Indian Herbs: TULASI –HOLY BASIL

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Indian Herbs: TULASI –HOLY BASIL

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Practitioners of Ayurveda medicine prescribe remedies on the basis of their attributes /quality. Which are twenty in number, such as slow/sharp, oily/dry, cold/hot, slimy/rough, dense/liquid, soft/hard, static/mobile, subtle/gross, thick/clear, and heavy/light. The other aspects of classification of herbs are according to six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Taste is a therapeutic agent in Ayurveda. The diseases can be addressed through Ayurveda
based on healthy lifestyle practices and regular consumption of adapt genic herbs.

Plants and herbs re-establish our connection with the natural world. As we become competent in our understanding of Ayurveda Herbalism we deepen our relationship with ourselves, as well as with the natural world out side. Our relationship with the Earth, through the healing herbs itself is a remarkable healing experience. The significance of Ayurveda tradition is proven by its timelessness itself, where it presents practical guidelines for healthy living and illuminates the simple path to walk through life in accordance with the cycle of nature, and hence enhances the well-being and harmony of all human being who brings these practices in their life. Many simple herbs make positive difference in this aspect which are easily available around us. Among these herbs, tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn) is a leading herb and scientific research is now confirming its beneficial effects.

Modern day scientific research into tulsi demonstrates many of its benefits. Tulsi can be ingested, made into tea and can be used for many purposes in daily life.

Tulsi has been found to protect organs and tissues against physical stress from prolonged physical exertion, physical restraint and exposure to cold. It counters metabolic stress through normalization of blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels and psychological stress through positive effects on memory and cognitive function and through its anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties. Tulsi has broad-spectrum action as antimicrobial and, it can be used as a hand sanitizer, mouthwash and water purifier as well as in animal rearing, wound healing, in the preservation of food stuffs and herbal raw materials.

It is considered as the holy plant in the Indian Subcontinent The stems, leaves, seeds and even the soil are considered as holy and medicinal.

Tulsi symbolises purity as it is known to purify or depollute the atmosphere and subsequently acts as a repellent to mosquitoes, flies and other harmful insects.

Botanical Information:

Tulsa is found throughout the semitropical and tropical parts of India as it grows wild in tropics and warm regions.it is widely grown in the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and Sasangir National Park in India. Tulsi seeds germinate easily. The seeds are mainly sown in the spring season.

Tulsi is identified by botanists primarily as Ocimum sanctum (Krishna Tulsi variety). Belonging to the Lamiaceae/Labiatae mint family, other closely related species and varieties (e.g., Ocimum canum) are cousins. Within India, all of the basils are honoured as Tulsi.

Basils are native to tropical Asia, likely having originated in India. Robust Tulsi varieties readily grow wild in many areas of Asia and Africa. Tulsi is a bushy perennial shrub, usually cultivated annually from seed, although it can also be propagated from tip or root cuttings.

Phytochemicals:

Active compounds that have been identified and extracted are eugenol (an essential oil) and ursolic acid. Although Tulsi is known as a general vitalizer and increases physical endurance, it contains no caffeine or other stimulants.

Benefits of Tulsi:

Tulsi leaves, stem, flower, root, seeds and oil even the surrounding soil, which has recently been found to harbor beneficial endophytic fungi are all medicinally useful.

The research provides impressive evidence that, Tulsi protects and reduces stress, enhances stamina and increases the body's efficient use of oxygen, boosts the immune system, slows aging, and provides a rich supply of antioxidants and other nutrients. The data indicate that Tulsi reduces inflammation, prevents gastric ulcers, protects against radiation, lowers fevers, cholesterol and high blood pressure, enhances periodontal health, displays significant natural antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity, improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients, and even repels mosquitoes and other potentially harmful insects. It would appear that Tulsi provides preventative and curative potential

Ayurveda classics mentions,

Juice of its leaves gives relief in cold, fever, bronchitis and cough. It is an effective remedy for acute Respiratory disorders. Used against the insects and bacteria. In non healing ulcers as wound wash or wound applicant and used as repellent for external germs. Used against indigestion, it is a potent antioxidant; powder is used for treating mouth ulcers. Local application of basil juice is beneficial in the treatment of skin disorders. Used as eyewash. Diarrhoea and vomiting respond favourably to the juice of basil leaves.

External effects:

It acts as germicidal, aromatic, energizer, and anti oedematous.

It is used as an external application in non healing ulcer, oedema and pain.

Internal effects:

Digestive system-appetizer, carminative, helps in downward movement of vata and acts as anthelminthic. Hence administered in Indigestion, vomiting, abdominal colicky pain, worm infestation and the seeds are used in diarrhoea.

Cardiovascular system: acts as cardiac stimulant, blood purifier, anti oedematous and hence administered in cardiac muscle weakness, haematological disorders and in oedema

Respiratory system: Rhinitis, cold and cough,

Urinary system: seeds are used as diuretic and administered in pyuria, dysuria, burning micturition, cystitis.

Integumentary system: acts as deodorant used in dermatological conditions,

Thermoregulatory system: antipyretic, help subside intermittent fever.

Grandma remedy:

1. Tulsi leaves, poppy seeds (khas khas) and yastimadhu (licorice) ground in equal quantity then taken with an equal quantity of sugar in warm water is helpful in dry cough and sore throat.

2. Tulsi leaves are taken along with pepper and salt for sores throat, cough etc.

3. A hot mixture of tulsi, dry ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf, and black pepper prepared in water can help chronic cold.

4. Oil prepared with tulsi and other herbs like black pepper, sindhav lavana, dry ginger, drumstick seeds and bitter gourd can be put in the nostrils to ease breathing ailments.

5. Consumed as the Tulsi tea

Tulsi tea:

In a cup of water, put few dried Tulsi leaves along with a pinch of cumin seeds. Filter the decoction, add honey when decoction is luke warm. Alternatively, lemon juice can also be added to this. Regular consumption may help to detoxify the skin.

The general vitality-enhancing property of tulsi supports and enhances the body's natural capacity to maintain a state of well-being,

According to the ancient Indian scripture, Tulsi is honoured as the one who helps in bringing people closer to the divine or the universe.

– “This article was Published in AyurvedSutra magazine- Monsoon edition, Volume 3 , issue— 11-12 “

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