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Why is tulsi (Holy Basil) So Sacred and Famous?

Tulsi, which is also famous as “The Holy Basil” or “Indian Basil” (Botanical Name – Ocimum Sanctum), is one of the most valued and worshiped plants or herbs, especially in India. Owing to its endless medicinal, miraculous, and divine properties, Tulsi is often referred to as the Queen of Herbs, or A Magical Herb, and a holy plant by many religions, especially including the Hinduism. For thousands of years, this magnificent herb has been widely used in numerous Ayurvedic and Naturopathic medicines; besides its leaves, its flowers, seeds, and roots are also used in medicinal preparations. In Ayurveda, the ancient and traditional Indian system of medicines, Tulsi is regarded as being a prime herb with great holistic and medicinal properties. Even the very name “Tulsi” connotes “the incomparable one”. This concise but highly informative blog elucidates the medicinal and religious values of tulsi, to help Indian and global people, and strives to give convincing answer to the common question “why is tulsi (holy basil) so sacred and famous?”.

Tulsi is an immensely respected and common plant in Indian households, especially in Hindu families, owing to the great medicinal and divine properties of this plant. The medicinal values of tulsi are separately enumerated in the lower section. As far as the mythological and religious aspects are concerned, the following are some of the most common and well-advised conceptions and practices. Out of the two most common and domesticated types of tulsi, the most prevalent one amid Hindu families is the Krishna or Shyama Tulsi (illustrated below) for medicinal uses and worship. The presence of a tulsi plant anywhere within the home premises, symbolizes the religious bent of a Hindu family. Numerous Hindu religious traditions, rituals, and ceremonies employ tulsi as an essential element since ancient times. It is strongly believed that the holy basil is one of the most favorite things to Lord Vishnu. In Hindu Mythology, only after the completion of a ceremony called as 'Tulsi Vivaha', the annual marriage season in India starts. Again, Hindus believe that Tulsi plant alone is potent enough to protect the whole family from various infections and evils, and for bringing good luck and prosperity.

Major Medicinal Uses of Tulsi

Possessing a strong aroma and a stringent taste, the indian basil or tulsi, is rather opulent in respect of medicinal properties. The two most domesticated sub-types of Tulsi (Indian Basil) are the Krishna/Shyama Tulsi (with Purple leaves) and the Rama Tulsi (with Green leaves; also called as Shri Tulsi). Ayurveda uses both these varieties of Indian Basil; however, the krishna tulsi is believed to possess greater medicinal properties. The pivotal, key, and most significant medicinal properties of tulsi fall broadly into the categories of the following --- antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant, germicidal, disinfectant, anti-aging, anticancer, antipyretic, etc. These great and miraculous properties of tulsi (especially the leaves), are due to the presence of the following compounds and antioxidants --- Vitamin-C, Camphene, Eugenol, Cineole, Acetic Acid, Carvacrol, Vitamin-A, Methyl Chavicol, Caryophyllene, etc. The following are the major and most common medicinal and therapeutic uses of tulsi, particularly in the aurvedic and naturopathic systems in India and abroad:

