Tulsi, Holy Basil – The plant with an auspicious name has medicinal usage extending from reducing ill effects of radiotherapy of cancer to maintaining Brahmacharya – Celibacy.
Tulasi Botanical Name– Ocimum sanctum Linn. , Ocimum tenuiflorum
Family –LAMIACEAE, Labiatae – Tulasi Kula
Table of Contents
Hindi name- Tulsi
English name- Indian Basil/ Holy Basil/ Sacred Basil
Telugu and Marathi & Malayalam name- Tulasi
Kannada name- Sri Tulasi
Tulasi, Tulsi – There is no other herb equivalent to this.
Bhutaghni, Bhutapriya, Bhuteshta, Bhutapati, Apetarakshasi,
Gramya – found in every household
Surasa – having good taste, having juice extract
Sulaghni, Subhaga, Sulabha – auspicious
Surabhi, Svadu Gandha – having good scent
Sumanjari, Bahumanjari – having beautiful inflorescence
Pavani, Devadundubhi, Visnuvallabha, Haripriya – beloved by Lord Vishnu, God.
Bhavaprakasha and Raja Nighantu has reference of two varieties –
Shukla Tulsi – white variety – Ocimum americanum Linn. and
Krishna Tulsi – Black variety – Ocimum sanctum Linn.
Other types of are also used in the name of Holy Basil – Ocimum basilicum and Ocimum gratissimum
Holy basil – Tulasi- Ocimum sanctum
Shurby basil – Phaninjaka – Ocimum gratissmum
Sweet basil – Barbari – Ocimum basillicum
Common basil – Sweta tulsi – Oscimum americanum
Camphor basil – Karpura tulasi – Ocimum camphor
Bush basil – Marubaka – Ocimum minimum
Green basil – Kharapuspa – Ocimm pilosum
Major chemical constituents
Bornyl acete, cadinene, camphene, Camphor, Carvacrol, b-Caryophellene, Eugenol, Eugenol, methyl ether, Humelene, Methyl chavicol, Limonene etc.
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna Vijnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)
Perennial herb with a typical aromatic smell
Stem – Erect, branched, slightly woody, solid, branches covered with hairs
Leaf – Simple, opposite, exstipulate, acute, gland dotted, unicostate reticulate venation
Inflorescence – Verticillaster
Flowers – Pedicellate, bracteate, with 5 sepals and 5 petals
Fruit – Schizocarps
Useful parts – Leaves
Holy Basil Medicinal Properties:
Rasa (taste) – Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter)
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (lightness), Rooksha (dryness), Teekshna – piercing
Vipaka – Katu – Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion
Veerya – Ushna – Hot potency
Effect on Tridosha
Vatahara, Kaphahara – balances Vata and Kapha Dosha
Pittavardhini – increases Pitta dosha
Part used, dosage
Part used– Leaf, Root, Seed, flower.
Dosage– Fresh Juice 10-20 ml, Root decoction50-100 ml, Seed powder 3-6 g.
Can this be continued forever?
Long term usage of herbs or Ayurveda products need approval from your Ayurveda doctor. Any herb or medicine, which can be good for short term, might not be ideal to continue forever. Your doctor will be the right person to decide.
Ocimum sanctum medicinal uses
Kapha Vinashini – balances Kapha dosha, useful to relieve excess sputum production
Krumidosha, Krumihara – Anti microbial, Tulsi plant is one of the best anti viral herbs of Ayurveda.
Ruchikrut – improves taste, relieves anorexia
Agnivardhini, Vahni Deepani – improves digestion strength
Tuvara – astringent
Tikta – bitter
Hrudya – acts as cardiac tonic, congenial for heart, useful to relieve cholesterol deposition in blood vessels.
Dahavardhini – increases burning sensation
Shwasahara – useful in treatment of asthma and chronic respiratory disorders.
Kasahara – useful in cough and cold
Hidhmahara – useful in repeated hiccups
Vamihara – relieves vomiting
Parshvaruk – relieves pain in flanks
Kushta – useful in skin diseases with pain and itchiness
Visha – anti toxic
Kruchra –relieves difficulty in urination
Ashma – useful in kidney and bladder stones
Druk – useful in infectious eye disorders
Bhutahara – useful in psychiatric disorders
As per Bhavaprakasha, both white and black varieties have similar qualities.
