Tulsi – Holy Basil – One of the most effective Adaptogens and Immunity Modulator
Tulsi is one of the most sacred plants in India, worshipped in many households and a reverred Ayurvedic herb. It is often termed as Queen of the herbs for its versatility, medicinal properties, nutritional content, and for its delicious flavour it imparts to the culinary preparations. It is also known as Holy Basil and its scientific name is Ocimum Sanctum. It has astringent taste and strong aroma.
Not only Tulsi has incomparable health benefits, but also its pollens are known to contain an essential scent that keeps the microbes away and purifies the surroundings. Nearly every aerial part of Tulsi is packed with essential nutrients that boost the strength of the body and nurture it inside out.
Health Benefits of Tulsi
- It is rich in essential micronutrients and high in antioxidants.
- It is one of the most effective adaptogens to relieve stress and anxiety. Tulsi along with Turmeric, and Ginger has been recommended for cough, cold, and headaches for centuries in India.
- It supports immune function and is a natural immuno-modulator.
- It is described as an Anti-Asthmatic herb in Ayurveda and used for the treatment of Bronchitis and Influenza
- It helps fight cold, cough, and fever and provides immediate relief. In fact, juice of the leaves mixed with honey and ginger acts as a natural cough syrup.
- It is reverred in Ayurveda as an “Elixir of Life” and mentioned as a herb for longevity.
- It acts as a nervine tonic, thus promoting cognitive functions of the brain.
- Its leaves are rich in certain valuable phytochemicals that impart it a soothing aroma that works wonders in teas and essential oils.
- A great herb for Diabetics, it helps maintain blood glucose levels and also lowers cholesterol.
- It is also used in the treatment of fever and multiple gastrointestinal disorders such as dysentry and dyspepsia.
- Juice of the leaves is used along with Triphala for preparation of natural eye-drops to treat Glucoma, Cataract, and Chronic Conjunctivitis.
- It lowers Cortisol levels, purifies blood, and helps relieve stress.
Consumption and Usage of Tulsi – Holy Basil
Basil is an essential aromatic herb in most cuisines. In India, holy basil primarily finds its usage in teas, concoctions, and for therapeutic purposes. Soak few leaves of Tulsi in warm water for 5-10 mins and a delicious herbal tea is ready to rejuvenate. For health conditions such as cold/flu, it can be boiled in water/milk along with ginger, and turmeric to result in a decoction. Its leaves can be preserved in dry powder form and consumed with water or sprinkled over food preparations.
In Indian households, two types of Ocimum sanctum – Holy Basil are seen:
(i) Plants with green leaves known as ‘Sri Tulsi’ and
(ii) Plants with purple leaves known as ‘Krishna Tulsi’
Other variations are:
- Ocimum gratissium – Ram Tulsi
- Ocimum canum – Dulal Tulsi
- Ocimum basilicum – Ban Tulsi
- Ocimum kilimandscharicum
- Ocimum ammericanum
- Ocimum camphora and
- Ocimum micranthum