Tulsi, the legendary ‘Incomparable one’ of India, is one of the holiest and most cherished of the many healing and health-giving herbs of the Orient.
Tulsi is one such medicinal plant. Commonly this plant is known as “Holy Basil” in English and “Tulsi” in Hindi. Holy Basil is extensively famous and has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic, Unani and Greek medicines owing to its beneficially diverse properties. Tulsi has a significant place in Hindu culture, being used in an array of traditional medicines and as a condiment. The presence of a Tulsi plant symbolizes the religious bend of a Hindu family.
Botanical Name: Ocimum Sanctum.
Tulsi is a bushy plant with a unique fragrance found in semi-tropical and tropical regions of the world. The plant is grown all over India for its medicinal as well as religious purposes in houses, temples, and gardens. Tulsi has been used for thousands of years for its diverse healing properties and is regarded as an "elixir of life" that promotes longevity.
There are three types of Tulsi. 1. a purple-colored leaf or dark variety; Shyama or Krishna Tulsi. 2. a green-colored leaf or light variety; Rama Tulsi or Sri Tulsi, used for worshiping and is more common of the three types. 3. Vana Tulsi (or forest Tulsi), is an Ocimum gratissimum.
Since Ayurveda times, various parts of Tulsi plant such as leaves, roots, seeds and the whole plant has been recommended for treatment of a spectrum of diseases including bronchitis, dysentery, malaria, diarrhea, eye ailments, dermatological issues, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
Its biologically active constituent is known as Eugenol (1-hydroxy-2-methoxy-4-allylbenzene) which is responsible for the mediation of therapeutic characteristics.
Scientifically, it has been proven that O. sanctum possesses anticancer, anti-diabetic, anti-fertility, antifungal, antimicrobial, cardioprotective, analgesic, antispasmodic and adaptogenic, immunomodulatory, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, antiallergic, antipyretic, antiviral, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, CNS depressant and anti-arthritic activities.
The constituents of Ocimum sanctum L. leaf extracts have stimulatory effects on physiological pathways of insulin secretion which may underlie reported antidiabetic action. Oral administration of tulsi extract leads to a marked lowering of blood sugar in normal.
A Researcher found that tulsi decreased the serum concentration of both cortisol and glucose and also exhibited antiperoxidative effect, which may potentially regulate corticosteroid-induced diabetic mellitus.
It has an aldose reductase activity, which may help in reducing the complications of diabetes such as cataracts, retinopathy, etc.
MAIN THING: If you took tulsi in the form of tea regularly it reduces the blood sugar level and protects against complications of diabetes.
Immunity booster and anti-inflammatory activity
Tulsi strengthens the immune response by enhancing both cellular and humoral immunity by boosting the cell-mediated immune responsiveness and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) pathways.
Tulsi has fixed oil and linolenic acid possess significant anti-inflammatory activity against prostaglandin E2, leukotriene and arachidonic acid by virtue of their capacity to block both the lipoxygenase and cyclo-oxygenase pathways of arachidonic acid metabolism.
MAIN THING: Tulsi increases immunity and protects against some inflammatory disease.
Water boiled with tulsi leaves is taken in case of sore throat. For the immediate relief of influenza, the leaves are taken with cloves with common salt.
The leaves of Tulsi are very helpful in curing common cold and fever. Tulsi leaves along with powdered cardamom can be used to bring down the fever.
MAIN THING: Tulsi works as a medicine for some type of fever and respiratory disease.
Tulsi is an antibacterial in the activity. It can be used safely as an intracanal irrigant as compared to sodium hypochlorite. It is bio-friendly and no burning sensations reported to oral tissues.
The antifungal activity of tulsi is due to the action of secondary metabolites like alkaloids, glycosides, saponins, tannins, ascorbic acid, and eugenol, so it fights with oral candidiasis.
The leaves of tulsi act as a modern analgesic as it contains a considerable amount of eugenol which acts as a cyclo-oxygenase inhibitor and gives relief in toothache.
Tulsi is also useful in case of aphthous stomatitis, oral mucosal ulcer, periodontal lesions or disease, etc.
MAIN THING: Tulsi is a very good herb for oral health and so that it is used by many dental product companies as an ingredient in toothpaste, mouthwash, etc.
