Dharma Beliefs:

Almost in every house, who believes in Sanatan Dharma, one may found Tulsi (Ocimum Sactum/Holy Basil).  It is basically found in Indian Sub-continent. It is considered a sacred plant. It is also called “Vrinda” in Sanatan Dharma or in Hindu belief Goddess Tulsi is called “Vrinda”. It is regarded as avtar of Lakshmi and thus the consort of God Vishnu.

In ritual worship of Vishnu and his avtars like Krishna & Vithoba, generally it is mandatory to offer the leaves of Tulsi. It is also traditional & cultural, the plant is grown in front of the house or the central courtyard. According to some mythological story, it was said that Tulsi is actually an ardent lover of Krishna whom Radha has cursed to be a plant. Hindus believe that every house that has Tulsi plant is a place of pilgrimage and unnatural death can never enter. Even the withering of Tulsi indicates that some bad is going to happen in the house.

Mythological Story (Religious Views):

According to another Hindu mythological story, a demon named Jalandhar has a wife called Vrinda. Jalandhar penanced and got a boon that he will live till eternity until he loses his Krishna kavach (his armor) and his wife loses her chastity. But when the demon started created havoc in all the three worlds, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva thought of ending up his life. Then Lord Vishnu approached Jalandhar and asked for Krishna kavach which Jalandhar gives off in a weak moment.

Then, Lord Shiva fights with Jalandhar while Lord Vishnu disguises himself as Jalandhar and breaches his wife’s chastity. This breaks the boon he was given and Jalandhar gets killed.

When Vrinda came to know the fact, she hated Lord Shiva for killing her husband. She cursed Vishnu to become a black stone and to stay away from his wife Lakshmi. Feeling betrayed, Vrinda jumps into the ocean and sacrifices her life. Lord Vishnu transforms her soul into a plant and names it as Tulsi.

Lord Vishnu gets turned into Saligrama and the curse of being away from wife gets into reality during Ramavatar. Vishnu in the form of Saligrama is married to Tulsi on Prabodhini Ekadasi which is commemorated as the day of Tulsi Vivah. Later, Tulsi attains a divine status and was blessed to be the dearest of Lord Vishnu. Hence Lord Vishnu is always worshipped with Tulsi leaves.

There is another story, which narrates that the creator God Brahma reside in the branches. All Hindu pilgrimage centres reside in its roots, the Ganges flows within its roots, all deities are in its stem and its leaves, and that the most sacred Hindu texts, the Vedas are found in the upper part of the holy basil’s branches. A person who waters and cares for the Tulsi daily is believed to gain moksha (salvation) and the divine grace of Vishnu, even if he does not worship it. Traditionally, the daily worship and care of the plant is the responsibility of the women of the household. Though daily worship is prescribed, Tuesdays and Fridays are considered especially sacred for Tulsi worship.

According to legend, she was the wife of demon Shankhchud who was killed by Lord Shiva. Hence, offering Tulsi leaves to Shiva is prohibited. It is considered inauspicious to pluck Tulsi leaves on Sundays and Ekadashi. Hence, the practice should be avoided.

Tulsi leaves should not be plucked even after sunlight. It is believed in Sanatan Dharma that if any particular pooja or program is happening anywhere, it is necessary to use the Basil leaves in it or else the pooja is not completed without it. Tulsi plant is considered auspicious in the house. Tulsi or holy Basil is a sacred plant according to Hindu belief.

There is generation of heat energy in the dormant and serene sattvik frequencies present in the Tulsi plant by the touch of women which leads to decrease in its sattvikta (sattva quality). Hence they are prohibited from gathering or plucking the Tulsi leaves.

Though there are such references in certain scriptures that Tulsi plucking can be avoided on Purnima, Amavasya, Dvadashi, Sunday, lunar eclipse, a vaishnava should avoid “Dvadasi day” to pluck Tulsi leaves. So the devotee in order to not to disturb or hurt her, don’t pluck leaves.

Tulsi needs high amount of water. If you water in the morning, the plant dries up by the evening. This happens even when I used plastic pots to reduce evaporation. So disbalance of watering can be a reason of dying.

Tulsi leaves should not be plucked by women

The reason behind this popular belief might just shock you. It is believed that women have a high proportion of raja component when compared to men. There is generation of heat energy in the dormant and serene sattvik frequencies present in the tulsi plant by the touch of women which leads to decrease in its sattvikta (sattva quality). Hence they are prohibited from gathering or plucking the tulsi leaves.

