Holy Basil, or Tulsi, holds the most supreme place among the various medicinal herbs in India, perhaps next to Lotus.
The ancient scriptures describe it as protector of life accompanying human being from birth up till death. There are innumerable references of Tulsi in Indian mythology. The ancient Ayurvedic scriptures mentioned the plant in the management of several diseases. The plant has a purifying influence by liberating ozone and also repels mosquitoes.
Its healing properties are so well established that most people in India grow it in courtyards and it is traditionally worshipped daily in a ritual for the well being of the family.
The botanists have given Tulsi ( holy sacred basil) the Latin name Ocimum sanctum. The species means both green leafed Rama Tulsi and purple leafed Krishna Tulsi. More recently Ocimum has also been known by Ocimum tenuiflorum meaning “ basil with smaller flowers. “
The seeds, leaves and roots of Holy Basil have a great medicinal value. It is used both internally and externally. Holy basil has mild antiseptic and analgesic properties and relieves swelling. The leaves when chewed mitigate the infection of the gums. Instillation of fresh juice of the leaves into ears is an effective domestic remedy for ear aches.
A tea made with leaves of holy basil is a common remedy for cold, cough and mild indigestion. The ancient texts of Ayurveda describe multiple use of Holy Basil in treating impotence, poisoning, dyspnoea, coughs and halitosis, backaches, respiratory diseases and arthritis.
Holy basil is traditionally used in many Ayurvedic preparations as a blood purifier in the diseases of blood and heart. It is an immuno-modulator and anti-microbial remedy with strong background for reducing toxicity.
Holy Basil has specified actions on the respiratory system. It effectively liquefies the phelm due to its hot and sharp attributes. Holy Basil is an effective panacea for cough due to allergic bronchitis asthma and eosinophilia. Since time immemorial Holy Basil is used as a treatment for a nasal inflammation and bronchitis. Due to the anti allergic property of Holy Basil, it provides protective effect against allergic diseases. In a study without controls, oral administration of an aqueous extract of dried Holy Basil to 20 patients with asthma increased lung vital capacity and relieved labored breathing.
Holy Basil contains many bioactive substances including minerals and vitamins, which normalize the disturbed physiological functions of the body by harmonizing the different imbalances (energy formation/conservation and tissue respiration, neurological system and neuro-hormones and water/electrolyte system)
Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia of India has a long list of herbal preparations with Holy Basil as important ingredient. For countless generations, Ayurvedic medical knowledge with its many disciplines and medicinal plants have made an invaluable contribution to modern medical science in the understanding of pathology and in the treatment of diseases due to long history of use and documented evidence of safety and efficacy.
Holy Basil has gained increasing interest for its numerous medicinal uses.
Submitted by Neelam Toprani, formulator of the Sewanti Ayurvedic Series of Sewanti Herbs.