Use in diseases
Indian Basil for urticaria, itching: For itching rashes, tulsi leaves are made into paste and applied over the skin.
For sinusitis and headache:
Basil’s fresh leaves are crushed to extract juice. Two drops of this juice is put into both nostrils on empty stomach. This helps to relieve sinusitis related headache.
Tulasi plant for bad breath problem:
Daurgandhyahara – chewing one or two holy basil leaves daily helps to relieve bad breath issue. This is not only due to its good smell, but it also improves digestion. Low digestion is a strong cause for bad breath.
Tulsi for regular smokers – Smokers are prone for respiratory disorders and cancer. For both these, Tulsi is ideal. Related: Smoker’s diet
Tulsi for Brahmacharya – Celibacy –
The spiritual benefits of Tulsi are not without any scientific reason. In ancient times, young child -Bramhachari pupils were given a leaf of Tulsi, each day, in the morning, which would help them follow stringent Brahmacharya.
For those with excessive sexual urge and excessive masturbation habits, it is advisable for them to chew and eat a leaf of Tulsi each day, in the morning, before food. Even a small paste of its root is administered for the same purpose.
Those who cannot get fresh Tulsi leaves, can incorporate Tulsi tea. Taking Tulsi capsule for this purpose can be done, but because it increases Pitta, you will need to talk to your Ayurvedic practitioner before doing so.
Probably for this reason only, Tulsi is not advised for married women, but is given as Prasadam for widows (which would enable them to curb materialistic desires.
Tulsi for anxiety and depression
As per the experimental evaluation conducted by Division of Pharmacology, Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India, ethanol extract of Ocimum sanctum showed diminution in the anxiety response at a dose of 50 mg / kg body weight (Evaluation of ethanol leaf extract of Ocimum sanctum in experimental models of anxiety and depression. Chatterjee M, Verma P, Maurya R, Palit G Pharm Biol. 2011 May; 49(5):477-83.)
Tulsi also improves memory and cognitive functions.
A clinical trial was conducted by Department of Pharmacology, Dr. B.C. Roy Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata, Ocimumn sanctum for its role in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Hamilton’s brief psychiatric rating scale (BPRS) and thorough clinical investigations were used to screen the subjects. The study conducted on 35 patients, with plant extract in a fixed dose regime (500 mg/capsule, twice daily, p.o. after meal). revealed that Tulsi significantly (p<0.001) attenuated generalized anxiety disorders and also attenuated its correlated stress and depression. It further significantly (p<0.001) improved the willingness to adjustment and attention in human. – Reference: Controlled programmed trial of Ocimum sanctum leaf on generalized anxiety disorders, Bhattacharyya D, Sur TK, Jana U, Debnath PK Nepal Med Coll J. 2008 Sep; 10(3):176-9.
Tulsi for hoarse voice and laryngitis:
Crush 8-10 Tulsi (basil) leaves and extract their juice. Mix it with 1 spoon honey and take it.
Take 6-8 Basil leaves along with 2 pepper grains and a pinch of rock salt. Chew them and slowly suck the juice.
Tulsi for tinea cruris and ring worm infection:
Tulsi has anti fungal properties. Take 10 fresh leaves of holy basil and crush to extract juice. Mix a pinch of neem powder or turmeric powder to this and apply over the affected skin area. Do this for 10 days time.
Respiratory support: Tulsi is very effective in the treatment of various respiratory diseases, including chronic and acute bronchitis.
Immunomodulating properties of Tulsi helps against cough. With its antiviral, antibacterial and anti fungal activities, Tulsi helps in the management of respiratory infections. Anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties Tulsi help in the treatment of allergic diseases of the airways.
How to use Tulsi (Holy Basil) for cold and cough in children?
Anti-stress effect: Tulsi increased capacity to cope with stress. Experimental studies show that the extract of Tulsi reduces stress caused by noise.
Antioxidant: Tulasi is a powerful antioxidant.
Immunomodulatory effect: Tulsi extracts stimulate cellular and humoral immunity.
The antimicrobial effect: Tulsi extracts are effective against bacterial strains
An easy way to use Tulsi daily is as follows –
Take tulsi leaves, wash it, dry under sunshade, powder it.
Mix 1 part of Tulsi leaf powder in 10 parts of tea powder.