Festivals:

Tulsi Vivah:

A ceremony known as Tulsi Vivah is performed by the Hindus between Prabodhini Ekadashi (eleventh lunar day of the waxing moon of Kartika) to Kartik Poornima (full moon in Kartika), usually on the eleventh or the twelfth lunar day. It is the ceremonial wedding of the Tulsi plant to Vishnu, in the form of his image, Shaligram or a Krishna or Rama image.

In worship of other deities:

Set of Japa mala, made from Tulsi wood, with head bead in foreground.

Vaishnavas traditionally use japa malas (a string of Hindu prayer beads) made from Tulsi stems or roots called Tulsi malas, which are an important symbol of the initiation. Tulsi malas are considered to be auspicious for the wearer, and believed to connect him with Vishnu or Krishna and confer the protection of the deity.

There are conflicting accounts about Tulsi leaves being used in the worship of the God Shiva, a rival sect (Shaiva) God to the Vaishnava Vishnu. While Bael leaves are often offered to Shiva, some authors note that Tulsi may also be offered to him. Tulsi worship is sometimes regarded the worship of Shiva, conveying the deity’s omnipresence. Shiva’s aniconic symbol – the linga – is sometimes prescribed to have made from the black soil from the roots of the Tulsi plant. However, Tulsi is taboo in worship of the Devi – the Hindu Divine Mother as the pungent aroma of the Tulsi plant angers her. It is also important for the worship of Hanuman. In Orissa, the Tulsi plant represents all local deities and rituals to propitiate them are offered in front of the plant. The Nayars of Malabar offer Tulsi plants to pacify evil spirits.

Importance in Sanatna Dharma:

In Srimad Bhagavatam,the significance of the Tulsi over other plants is described as:

Although flowering plants like the mandāra, kunda, kurabaka, utpala, campaka, arṇa, punnāga, nāgakeśara, bakula, lily and pārijāta are full of transcendental fragrance, they are still conscious of the austerities performed by Tulsi, for Tulsi is given special preference by the Lord, who garlands Himself with Tulsi leaves

— Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 4, Chapter 15, Verse 19[19]

Every part of the Tulsi plant is revered and considered sacred. Even the soil around the plant is holy. The Padma Purana declares a person who is cremated with Tulsi twigs in his funeral pyre gains moksha and a place in Vishnu’s abode Vaikuntha.

Kinds of Tulsi:

There are three types of Tulsi described in Hindy mythology. Ocimum tenuiflorum (or Ocimum sanctum L.) includes two botanically and phytochemically distinct cultivars that include Rama or Sri Tulsi (green leaves) and Krishna or Shyama Tulsi (purplish leaves), while Ocimum gratissimum is a third type of Tulsi known as Vana or wild/forest Tulsi (dark green leaves). The different Tulsi types exhibit vast diversity in morphology and phytochemical composition including secondary metabolites, yet they can be distinguished from other Ocimum species by the colour of their yellow pollen, high levels of eugenol, and smaller chromosome number. Despite being distinct species with Ocimum tenuiflorum having six times less DNA than Ocimum gratissimum, they are traditionally used in the same way to treat similar ailments. For consistency, this review uses the term Tulsi to refer to both Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum gratissimum.

Religious Views:

Why no water offered on Sunday?

There is no reason for not watering Tulsi plant on Sunday. Like any other plant, Tulsi is also one. However care needs to be taken to give it only right amount of water. In order to optimise amount of water a practice of weekly off has been introduced.

Often we water it in the evening as well but that is the wrong way of keeping the plant healthy or as per Vastu getting the right benefits of the “Tulsi plant”. Never water the plant in the evening. “Tulsi plant” is a very important for many Indian households.

Tulsi leaves should not be plucked on Sunday

As per the Padma Purana “Any person, who picks Tulsi leaves on Dvadashi, falls into a grievously hellish planet to suffer.”The philosophy behind this is that Tulsi Maharani, the pure devotee of the Lord, observes a fast on these days. So the devotee in order to not to disturb or hurt her, don’t pluck leaves. I am not able to establish much logic here but I assume that this tradition would have came into being to discourage the plucking of leafs for environment purposes.