Tulsi is a calming herb that produces relaxation effects. The psychotherapeutic properties of Tulsi have been explored. However, on its own tulsi does not induce drowsiness or sleep.
Tulsi constituents coumarin and the ocimum sides A and B show antistress activity including normalizing blood sugar levels and cortisol levels.
If a person suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, taking tulsi (500 mg) with two meals daily reduced anxiety and feelings of depression over a two-month period
Tulsi has anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties, with effects comparable to diazepam and antidepressants drugs.
MAIN THING: Tulsi makes you happy and joyful by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Anti Cancer properties
Skin cancer: A number of phytochemicals in tulsi, including eugenol, apigenin, luteolin, and rosmarinic acid, are also protective against chemical- or UV- induced inflammation, damage, and tumor growth.
Oral cancer: Tulsi is an excellent anticancer agent. It decreases the incidence of oral cancer by decreasing the levels of cytokeratin, CK (infiltration), vascular endothelial growth factor, angiogenesis, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, glutathione-s-transferase pi, and antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2 factors, so it prevents oral cancer.
Lung cancer: Phytochemicals contained in tulsi, including carnosic acid, rosmarinic acid, and luteolin are able to inhibit the growth of lung cancer.
Breast cancer: Eugenol (a primary constituent of Tulsi), luteolin, and apigenin killed human breast cancer cells. Carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid were shown to inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells.
Liver cancer: Anti-cancer effects were also observed in liver cells from the tulsi phytochemicals apigenin, luteolin, carnosic acid, and rosmarinic acid.
Stomach cancer: Phytochemicals in tulsi, luteolin, β-sitosterol, ursolic acid, and apigenin also inhibit growth and kill stomach cancers.
MAIN THING: Tulsi has anti-cancer properties, so consuming Tulsi it reduces the chances of cancer.
The fixed oils which contain tulsi are used as a lipid-lowering agent. It normalizes lipids and inhibits the process of Lipid peroxidation whereby, lipids are deteriorated through oxidation. The effect was primarily due to Linoleic acid and Linolenic acid.
Tulsi seed oils make lowers levels of cholesterol, VLDL, and triacylglycerol and enhance HDL cholesterol and total sterol content in fecal matter.
MAIN THING: Tulsi makes you healthy by reducing the extra amount of lipid and make your liver healthy.
Improve Cognitive Function
Tulsi promotes memory and attention by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, thus increasing acetylcholine levels
Tulsi inhibits MMP9 in a cell study, suggesting that it may help to restore Blood-Brain Barrier integrity
A water extract of dried tulsi protected against drug- and aging-induced memory problems indicating that tulsi may be beneficial in the treatment of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
MAIN THING: Tulsi makes you intelligent and increases your ability to recognize.
Control Blood Pressure
Tulsi is rich in potassium (18,991 µg/g), so it may be useful for balancing high blood pressure.
The fatty oil from tulsi seeds has blood pressure-let down (hypotensive) effects.
The tulsi extract/fractions eugenol and tulsi oil inhibit ACE (an enzyme that increases blood pressure) in a concentration-dependent manner and therefore may help to reduce blood pressure.
MAIN THING: Tulsi controls your blood pressure and makes your heart happy and healthy.
Bone healing: A tulsi extract significantly reduced the healing time after a jaw fracture. Tulsi may increase calcium uptake, bone calcification, or enzymes involved in bone remodeling, such as alkaline phosphatase.
Boosts testosterone: Fresh tulsi leaves significantly increased testosterone levels over a 30 day period.
Protects against graying hair: Tulsi increases catalase, the enzyme that breaks down hydrogen peroxide, and therefore may keep hair from graying.
Protects against radiation: Two flavonoids in tulsi, orienting, and vicenin have been shown to protect human blood cells from radiation-induced DNA damage.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of holy basil during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Surgery: Holy basil might slow blood clotting, so there is a concern that it could increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using holy basil at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Toxicity: Depending on the concentration and the amount used, Tulsi can be toxic. You should ingest tulsi under the guidance of a doctor for this reason
Selection and Storage
Select leaves look vibrant and green colored, without any dark spots and patches.
Avoid selecting leaves with holes, as it’s a point of insect damage.
Dried tulsi powder is also available in the market.
It is best to use fresh leaves within a day or two after they have been plucked.
Fresh tulsi leaves clean and wrap them tightly in a plastic film or store in an air-tight container that can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.