Blog written by: Dr. Anju Balakrishnan
Tulsi is considered the 'Mother of Herbs' and a symbol of Celibacy. It is called Holy Basil or Sacred Basil because it's considered auspicious and has wide therapeutic usage. Ocimun sanctum is the botanically accepted source and belongs to the Lamiaceae family. It is a perennial herb with an erect, branched and slightly woody stem which is covered with hairs. The leaves, flowers, seeds and roots are used for therapeutic purposes.
The word meaning of Tulsi is that there is no other herb equivalent to this. In classics, white (Ocimum americanum) and black (Ocimum sanctum) varieties of Tulsi have been mentioned. More than 6 varieties of Tulsi are available now.
The drug possesses Katu (pungent) and Tiktha (bitter) taste, Laghu (lightness), Ruksha (dryness), and Tikshna (piercing) properties with Ushna (hot) potency. Hence by all these properties, it has Vatakaphahara action (balances vata and kapha dosha) and Pittavardhaka (increases pitta).
It’s composed of chemical constituents like Eugenol, camphene, etc., which is responsible for its typical aromatic smell.
The drug has actions like Kapha vinashini (balances kapha dosha), Krimidosha (antiviral), Ruchikara (enhances the taste), Dipana (improves digestive strength), Hridya (cardiac tonic), Shwasahara (respiratory disorders), Kasahara (cough), Kusta (skin diseases), Visha (anti-toxic) has been mentioned in classics.
Many research studies show the effect of the drug in the diminution of the anxiety response. It has proved anti-stress effect so that it increases the capacity to cope up with day-to-day stress. Tulsi also improves memory and cognitive functions.
Tulsi is very effective in treating various respiratory conditions like bronchitis, sinusitis etc. The drug has proven antiviral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal action. The anti-inflammatory property of the drug treats the airways hence curing respiratory ailments. Immunomodulatory effect of the drug enhances overall immunity. The drug is also beneficial in treating headaches. The anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties of the drug can cure ringworm and other bacterial infections. The skin conditions like itching and rashes can be treated with Tulsi.
Tulsi juice can be taken regularly, or even chewing fresh leaves of tulsi helps maintain the respiratory health of an individual.
If fresh leaves are not available, Tulsi tea can be prepared out of Tulsi leaf powder. Boil 1 glass of water with 1 tsp of tulsi powder and take when it is lukewarm. It can also be prepared by adding other herbs, like dried ginger, according to the conditions. It is also indicated to take tulsi juice along with honey. It enhances immunity, corrects digestive disorders, and is also beneficial for overall respiratory health.
For the conditions like itching, the leaves paste can be prepared and applied externally.
In case of headache, the leaf juice extracted can be instilled at a dose of 2 drops in both nostrils.
The dosage of the drug is most important since higher doses may lead to other conditions. Over usage of the drug can lead to Pitta dosha vitiation, hence, there may be chances of excessive burning sensation. So precautions must be taken by people with pitta body type, bleeding disorders, burning micturition, etc. if you are planning to take it for a longer duration.