Divine Tulsi:

In Sanatan Dharma, Tulsi is worshipped as a goddess and every part of the Tulsi plant is revered and considered sacred, including the leaves, stem, flower, root, seeds and oil. Even the surrounding soil, which has recently been found to harbor beneficial endophytic fungi is considered an aspect of the divine. As such, Hindi households are considered incomplete without a Tulsi plant, typically in an ornate earthen pot situated in a courtyard where Tulsi serves both practical and ceremonial purposes. For example, Tulsi’s distinct clove-like aroma arising from its high eugenol content serves to link the householder to the divine while also repelling mosquitoes, flies and other harmful insects. Tulsi is further integrated into daily life through evening and morning rituals and other spiritual and purification practices that can involve ingesting its leaves or consuming Tulsi tea.

In addition to sanctifying the home, Tulsi is used ceremonially in Sanatan Dharma and some Greek Orthodox Churches to create “holy water.” Tulsi wood or seeds are also used to make Tulsi malas, which are strings of beads used to help the mind focus during meditation, chanting and devotional practices and therefore ceremonially connect mind, body and spirit. Tulsi has also been used in cities to combat air pollution and hundreds of thousands of Tulsi plants have been planted around the Taj Mahal in Agra to help protect the iconic marble building from environmental pollution damage.

Tulsi as an Elixir

Tulsi or holy Basil is used in Indian Sub-continent and been used within ayurvedic medicines more than 3000 years. It is an ayurvedic system, It is referred to as an “Elixir of Life” for its healing powers. In the Indian Materia Medica, Tulsi leaf extracts are described for treatment of many diseases like bronchitis, rheumatism, and pyrexia. The juice of leaves has been applied as a drop for ear ache, while the tea infusion has been used for treatment of gastric and hepatic disorders. The roots and stems were also traditionally used to treat mosquito and snake bites and for malaria.

In numerous study, Tulsi leaf having potent pharmacological actions that include adaptogenic, metabolic, immunomodulatory, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, radioprotective, antimicrobial and antidiabetic effects that have been extensively reviewed previously.

Ayurveda and lifestyle medicine:

As a science of life and the world’s oldest medical system, it uses and draws upon India’s incredible biodiversity with a variety that is unsurpassed by any medical system; yet, of all the herbs used, none has a status comparable to Tulsi or holy basil (Ocimum sanctum).

Tulsi: A potent adaptogen:

Tulsi is an aromatic shrub in the basil family Lamiaceae (tribe ocimeae) that is thought to have originated in north central India and now grows native throughout the eastern world tropics.[2] Within Ayurveda, Tulsi is known as “The Incomparable One,” “Mother Medicine of Nature” and “The Queen of Herbs,” and is revered as an “elixir of life” that is without equal for both its medicinal and spiritual properties. Within India, Tulsi has been adopted into spiritual rituals and lifestyle practices that provide a vast array of health benefits that are just beginning to be confirmed by modern science. This emerging science on Tulsi, which reinforces ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, suggests that Tulsi is a tonic for the body, mind and spirit that offers solutions to many modern day health problems.

Tulsi is perhaps one of the best examples of Ayurveda’s holistic lifestyle approach to health. Tulsi tastes hot and bitter and is said to penetrate the deep tissues, dry tissue secretions and normalize kapha and vata. Daily consumption of Tulsi is said to prevent disease, promote general health, wellbeing and longevity and assist in dealing with the stresses of daily life. Tulsi is also credited with giving luster to the complexion, sweetness to the voice and fostering beauty, intelligence, stamina and a calm emotional disposition. In addition to these health-promoting properties, Tulsi is recommended as a treatment for a range of conditions including anxiety, cough, asthma, diarrhea, fever, dysentery, arthritis, eye diseases, otalgia, indigestion, hiccups, vomiting, gastric, cardiac and genitourinary disorders, back pain, skin diseases, ringworm, insect, snake and scorpion bites and malaria.

Considered as a potent adaptogen, Tulsi has a unique combination of pharmacological actions that promote wellbeing and resilience.

