producing healthy hair by stimulating the hair follicles.
41. Prevention Of Damage by Radiation
Basil leaves have antioxidant properties. They contain the flavonoids, orientin and vicenin that protect the chromosomes and cell structures from oxidation, thus preventing cell ageing and death and providing protection against radiation damage.
Apart from all these benefits, it has been recently discovered that Tulsi has environmental benefits too. Tulsi apparently gives out oxygen for 20 hours and ozone for 4 hours along with the formation of nascent oxygen which absorbs harmful gases like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide from the environment.
After knowing all these amazing benefits of this herb, I’m sure all of you would try these home remedies. It will work wonders on your life and living habits.
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