  • Helpful in Curing almost all types of Fever: Due to possessing highly potent anti-bacterial, antibiotic, germicidal, and fungicidal properties, the leaves of Tulsi are very helpful in alleviating or curing almost all types of fevers. Hence, Tulsi leaves or juice of these should be used by the patient, besides taking the prescribed medicines by the doctor.
  • Good for Oral and Dental Care: Almost 99% of the germs and bacteria possible in the mouth are destroyed through leaves of tulsi. Consequently, chewing leaves of tulsi or its juice/oil, makes the mouth and teeth free from ulcers, infections, cancer, dental cavities, plaque, pyorrhea, bad breath, tartar, weakness of gums, etc. One may use powdered leaves of tulsi mixed with mustard oil, as toothpaste.
  • Helpful in Cure and Prevention of various Diseases and Ailments: Headaches, Cold and Cough, Infections, Cancers, Tumors, Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Stress related ailments, Skin diseases, Heart problems & diseases, Respiratory disorders, Pains, Inflammations, Lung disorders, Asthma, Leucoderma, Measles, Malaria, Mumps, Rheumatism, Nausea, Septic, Urinary and Genital Infections, and ailments and disorders related with various organs of the whole body, including destroying worms in stomach.
  • Beats Stresses and Pains: Leaves of Tulsi do possess adaptogen (stress relieving) properties along with pain-killing properties. Hence, leaves or juice of Tulsi help(s) in soothing the nerves, lowering the blood pressure and in regulating blood circulation, in beating the damaging effects of free radicals, and thus, in reducing inflammation/pains and stresses in the body. For beating stresses of daily life, it is suggested that one should consume 10-12 leaves of Tulsi every day.
  • Dissolves Kidney Stones: Being a great detoxifier, an effective pain-killer, and a mild diuretic, Tulsi is also very effective in easy dissolution of kidney stones, and expelling the same painlessly through the urinary tract. It is because, the compounds found in the leaves of Tulsi help in reducing the levels of uric acid in the blood and in cleansing the kidneys; the excess uric acid in the blood is conducive to the formation of kidney stones. To relieve kidney stones, one should take a mixture of the juice of Tulsi leaves and honey, everyday, for about six months regularly.
  • Treatment for Insect Bites and Stings: The prophylactic properties of Tulsi leaves are very supportive for curing bites and stings of insects. For this purpose, the affected areas must be fed with a teaspoonful of juice taken from fresh leaves of Tulsi, regularly after few hours. A paste of the fresh roots of Tulsi may instead be applied on the affected areas.
  • Eye and Skin Care: Washing eyes with the cool water in which few leaves of Tulsi were soaked sometime prior, is very effective for making these free of infections, and also for protecting eyes from cataracts, glaucoma, vision defects, ophthalmia, macular degeneration, etc. The bathwater processed such a way, is very expedient for keeping the skin of the whole body free from diverse infections or skin diseases (rashes, ring worm, lucoderma, etc.). Again, a smooth paste of tulsi leaves on skin rashes, acne, pimples, wounds, etc., is immensely useful for curing the same. Consuming few leaves of Tulsi everyday, is potent enough to keep your body free from various infections. Moreover, regular consumption of raw leaves of tulsi, or use of the essential oil of tulsi leaves on skin, is able to make your skin oil-balanced, immune to skin diseases, and glowing healthily.
  • Boosts Stamina and Immunity: By dint of possessing the above-mentioned compounds, the leaves of Tulsi are truly great and invaluable for impregnability of the whole body to infections and diseases, well-rounded health, and even longevity of life. Tulsi protects the body from nearly all types of infections caused either by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or protozoa. Again, compounds found in leaves of tulsi avert all the damages to be caused by the free radicals. Again, tulsi leaves not only purify blood, but reduce also the blood sugar and blood cholesterol. The seeds of tulsi are helpful in preventing premature ejaculation. Tulsi juice is also effective in preventing the growth of HIV and carcinogenic cells. Also, according to the traditional Indian system of medicines called Ayurveda, leaves of tulsi serve as a nerve tonic, prevent premature aging, and sharpen memory.
  • Keeps Wounds free of Infections: One of the easiest measures for keeping the wounds free of infections is applying on those, the paste of fresh leaves of Tulsi, everyday. Again, leaves of tulsi may also be used for repelling the harmful insects, such as mosquitoes, and for germ-free storage of gains.
  • Keeps the Surrounding Atmosphere Free of Insects, Germs, and Infections: All the atmosphere and environs surrounding a tulsi plant, are bound to remain immaculately clear of any infections, germs, pollution, and unhealthy airs. Hence, going near to a tulsi plant, and walking and breathing naturally in the surrounding areas, are health-giving, for sure. Again, Tulsi works as a very effective repellent to mosquitoes, flies, and other harmful insects.