The studies reveal that Tulsi has a unique combination of actions that include: Antimicrobial (including antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiprotozoal, antimalarial, anthelmintic), mosquito repellent, anti-diarrheal, anti-oxidant, anti-cataract, anti-inflammatory, chemopreventive, radioprotective, hepato-protective, neuro-protective, cardio-protective, anti-diabetic, anti-hypercholesterolemia, anti-hypertensive, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic, anti-pyretic, anti-allergic, immunomodulatory, central nervous system depressant, memory enhancement, anti-asthmatic, anti-tussive, diaphoretic, anti-thyroid, anti-fertility, anti-ulcer, anti-emetic, anti-spasmodic, anti-arthritic, adaptogenic, anti-stress, anti-cataract, anti-leukodermal and anti-coagulant activities. These pharmacological actions help the body and mind cope with a wide range of chemical, physical, infectious and emotional stresses and restore physiological and psychological function.

Protection and detoxification:

Many of the physiological benefits of Tulsi can be attributed to its ability to assist with the body’s internal housekeeping and protection of the body from toxin-induced damage. These functions are often attributed to Tulsi’s high content of phenolic compounds and anti-oxidant properties, with Krishna Tulsi (black/purple variety) having a higher phenolic content and anti-oxidant capacity than white Vana (wild) Tulsi.

Toxicant stress: Chemicals, heavy metals and radiation:

The ability of Tulsi to protect against the damaging effects of various toxicants has been documented in numerous experimental studies. These studies attest to the ability of Tulsi to prevent liver, kidney and brain injury by protecting against the genetic, immune and cellular damage caused by pesticides, pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals. Thus, Tulsi has been shown to protect against the toxic effects of industrial chemicals such as butylparaben, carbon tetrachloride, copper sulfate and ethanol, and common pesticides such as rogor, chlorpyrifos, endosulfan and lindane. Tulsi has also been shown to protect against the toxic effects of many pharmaceuticals drugs including acetaminophen, meloxicam, paracetamol, haloperidol and anti-tubercular drugs.

In addition to protecting against toxic chemicals, Tulsi has also been shown to protect against the toxic effects of heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium and mercury and the toxic effects of radiation. Tulsi exerts its radio-protective effects by scavenging free radicals and reducing the oxidative cellular and chromosomal damage induced by radiation, thereby reducing organ damage and enhancing postradiation survival in experimental animals.

Physical stress:

The actions that protect against the toxic effects of chemicals and radiation also help to address the toxic effects of many physical stressors. Prolonged physical exertion, physical restraint, exposure to cold and excessive noise disturb homeostasis by inducing physiological and metabolic stress.

Metabolic stress:

Metabolic stress due to poor diet, low physical activity and psychological stress is a prominent feature of modern lifestyles and “metabolic syndrome” is estimated to affect as much as one-third of modern populations. Metabolic syndrome, also known as “prediabetes” or “Syndrome X,” includes the “deadly quartet” of centripetal obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and poor glucose regulation and is associated with chronic inflammation and a greater risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. While the exact causes of metabolic syndrome are still being debated, there is evidence to suggest that Tulsi can assist in dealing with many features of metabolic syndrome and their consequences.

Numerous test tube and animal experiments as well as human clinical trials have shown that Tulsi has anti-diabetic activity. Studies using diabetic laboratory animals have shown that Tulsi can reduce blood glucose, correct abnormal lipid profiles and protect the liver and kidneys from the metabolic damage caused by high glucose levels. Tulsi has also been shown to improve lipid profiles, prevent weight gain, hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, hypertriglyceridemia and insulin resistance and protect the organs and blood vessels from atherosclerosis in laboratory animals fed high-fat diets. Similarly, in human clinical trials, Tulsi has shown to decrease glucose levels, improve blood pressure and lipid profiles and reduce many diabetic symptoms in patients with type 2 diabetes. The beneficial metabolic effects of Tulsi are multiple and include protecting the liver, kidneysand pancreatic islet cells from free radical damage; enhancing liver bile acid synthesis and reducing liver lipid synthesis; enhancing insulin secretion and action; lowering cortisol levels; and reducing inflammation. The anti-inflammatory action of Tulsi, which has been observed in both acute and chronic inflammatory models in animals is attributed to Tulsi’s eugenol and linoleic acid content and the inhibition of both the cyclooxygenase and the lipoxygenase pathways of arachidonic acid metabolism. This enables Tulsi to exert anti-inflammatory effects comparable to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone,[68] ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin[69] and indomethacin.