Use this tea powder to make tea and enjoy. But it is best to avoid adding milk to this Tulsi tea. (find out why, below)
Organic India Tulsi Chai Masala is one such combination
Tulsi herbal tea combinations
Those who are not accustomed to tea, can make a tulsi herbal tea – just with Tulsi and other herbs.
Tulsi with licorice, lemon grass, licorice and ginger is a good combination.
Tulsi Tea benefits:
Any of the above two combinations would carry most of the benefits of Tulsi described above – digestive, immune boosting, good for respiratory health, etc.
Tulsi side effects
Excess use or over-dosage may cause increased burning sensation.
Safe to use in children and during lactation.
Need medical supervision to use during pregnancy.
Effect of Tulsi on hormones and sperm count
An experimental evaluation on male albino rats has revealed decrease in sperm count. Follicle Stimulating Hormone and Leutinizing hormones, with an increase in testosterone levels. (research)
So, do men seeking conception should avoid Tulsi? They may not avoid it totally. They can have, say, Tulsi tea once or twice a week. But men having low sperm count and such other infertility problems may avoid regular use of Tulsi.
High Pitta – People with excessive hunger, burning sensation, bleeding disorders, heavy periods, nasal bleeding, and with Pitta Body type should avoid prolonged use of Tulsi, due to its hot nature.
Tulsi with milk is not ideal:
Milk consumed soon after, or along with Tulsi is a bad food combination. Tulsi being hot and milk being coolant, this combination may cause skin disorders.
Interaction with medicines, supplements
Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.
this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets,
Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.
Holy Basil – Spirituality
Tulsi is worshipped like mother Goddess in Hinduism. Tulsi Sankeertane – A group of neighborhood devotees go to each other’s homes and perform bhajan (devotional songs) with dance and Holy Basil Pooja in the month of Karthika (october-November).
Apart from spreading mutual bonding and also adds spirituality and celebration to the occasion. An ancient, religious way of netflix and chill 🙂 Watch video in our instagram page
Ayurvedic medicines with Tulasi –
Vilwadi Gulika – Famous antiviral medicine of Ayurveda
Tribhuvan Kirti Ras tablet – Tulasi leaf juice extract is used to triturate herbs. – Used in treating fever.
Manasamitra Vatakam – Used in depression, lack of sleep, psychiatric disorders
Maha Jwarankush Ras – used in fever
Muktadi Mahanjan – A collyrium – Kajal preparation used in eye disorders
Mukta Panchamrit Ras – used in fever with cold, cough
3 – 5 Tulsi leaves are soaked in a small cup of water, filtered and the water is consumed. This Tulsi water contains almost all the benefits explained above, but in a diluted, mild form.
Arka in ayurveda is a liquid preparation obtained by the distillation of certain liquids or drugs soaked in water using the Arka yantra or any convenient modern distillation apparatus.
Arka is a liquid preparation obtained by the distillation of certain liquids or drugs soaked in water using the Arka yantra or any convenient modern distillation apparatus.
Tulasi arka is useful in cough, cold, dyspnea, hiccups, and also helps with sore throat, bronchitis, bronchial asthma and malaria. Its regular use will increase the immunity of your body naturally.
Tulsi is a famous Ayurvedic herb used extensively for its anti-viral, anti-tussive properties against cold, cough, allergies, fever etc. (research)
There is a superstition attached to this holy herb that its leaves should not be chewed.
From an Ayurvedic standpoint, this argument does not hold any ground. Master Sharangdhara describes
पीतो मरिचचूर्णेन तुलसीपत्रजो रस: ।द्रोणपुष्पीरसो वापि निहन्ति विषमज्वरान् ॥
pīto maricacūrṇena tulasīpatrajo rasa: |
droṇapuṣpīraso vāpi nihanti viṣamajvarān ||
Sharangdhara Samhita, Madhyama Khanda, Swarasa chapter. He explains, 6 – 12 ml of juice of Holy Basil mixed with 1 – 3 grams of black pepper powder is very beneficial in the treatment of recurrent fevers. So, if Tulsi can be crushed to prepare juice, why can’t it be chewed and consumed?
There is a rumor that if Tusli is chewed, mercury will get into the body. This is also not true. If Tulsi or any herb is contaminated with mercury, no matter how you take it, mercury will enter your body.