Tulsi (Holy Basil) : Benefits, Therapeutic Uses & Side Effects
Scientific name : Ocimum tenuiflorum / Ocimum sanctum
Hindi name : Holy basil, tulasi, thulasi or tulsi
Tulsi (“king of herbs” or the “royal herb”) is worshipped by Hindus and is an important symbol of Hindu religion.
There are two types of tulsi
- Krishna tulsi – Has purple leaves
- Shri tulsi – Has Green leaves
Tulsi has amazingly huge health benefits. Let’s take a look at the possible health benefits of Holy basil :
- AntiMicrobial agent : Holy basil has antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties.
- Immunomodulator (Boosts Immunity) : Holy Basil is a good source for boosting up the immune system. It protects against nearly all infections from viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa.
- Adaptogen : Anti-stress properties of basil is attributed to its antioxidants like vitamin C. They repairs damages done by free radicals, soothe the nerves, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and thus reduce stress.
- Rejuvenative : This herb is given to rejuvenate and restore a person to good health.
- Analgesic : Holy basil helps in relieving from fever, & headache. Holy Basil act as antibiotic, germicidal, fungicidal, and disinfectant agent and effectively protects us from all kinds of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
- Treats Respiratory Disorders : Holy basil is very effective in curing almost all respiratory disorders including Bronchitis, Asthma, Cough, Common cold, Chest congestion, Flu etc. Because of the presence of components like camphene, eugenol, cineole, Holy basil provide relief from congestion. It helps to mobilize mucus in bronchitis and asthma.
- Treats Sore Throat : Water boiled with basil leaves can be taken as drink in case of sore throat. This water can also be used as a gargle.
- Anti-inflammatory : Holy basil contain Eucalyptol thus, help to fight inflammation, so much that they can even help relieve joint pains caused by inflammation. Eucalyptol reduces inflammation and the associated pain by enhancing blood circulation around the wounded area.
- Detoxifying, cleansing and purifying agent : Basil leaves purify your blood by removing toxins.
- Anti-aging agent : Tulsi has anti-aging property. It is super-rich in antioxidants like Vitamin C and A, phytonutrients, essential oils which give it the ability to rejuvenate the skin. It also protects the skin against the effects of oxidative damage.
- Skin care : Tulsi Slows Down Aging, Adds Glow To Your Face, Prevents Acne, Relieves Skin Infections, Treats Vitiligo And Eczema, Tightens Skin Pores, & Lightens Skin Tone.
- Protects Against Diabetes : Tulsi has the ability to control blood glucose levels.
- Helps in Fighting Cancer : Basil contains eugenol, phytochemicals like rosmarinic acid, myretenal, luteolin, and apigenin which have the potential to prevent various forms of cancer.
- Balances Hormones : Tulsi has the amazing ability to regulate cortisol levels and keep hormone levels balanced naturally.
- Dental Care & Mouth Freshener : Holy basil has the excellent power to fight bacteria & germs in your mouth. Tulsi serve as an excellent mouth freshener and an oral disinfectant. This is why, Tulsi cures dental issues, such as cavities, plaque, tartar and bad breath and also protects the teeth. Tulsi can help diminish ulcers in the mouth, and it’s generally thought to stop the growth of oral cancer cells caused by chewing tobacco.
- Eye protective agent : Holy basil protects eyes from various viral, bacterial or fungal infections such as conjunctivitis. Its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties help to protect eyes from environmental damage and free radicals. Holy basil consumption can protect your eyes from the damage done by the free radicals, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, vision defects, and ophthalmia, due to the high antioxidant content of its essential oils, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
- Prevents Heart Diseases : Holy Basil contains antioxidants such as vitamin C, eugenol which protect the heart from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Basil contains flavonoids, which reduce the risk of platelets forming clots on the arterial walls.
Holy Basil is very beneficial in reducing the cholesterol levels in the blood owing to Eugenol.
- Prevents Kidney Stones : Tulsi, as a detoxifier and a mild diuretic, helps to reduce the uric acid level in the blood, which is the main concerned factor for kidney stones. It also helps to clean out the kidneys through increased frequency of urination. Acetic acid and certain components in Tulsi essential oil facilitate dissolution of the kidney stones. Finally, it has pain-killer effects and helps to bear the pain from kidney stones as they pass.
- Digestive Aid : Tulsi is used to relieve stomachache, excessive acidity in the stomach and constipation. The herb is also a remedy for nausea, especially when combined with ginger in a tea.
- Hepatoprotective properties
- Treats Ear Infections : Basil helps to treat minor earache and ear infections.
- Hair Care : Holy basil prevents hair loss by strengthening the hair follicles, treats dandruff and itching, & also prevents premature graying of hair.
- Insect Bites : The herb is a prophylactic or preventive and curative for insect stings or bites. It is an effective insect repellant.
- Holy basil is also beneficial in treating conditions like hepatitis, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue and swine flu.
Tulsi is safe for consumption and topical use. However, following thing should be kept in minf before using tulsi :
- Tulsi may slow blood clotting, so taking tulsi along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
- Tulsi also has certain compounds like mercury, which has rich germicidal properties that can be harmful to 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 Lord Vishnu of their holiness. However, it has no harm if you do not chew it or consume its decoction.
Note : You are advised to consult with medical practitioner before use of tulsi.
Tulsi contain following ingradient as contituent :
- Vitamins like Folates, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K,
- Electrolytes : Sodium, Potassium,
- Minerals : Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc,
- Phyto-nutrients : Carotene ß, Crypto-xanthin ß, Lutein-zeaxanthin
- phytochemicals like rosmarinic acid, myretenal, luteolin, and apigenin etc.