Infection protection:

Modern research has revealed that Tulsi has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activity that includes activity against many pathogens responsible for human infections. Tulsi has also been shown to boost defenses against infective threats by enhancing immune responses in non stressed and stressed animals and healthy humans.  While no human trials have been published, there is experimental evidence that Tulsi may help in the treatment of various human bacterial infections including urinary tract infections, skin and wound infections, typhoid fever, cholera, tuberculosis, gonorrhea,acne, herpes simplex, leishmaniasis, various pneumonias and fungal infections as well as mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria and filariasis.

Tulsi’s broad-spectrum activity, which includes activity against Streptococcus mutans, the organism responsible for tooth decay, further suggests that it can be used as a herbal mouth wash for treating bad breath, gum disease and mouth ulcers. This has been confirmed in clinical trials that have demonstrated that rinsing with Tulsi is as effective as 0.2{551c903f756d5bf12b7d58e2eb1e8b74af35058efa7a05d3e7b41e9147979503} Chlorhexidine and Listerine in reducing the levels of Streptococcus mutans and that a herbal mouthwash that includes Tulsi is preferred for its taste and convenience.

Tulsi’s unique combination of antibacterial antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities also makes it useful in wound healing. This is supported by experimental evidence that has shown that Tulsi can increase wound-breaking strength and accelerate wound healing in laboratory animals. Tulsi has also been shown to have anti-ulcer and ulcer-healing activity that has been observed in many different animal models including aspirin-, indomethacin-, alcohol-, histamine-, reserpine-, serotonin-, acetic acid-, meloxicam-, cold restraint-, pyloric ligation- and stress-induced ulceration models. This anti-ulcer activity is attributed to multiple actions including the reduction of offensive factors such as acid-pepsin secretion and lipid peroxidation and the enhancement of gastric defensive factors such as mucin secretion, cellular mucus and longevity of mucosal cells.

Mental stress:

In addition to physical, toxic and infective stress, modern living is associated with heightened levels of psychological stress caused by the many demands and fast pace of modern life. This stress compounds the toxic effects of chemical pollutants and the constant fear of pervasive toxic chemicals can itself lead to even further stress and anxiety that may be just as toxic as the chemicals causing it. While the reality of daily chemical exposure cannot be denied, regular consumption of Tulsi not only helps protect and detoxify the body’s cells and organs, it can also help reduce toxic stress by relaxing and calming the mind and offering many psychological benefits including anti-depressant activity and positive effects on memory and cognitive function.

The psychotherapeutic properties of Tulsi have been explored in various animal experiments that reveal that Tulsi has anti-anxiety and anti-depressant properties, with effects comparable to diazepam and antidepressants drugs. Animal studies further reveal that Tulsi enhances memory and cognitive function and protects against aging-induced memory deficits.  Similarly, in human studies, Tulsi has been observed to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, with a 6-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study reporting that Tulsi significantly improves general stress scores, sexual and sleep problems and symptoms such as forgetfulness and exhaustion.

While modern scientific studies suggest that Tulsi is effective in treating a range of stressful conditions, within Ayurveda, Tulsi is more commonly recommended as a preventive measure to enhance the ability to adapt to both psychological and physical stress and therefore prevent the development of stress-related diseases. To this end, many Ayurvedic practitioners recommend the regular consumption of Tulsi tea as an essential lifestyle practice.

Nature nurture:

The cultivation and reverence for the Tulsi plant in the home not only serves specific religious purposes it also directly connects the devotee with the creative power of nature. Connection with nature is profoundly healing and life-affirming; yet, the potential health, emotional, social and cognitive benefits of connection with nature are only just being realized in the west where disconnection from nature and “nature deficit” are common. A review of the scientific literature on the health benefits of connection to nature suggest that “access to nature plays a vital role in human health, wellbeing and development that has not been fully recognized and there is now a global movement to reconnect people with nature that has arisen out of concerns over nature deficit, sedentary lifestyles, obesity, mental health issues, excessive use of electronic media, environmental degradation, wildlife conservation, sustainability and climate change.

Tulsi as a vehicle of consciousness:

Perhaps one of the greatest of Tulsi’s benefits in the modern world comes from its global distribution based on its cultivation using ethical, fair trade, organic and ecological farming practices. There is a growing realization that in order to tackle issues of food security, rural poverty, hunger, environmental degradation and climate change a shift in agriculture is needed from a “green revolution” to an “ecological intensification revolution. This has been highlighted in a recent United Nations document titled “Wake Up Before It’s Too Late,” which calls for the global community to endorse and advocate for local solutions to toxicity, food insecurity and poverty, such as the use of organic and small-scale farming over the use of genetically modified organisms and monocultures. While ecological farming methods are not specific to Tulsi, they have been effectively applied to Tulsi cultivation by Organic India Pvt. Ltd. This company, which was established as a “vehicle of consciousness,” works with thousands of organic Tulsi farmers in India to produce a business ecology whereby rural Indian farmers gain their dignity and a healthy and sustainable livelihood while serving to nurture the land they live on and produce a range of teas that enable consumers around the world to access the benefits of Tulsi.

