Described as the most holy plant on earth in the ancient Vedic texts, Tulsi is still revered today as holier than holy.
For millennia, tulsi has been grown for spiritual purposes in the backyards of most Indian homes. It's branches are carved into beads and worn to enhance spiritual progress. Its fragrance is used to purify temples and the leaves are used in sacred ceremonies to honour God and heighten one’s awareness.
What is not commonly known about the Tulsi plant are its best kept secrets, it’s medicinal value.
It's beneficial properties were originally undiscovered because the plant was so sacred that people wouldn't ingest it out of reverence and respect.
In Ayurveda, this miraculous plant literally heals and links one’s body, mind and spirit.
English name: Holy Basil
Botanical name: Ocimum Sanctum
Also known as: The Queen of Herbs
Adaptogen to Stress
Interestingly, tulsi is both spiritual and medicinal for the same reasons.
Tulsi not only helps protect the body from the degenerative effects of stress but also repairs the body from the damage done.
These are the properties of an adaptogen and tulsi is emerging as one of the world’s finest.
Tulsi treats the body at such a deep level that it steps in before the symptoms arrive, preventing stress from manifesting into disease. There is no doubt that stress is the leading cause of disease and western science is combating this by recommending a daily adaptogen.
Choosing An Adaptogen
While most stress-fighting adaptogens have hidden stimulating properties, few claim the ability to rejuvenate rather than stimulate.
Before choosing your daily adaptogen, take the product before bed. If you cannot sleep after taking it, it may be a stimulant in disguise, (e.g. ginseng) and not a pure enough adaptogen to be taken daily.
Tulsi has rejuvenating properties that boosts energy in the morning and because it is not a stimulant, supports deep restful sleep when taken before bed.
Anti-Bacterial & Anti-Viral
“How can you cure Ebola disease?” someone asked my teacher in a lecture in late 2014, when the largest Ebola epidemic in history was affecting West Africa.
Dr. Padma Raju replied: “Dip Tulsi leaves in hot water and chew, this is what they really need [in Africa] now.”
This is because Tulsi’s specific/special action (“Prabhava’’) is anti-bacterial and anti-viral and that it removes parasites from the gut (“Krimighna”).
Prana & Respiratory Health
This plant is full of Prana. This is why famously it’s principle use is for the respiratory system. Hence, it is great for cough, bronchitis, asthma, immunity and to wane fever.
In Ayurveda, we give Tulsi tea/water as a last resort for a miracle if a disease seems impossible to tackle. We also give it to people before they are about to die to bestow Prana (life-force) in them.
Tulsi's broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, which includes activity against a range of human and animal pathogens, suggests it can be used as a water purifier. Additionally add a small amount of Nirmali Seeds (Strychnos Potatorum) to purify water.
And the List Goes On...
Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-stress, anti-arthtritic agent, tulsi is good for anything! In addition, tulsi has been reported to lower blood pressure, boost immunity, reduce ulcers, treat allergies, cancer, infertility, diabetes and cholesterol.
Studies have shown that tulsi protects healthy cells from the toxicity of radiation and chemotherapy.
As western science continues its investigation, it will be difficult to find a condition that tulsi will not be helpful in. This is why it is the Queen of herbs.
Fresh Is Best - Capture Full Potency
A lot of the really powerful constituents are mainly in the volatile oils like eugenol and ursolic acid.
Volatile oils means the chemicals dissipate out of the air. So to capture these volatile oils (where the full potency of Tulsi resides), it should be ingested hours after harvest or as a special type of extract.
Fresh usage - Dip fresh leaves in some water and chew or brew in a tea.
Alternative to fresh - You can use it as a critical extract as the volatile oils are saved. Use half the formula of extract, plus half of the whole herb.
It is always important to use whole herbs to receive microbes and enhance biochemical intelligence, so the body can properly absorb the full spectrum of these powerful chemicals and in a safe manner (avoiding side effects).
Where Can I Get Tulsi?
Growing and using your own Tulsi is a very rewarding ritual. They say it really tests you a gardener’s devotion because the plant is SO sensitive to all energies and intentions.
Teas - Tea bags are readily available across the globe, go for the original tulsi, not flavoured. I drink Organic India Tulsi if I can't get fresh.
- Rasa (taste): Pungent and Bitter
- Virya (potency): Hot
- Vipaka (post digestive effect): Pungent
- Gunas (quality): Dry and light.
- Doshas: Balances VPK. Increases pitta in excess.