The Tulsi or holy basil is an important symbol in the Hindu religious tradition and is worshiped in the morning and evening by Hindus at large. The holy basil is also a herbal remedy for a lot of common ailments. Tulsi has been known and honored in India for over five millennia for its remarkable healing properties. Tulsi is the common and well-known name for this plant in India where it originates. The Latin name is Ocimum Sanctum. Tulsi is of the same botanical family as Basil, whose Latin name is Ocimum Basilicum. This name, Holy Basil is commonly used for the Tulsi plant in the west. Organic India is the first company to bring Tulsi to the West as a delicious tea.
Tulsi can be a part of your diet in different forms:
Tulsi Tea: Tulsi Tea benefits have been widely acknowledged in the field of Indian ayurvedic therapy for a long time now. Tulsi Tea is created by infusing the tulsi leaves in hot or boiling water. The process of infusion transfers the antioxidant and adaptogenic properties of tulsi into the tea. Tulsi Tea, being an adaptogen, assists the body in coping up with stress. Tulsi Tea can also help lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and keep the heart healthy. Tulsi Tea may help improve the memory too. Tulsi Tea can be enjoyed throughout the day, from morning to night. However, even one cup of Tulsi Tea a day is beneficial.
Tulsi Herb Salad: Mixing fresh or dried tulsi leaves with other salad greens makes for a delicious, tangy salad especially if you dress it with fresh lemon juice. Add walnuts for extra bite. They offset the sharp taste of the tulsi leaves.
Tulsi & Mint Sauce: The interesting flavors and digestive benefits of tulsi & mint make them Ayurvedically compatible herbs. The liquorish-sweetness of fresh tulsi leaves will linger on your taste buds just that little bit longer!
Fever & Common Cold: The leaves of basil are specific for many fevers. In case of acute fevers, a decoction of the leaves boiled with powdered cardamom in half a liter of water and mixed with sugar and milk brings down the temperature. The juice of tulsi leaves can be used to bring down fever. In children, it is every effective in bringing down the temperature.
Coughs: Tulsi is an important constituent of many Ayurvedic cough syrups and expectorants. It helps to mobilize mucus in bronchitis and asthma. Chewing tulsi leaves relieves cold and flu. Letting the baby lick a mixture of Tulsi juice and honey will bring quick relief in cough and sore throat.
Itching of the skin over the abdomen and the breasts of a pregnant woman is relieved by the application paste of Van Tulsi.
In case of diarrhea accompanying teething, powdered Tulsi leaves should be given to the child with pomegranate syrup.
If the child brings up worms with its vomit, or excretes worms with faeces, give it a little powdered vavding, kakcha or himej with ten gms of Tulsi juice two or three times a day.
Respiratory Disorder: The herb is useful in the treatment of respiratory system disorder. A decoction of the leaves, with honey and ginger is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, influenza, cough and cold. Hiccups and asthma can also be cured by taking an extract of equal quantities of Tulsi leaves and inflorescences with aged jaggery.
Massaging the gums with Tulsi leaf juice mixed with honey will help the baby cut its teeth easily, without the usual troubles associated with teething.
Kidney Stone: In case of renal stone the juice of basil leaves and honey, if taken regularly for 6 months it will expel them via the urinary tract.
The extract of Tulsi roots sweetened with sugar will relieve constipation and distension of the stomach, ensuring a satisfactory bowel movement.
Heart Disorder: Basil has a beneficial effect in cardiac disease and the weakness resulting from them. It reduces the level of blood cholesterol.
Stress: Basil leaves are regarded as an 'adaptogen' or anti-stress agent.
Insect Bites: The herb is a prophylactic or preventive and curative for insect stings or bites. Snake poison can be deactivated by administering every two hours a mixture obtained by crushing together 20 leaves of a Tulsi plant with ten black pepper seeds.
Skin Disorders: Applied locally, basil juice is beneficial in the treatment of ringworm and other skin diseases.
Eye Disorders: Basil juice is an effective remedy for sore eyes and night-blindness, which is generally caused by deficiency of vitamin A.
How to grow Tulsi Plant: Tulsi seed is easy to germinate and grow. Sow the small Tulsi seeds in early spring indoors or in the greenhouse for an early start, or sow Tulsi seed directly in the spring or summer garden. Sow Tulsi seeds just under the surface of the soil and press in firmly. Keep Tulsi seed watered and warm until germination, which occurs within 1 to 2 weeks. Tulsi prefers full sun, rich soil, and plenty of water. Thin or transplant to 1 to 2 feet apart. Tulsi does well in pots or window boxes, and is traditionally grown for good luck near the front door of the house.
Although it grows wild just about all over India, tulsi can be found in many homes and temple gardens. Ayurvedically speaking, the medicinal properties of this plant make it sacred. If you need more energy and don't want caffeine or sugar, Tulsi will gently support and strengthen your energy as Tulsi is naturally caffeine-free. Tulsi helps reduce the ill effects of many allopathic medicines and has proved to be beneficial for people of all ages.
(Sources: hinduism.about.com, ecoworldly.com, organicindia.com, teabenefits.com, indianetzone.com, horizonherbs.com)