Did-you-know when the British came to India they were troubled by the mosquito menace due to which they planted Tulsi and Neem all-around their Bungalows? The British referred to Tulsi as the Mosquito plant.
When we talk about old rules and rituals, we tend to ignore them assuming they won’t help us in today’s scenario. However, if you dive deeper, you will find a scientific reason behind everything.
For example, in the old times, people believed that Tulsi leaves, when kept in the mouth of a dead body, helped to guide the departed soul towards heaven. But the truth is, perhaps Tulsi’s anti-bacterial properties prevent the body from decaying too soon.
Another such example is Henna. Henna is applied to the hands of the bride and groom perhaps for its medicinal values. As per our ancient texts, henna cools down the body temperature and keeps the nerve from becoming tense during the ceremony.
Tulsi is also known as Surasa, bhootaghni , bahumanjiri in Sanskrit, these synonyms represent the particular action and appearance of the herb. Tulsi is an auspicious herb that has a place in almost every Hindu house and is worshipped every day, for its health benefits.
Two varieties of Tulsi are known, namely Krushna Tulsi (Black Tulsi) and Shukla Tulsi (White Tulsi). The use of Krushna Tulsi is usually preferred for medicinal purposes.
The question is how does Tulsi cure diseases and strengthens one’s immunity? Let’s dig deeper to understand the herb and how you can consume it in daily life.
Properties of Tulsi
Effect on Tridosha
Tulsi is katu (pungent) and tikta (bitter) in taste, hot in potency and has Katuvipakie. It has a pungent taste after digestion.
This combination of rasa, veerya, and vipak helps to pacify Vata and Kapha dosha but aggravates pitta dosha. It’s therefore beneficial to use Tulsi in diseases related to Vata and Kapha like cough, cold, and breathing issues like asthma. Individuals with issues related to Pitta or heat, such as acidity, rashes, and abscess should avoid the use of Tulsi.
Tulsi and its Medicinal Use
Tulsi is referred to as a wonder herb, matchless one, and sometimes the holy basil. Considering its effect on diseases, no one can deny these names. Tulsi is thought to be a natural painkiller and a remedy for all bodily problems. In ayurvedic ancient texts, Tulsi can cure long-lasting diseases to never return. Tulsi can be used to eradicate:-
- Fever, cough, cold
- Skin problems like acne, blemishes, wrinkles, blackheads, and pe-mature aging.
- Insect’s bite
- Heart diseases
- Respiratory problems like Bronchitis, Asthma, and allergic cough
There are hundreds of benefits of Tulsi but we are aware of only a few. Let’s throw light on them in our next section – Benefits of Tulsi.
Benefits of Tulsi
Tulsi can treat multiple problems including
Tulsi kindles the digestive fire (Jatharagni), thus facilitates proper digestion of food and also eliminates ama (toxins) from the body. It clears Vata & Kapha from the respiratory and digestive tract and helps in conditions like indigestion, IBS, asthma, excessive cough, bloating, and abdominal pain.
Too much Kapha accumulation, inflammation of gums, and indigestion can lead to bad breath (Halitosis). Gargling with tulsi water, or chewing tulsi leaves help in treating halitosis by reducing inflammation and cleansing the oral cavity.
How to use:
- Use of Tulsi juice taken with honey liquifies the Kapha, induces sweating, curing cough, cold, fever with chills, and headache.
- Warm water medicated with tulsi leaves, dry ginger, and coriander seeds are advised in fever with cough.
Most people complain of hair fall, hair loss, and dandruff. This could be due to genetics, changes in hormones, weather, water, stress, or scalp infections. Hair loss is quite common amidst females between the age group 25 – 50 years old.
Many shampoos, conditioners, and salon spas fail to solve the hair and scalp issues. Tulsi, however, is a non-expensive, herbal, and natural hair fall remedy that not only controls hair loss but also regulates blood circulation in the scalp, enabling a better growth of the hair and a healthy scalp. Tulsi, like henna, keeps the scalp cool, realizing stress and tension.
How to use:
- Mix a handful of Tulsi leaves in your regular hair oil.
- Apply it to your scalp and wait for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Wash with your regular shampoo and conditioner.
Tulsi is a ‘wonder herb’ for those who wish to lose weight naturally. Tulsi has many benefits for people looking to shed that extra weight on their tummy. You might be thinking, how? Well, Tulsi corrects your metabolism, enabling your body to absorb essential oils and nutrients that you get from your food. The lekhan property of Tulsi scrapes off the excess ama and fat stored in our body, helping it to speed up the fat loss process.
This also helps to maintain the cholesterol and sugar levels in the body.
How to use:
- Have at least a cup of tulsi tea twice a day.
- Have Tulsi juice or chew 8-10 leaves daily with 1 tsp honey to see noticeable results.
Tulsi leaves its effect on your skin if eaten or applied on the skin directly. Tulsi leaves are good blood purifiers. Having lekhan (scraping off) action removes the excess Kapha, ama, and other toxins from the blood. This makes it an essential herb for the treatment of skin diseases like eczema, pustules, rashes, ringworm, and other skin infections.
Its anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant and antiseptic properties enhance the skin’s beauty by eliminating blemishes, acne, wrinkles, and blackheads from the skin. This also helps in efficient wound cleansing and healing.
How to use:
- Mix tulsi with milk, keep it for some time and apply it to your face. Use it as a scrub and remove it with normal water. You can also gently massage fresh tulsi juice on the face.
- Cleaning the wound with medicated tulsi water or Triphala decoction helps in disinfection of the wound and faster recovery.
- You can chew 3-4 tulsi leaves daily or consume 1 tsp of tulsi juice.
Excessive Kapha and ama form a favorable place for worms to grow. Tulsi is a natural deforming herb. It not only eliminates all types of worms from the body but also prevents the further formation of new worms. It clears off the Kapha so that the worms are unable to survive.
With properties like deworming it also has a repellent action towards mosquitoes and many other insects.
Longstanding cough accumulation in nasal sinuses can lead to worm infestation and headache, installation of few drops of tulsi juice in nostrils (Nasya) expels out the Kapha and worms thus relieves headache.
Have you ever heard of Tulsi as a stress reliever? Well, it’s one of the most effective ways to control stress. Chewing 10-12 Tulsi leaves helps to release neurotransmitters that regulate hormones responsible for energy and happiness. Apart from chocolate being everyone’s favorite stress reliever, Tulsi is another herb that can release your stress.
How to use:
- Wash the leaves and chew on 10-12 Tulsi leaves.
- Have Tulsi with warm water in the morning daily to see results.
Contrary to the hot potency of tulsi leaves, the seeds of tulsi have a coolant effect. Tulsi seeds are used in recurrent urinary tract infections and painful, burning micturition.
How to use:
- 1 tsp seeds are mixed in a glass of water and sugar and sipped frequently. This facilitates painless urination and also has a coolant effect. It also cures the infection in the tract.
- Tulsi is amongst many herbs that ensure you live a healthy and natural life without harming your body from inside.
Please note: To add tulsi in your daily life, do take Ayurvedic consultation. It can have adverse effects if taken in excessive doses by individuals of Pitta Prakriti, or in pitta disorders.
People also read: 5 Superfoods to Relish this Monsoon