Modern day scientific research into Tulsi demonstrates the many psychological and physiological benefits from consuming Tulsi and provides a testament to the wisdom inherent in Hinduism and Ayurveda, which celebrates Tulsi as a plant that can be worshipped, ingested, made into tea and used for medicinal and spiritual purposes within daily life. In providing a focus for ethical, sustainable and ecological farming practices that provides a livelihood for thousands of farmers, the cultivation of Tulsi goes beyond providing benefits for individuals and households and begins to address broader social, economic and environmental issues.

A Herbal Remedy:

According to Jeevan Kulkarni, author of ‘Historical Truths & Untruths Exposed,’ when Hindu women worship Tulsi, they in effect pray for “less and less carbonic acid and more and more oxygen – a perfect object lesson in sanitation, art and religion”. The Tulsi plant is even known to purify or de-pollute the atmosphere. Tulsi used to be a universal remedy in cases of malarial fever.

Medicinal Value of Tulsi:

Apart from religious value, the Tulsi has many medicinal properties making it a sacred plant. Tulsi has been mentioned in Charaka Samhita, an ancient book of ayurveda. It proves that Tulsi has been used in many medicines since thousands of years. Cold, headache, heart disease, stomach infections can be cured by having an extract of Tulsi. It acts as a pain killer. Almost all the ayurvedic cough syrups contain Tulsi as an important ingredient, as it helps in lessening bronchitis. Tulsi reduces blood glucose levels and so is an effective herb for diabetes. Radiation poisoning as well as cataract can also be cured to certain extent by having Tulsi extract. Tulsi acts as a stress reliever by balancing various body processes. It promotes longevity.Tulsi leaves are beneficial for nervous system and help in enhancing memory.Tulsi helps in strengthening kidney. Drink juice of Tulsi leaves mixed in honey for six months in case of renal stones. This will expel these stones through urinary tract. Mouth ulcers and infections can be cured with Tulsi. Tulsi is also 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 parts. Owing to immense medicinal value, Tulsi is considered a sacred plant in India.

Home Remedies:

Tulsi can rightly be termed as one of the most commonly and widely used ingredients in many Indian home remedies. From regular fever to some of the deadliest and most fatal bacterial and viral infections – Tulsi can help cure or to some extent, facilitate treating most diseases.  Dr. Simran Saini from New Delhi suggests consuming a drink made by boiling Tulsi leaves and adding about 2grams of black pepper to it. This drink helps in building your immunity, acts as an antibacterial element and facilitates recovery from dengue. The quintessential kadha – a mix of ginger, Tulsi leaves, peppercorn (crushed) in boiling hot water – is usually seen as a potion that can put most illnesses straight. Apart from these there is a bundle of other beneficial properties that this humble plant boasts of, take a look-

1. It acts as a detoxifying, cleansing and purifying agent – both from within and without.

2. Therefore it is good for skin – both when consumed and applied topically.

3. It is also effective in treating skin disorders, itching and issues like ringworms.

4. It can be made into teas or can be had raw, powdered, paste or in form herbal supplements.

5. It has antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties.

6. It helps in relieving from fever, headache, sore throat, cold, cough, flu and chest congestion.

7. It is also beneficial in treating respiratory ailments like chronic bronchitis, asthma et cetera.

8. Helps relieve stress, strengthen immunity, and facilitate proper digestion.

9. It is loaded with phytonutrients, essential oils, Vitamin A and C

10. Regular Tulsi consumption can also aid in balancing various bodily processes.

11. It counters elevated blood sugar levels and is therefore beneficial for diabetics.

12. It helps in regulating uric acid levels in body, thereby elimination risks of developing kidney stones. It is also beneficial for those who have kidney stones.

13. According to the Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India, Tulsi can help in maintaining normal levels of the stress hormone – cortisol in the body.

