Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for its diverse healing properties. It is regarded in Ayurveda as a kind of “elixir of life” and believed to promote longevity. Tulsi has its own religious importance. The Tulsi Manas mandir at Varanasi is one such famous temple, where Tulsi is worshipped.
Apart from its religious significance, it is of great medicinal significance, and is a prime herb in Ayurveda treatment. The plant extract can be used to prevent and cure many illness and common ailments like common cold, headache, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poison and malaria. Essential oil extracted from Karpoor Tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purpose though of late it is used in the manufacture of herbal toiletry.
The Tulsi plant is known to purify or de-pollute the atmosphere and works as a repellent to mosquitoes, flies and other harmful insects.
Attributes of Tulsi
Rasa (taste): Tikta (Bitter), Katu (Pungent), Kashaya (Astringent).
Guna (Properties): Tikshna (Sharp), Ruksha (Dry) and Laghu (Light)
Virya (Potency): Ushna (Hot)
Karma (action): Pacifies Kapha and Vata dosha, Ruchikara (Promotes taste), Dipani (Appetizer), Hridya (Cardiac tonic)
Varieties: Though there are many varieties of Tulsi only the two varieties are commonly found. Two types are Krishna Tulsi (Black variety) and Rama Tulsi (White variety).
Health Benefits :
Tulsi has been mentioned in the classical text books of Ayurveda which proves that Tulsi has used in many formulations and is the drug of choice in many disorders since thousands of years. Here are few health benefits of Tulsi.
1) Common Cold & Cough: Chewing Tulsi leaves cures Cough and flu. It helps to mobilize mucous in bronchitis and asthma attack. Almost all the Ayurvedic cough syrups contain Tulsi as an important ingredient, as it helps in lessening bronchitis. A decoction of leaves with honey and ginger is an effective remedy against bronchitis, asthma, influenza and cold.
2) Pediatric Health Problems: In problems like cough, cold, diarrhea and vomiting, Tulsi juice is very effective. Basil leaves taken with honey keeps chicken pox at bay.
3) Excellent Mouth Freshener: Tulsi is an excellent mouth freshener and oral disinfectant and destroy 99% of germs and bacteria found in the mouth. Tulsi is also used as mouth wash to relieve tooth ache. These leaves are quite effective for several mouth infections like ulcers.
4) Sore Throat: Water boiled with Basil leaves can be taken as a drink in sore throat.
5) Diabetes: Tulsi reduces blood glucose level and so is an effective herb for diabetes.
6) Stress Reliever: Tulsi act as a stress reliever by balancing various body processes. The anti-oxidants present in Tulsi helps in balancing different processes of the body. Drinking Tulsi extract daily smoothes the nervous system and helps to relieve stress.
7) Immune Booster: It boosts the immune system thus it promotes longevity.
8) Memory Enhancer: Tulsi leaves are beneficial for nervous system and help in enhancing memory.
9) Insect Bites: Tulsi is very beneficial against insect bites or stings. Drinking juice of Tulsi leaves after every few hours in case of bite is very beneficial. You can also apply Tulsi paste to the affected part.
10) Anti-Cancer Effect: Tulsi has anti-carcinogenic property and helps to treat certain forms of cancer including breast cancer. Tulsi restricts the blood vessel that feeds tumors. It also helps to inhibit the growth of oral cancer that it caused due to tobacco. But Tulsi should not be used as the sole treatment of cancer however.
11) Helps To Quit Smoking: Tulsi can also help you immensely if you are trying to quit smoking. It is more helpful than nicotine gum and candies which claim to keep you distracted from your need of smoking. Keep some fresh Tulsi in your pocket and munch whenever you feel the urge to smoke. The Tulsi juice will cool your throat just as the mint drop do and chewing will distract you.
This article is written by Dr. Aniket Kamble who is a B.A.M.S (Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Science)