Basil (or Tulsi, as it is well-known in India) has several healing properties and has been of benefit to humans for several years now. The holy basil or the Tulsi is a vital symbol in the Hindu religious tradition in India and is worshipped in the morning and evening by majority of Hindus.
Healing properties of Tulsi: The Tulsi plant has several medicinal properties.
The leaves of the plant are excellent nerve tonic and help sharpen memory. The leaves strengthen the stomach, and induce copious perspiration. They also help in removal of the catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tube.
For common cold and fever: The leaves of the plant are used in treating acute fevers. The leaves are boiled in half a liter of water, and the decoction is extracted. It is consumed after it reaches a lukewarm temperature, by adding milk, cardamom powder or sugar. The juice helps in reducing fever, particularly among children.
For Malaria “ The essential oil of Tulsi has been found to have 100% larvicidal activity against Culex mosquitoes. Trials conducted have revealed the anti-malarial properties of Tulsi. The extracts of the plant have marked insecticidal activity against mosquitoes, and its repellant action stays for nearly two hours.
Therefore, even boiling Tulsi leaves with tea, serves as a preventative measure in protecting from diseases such as dengue and malaria.
For cough: Tulsi is a vital constituent of several Ayurvedic cough syrups and expectorants. It helps mobilize mucus in cases of bronchitis and asthma. Chewing Tulsi leaves also offers relief from common cold. For babies, just licking on a mixture of Tulsi juice and honey will bring quick relief from cough and sore throat.
For sore throat: Boil few Tulsi leaves with water and drink it twice a day. This could also be used for gargling.
For Kidney Stone: In cases of kidney stone, the juice of Tulsi leaves with honey, when taken regularly for six months, will help expel them via the urinary tract.
For constipation: The extract of Tulsi roots, when sweetened with sugar, will help relieve constipation, distension of the stomach, and ensure satisfactory bowel movement.
For Cholesterol: Tulsi has a beneficial effect in cases of cardiac ailments, and helps lower blood cholesterol levels.
For Stress: The Tulsi leaves are excellent anti-stress agents and are considered as ˜adaptogens. Chewing about 10-12 basil leaves twice a day will help prevent stress.
Anti-diabetic: A randomized, placebo-controlled single blind trial, conducted on 40 human volunteers with Type II diabetes, showed that subjects who alternately received a daily dose of 2.5g of Tulsi leaves powder for four weeks, showed 17.6% reduction in fasting blood glucose levels and 7.3% decline in postprandial blood glucose in comparison to glucose levels during treatment with a placebo for the same period.
Blood Pressure: A tonic made by mixing 1 gm of dry Tulsi leaves, with a teaspoon of butter and some honey, when taken twice a day (in the morning and at bed time in the night), will help in maintaining normal blood pressure levels.
Insect Bites: The Tulsi has a healing effect when used as an external application for insect stings or bites. In fact, even snake venom can be de-activated when the mixture of 20 crushed Tulsi leaves with 10 black pepper seeds, are administered every two hours to the victim. The juice can be applied on insect bite area every few hours.
Skin disorders: When applied locally, the basil juice is beneficial in treatment of ringworm and other skin diseases.
Eye disorders: Basil juice is an effective remedy for sore eyes and night-blindness, generally caused by deficiency of Vitamin A.
Mouth ulcers: Infections and mouth ulcers can be effectively treated by chewing on few Tulsi leaves.
Note: Tulsi tea is one of the best ways to include this sacred medicinal herb in daily diet. To make Tulsi tea, infuse the tulsi leaves in hot or boiling water. This process will transfer the antioxidant and adaptogenic properties of tulsi leaves into the tea. The tea can be sipped at any time of the day or night, although a minimum of one cup of Tulsi tea a day could also be beneficial.
The fresh or dried leaves of Tulsi plant can also be used when making salad greens. Add a dash of fresh lime juice and walnuts to remove the sharp taste of Tulsi leaves. This makes a delicious tangy salad.