14. It can wards off harmful effects of free radicals.

15. Is great for dental health and for healthy gums.

16. Is an effective insect repellant and can aid in treating insect bite.

17. Is also beneficial in treating conditions like hepatitis, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue and swine flu.

18. It is also known as adaptogen.

How and When to Grow?

Tulsi plant grows in rich and moist soil with ample sunlight. You can begin by planting it just a few centimeters below the soil with a light cover of dirt. Let it grow indoors till it’s about 6-7 inch tall, after which the plant can be transferred outdoors. Tulsi should be planted right before monsoon, under intense heat.

How to Consume?

Consume it raw, plucked fresh from the plant, add it in your tea or make kadha out of it. Apart from the conventional ways of consuming the humble, holy basil, you can experiment with it in your cooking and render an exquisite, earthy, aromatic flavour to your preparations. To begin with, we bring to you one of the most basic and widely loved delicacies prepared using Tulsi leaves.

Why We Should Not Chew Tulsi Leaves:

It is said that Tulsi is a sacred plant and must be grown up in aangan or country yard, watered carefully and worship by the family members. It is discussed above that it has besides religious significance various medical qualities not in ayurveda, but also in herbal & home remedies. It is natural antibiotic. It is also often recommended to start your day by having two to three fresh Tulsi leaves on an empty stomach, as explained earlier. It is a great blood purifier and is known to flush out toxins and clean your internal systems. Along with this comes the advice to not chew Tulsi leaves but instead swallow them.

If we look at it from the religious context, some people believe that chewing Tulsi leaves is disrespectful as Tulsi was also the name of Lord Vishnu’s (one of the three main Gods in Hinduism) wife and therefore, the plant is worshiped and considered sacred. But that’s not all, there is a scientific side to this too which suggests that it is best to swallow Tulsi leaves.

Medically it is not to be chewed because of the fact that it contains mercury & iron, which are released on chewing. These minerals are known to damage the teeth & causes discoloration. The leaves are also slightly acidic in nature and since, the environment in our mouth is alkaline, it may cause the tooth enamel to wear away if consumed regularly in very large quantities. Usually, fresh juice extracted from Tulsi leaves are used as a home remedy for mouth ulcer. But it is still advised to avoid chewing raw Tulsi leaves because it contains mercury & iron, which can lead to tanning of teeth.

In nut shell, the research-based benefits of Tulsi are:

Natural Immunity Booster

Reduces Fever (antipyretic) & Pain(analgesic)

Reduces Cold, Cough & Other Respiratory Disorders

Reduces Stress & Blood Pressure

Anti-cancer properties

Good for Heart Health

Good for Diabetes Patients

Useful in Kidney stones & Gouty Arthritis

Useful in Gastrointestinal Disorders

Good for Skin & Hair

Acts as an Insect Repellent

There are some side effects of consuming Tulsi. These are as follows:

Tulsi may affect the reproductive capacity of women who are trying to conceive.

Some people experience nausea or diarrhoea when they first add Tulsi tea to their diet, so its best to start with small quantities and increase your consumption over time.

Tulsi may lower blood sugar and should be used with caution in people who have diabetes and are on blood-sugar-lowering medication.

Nutritional Value:

Tulsi leaves are rich in vitamins A, C and K and minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and potassium. It also has a good amount of protein and fibre.

Adding holy basil to your self-care:

Supplements of holy basil extract are available in pill or capsule form. The suggested dosage ranges from 300 mg to 2,000 mg per day for general preventative purposes. When used as a treatment, the recommended dosage is 600 mg to 1,800 mg taken in multiple doses throughout the day. All parts of the plant might be used in supplements and topical ointments. Essential oil of holy basil is distilled from leaves and flowers of the plant.

One can also make holy basil tea using the leaves, flowers, or dried leaf powder. The herb can also be used to make freshly brewed tea by placing 2–3 teaspoons of holy basil in a cup of boiling water and letting it steep for 5–6 minutes. The leaves are also commonly used in cooking, though some people eat the leaves raw. Holy basil tastes spicy and bitter.

In brief Tulsi (Ocimum Sactum / Holy Basil) has religious significance as per ancestral theories and used by our Santan Dharma ancestors, since centuries and also even now besides religious values, it has scientific medical values and benefits too, which are proven by Science.

Therefore, it is in my candid opinion that one should use Tulsi not only because it has religious faith, but also due to good health & other benefits.

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