Tulsi - Mother Medicine of Nature
Tulsi, Holy Basil or in Ayurvedic terms “The Incomparable One” and “Mother Medicine of Nature”, offers a rich source of essential oils, eugenol, nerol, camphor, and a variety of flavonoids. This aromatic herb in the basil family, which originated in north central India, has outstanding adaptogenic properties and is considered as a tonic for the body, mind and spirit. It is highly valued in the traditional Indian medicine for its versatility in helping to restore health where imbalance is cause of illness. In fact, Tulsi has been a staple in households across India and other parts of Asia for hundreds if not thousands of years.
Especially in Hindu religion, Tulsi is thought to provide protection for homes where it is cultivated and cared for. It is a sacred plant that is valued for its medicinal properties.
Different parts of the plant, but mostly leaf extracts, are used to support a healthy response to stress, and to promote balance and harmony in the body. Tulsi extracts and tea infusions are known to counteract symptoms and underlying causes of bronchitis, rheumatism, cough, skin diseases, oral infections, and various gastric disorders due to the herbs powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Numerous studies confirm the adaptogenic potential of the herb where it can help the body and mind to cope with a wide range of chemical, physical, infectious and emotional stresses and restore physiological and psychological function. Furthermore, modern research has provided evidence of Tulsis anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and analgesic activities. It promotes natural detoxification, and can help to protect the body from environmental pollutants and toxins. Tulsi has also beneficial metabolic effects, such as enhancing insulin response and protecting pancreatic islet cells from free radical damage.
However, despite its various medicinal properties, Tulsi is not widely used in Western medicine to date.
How to use Tulsi?
Infuse one to two teaspoons of organically grown Tusli with hot water at 95°C for 3-5 minutes to make an aromatic infusion. You can drink the tea as is or use it externally as a mouth wash or skin tonic.
Precaution: Always consult your physician or health care provider before using Tulsi, especially if you are pregnant or have a medical condition.
Grow your own
It is not only great to benefit from your own, freshly harvested herbs in general; Tulsi, with its clove-like aroma, serves to link the householder to the divine while also repelling mosquitoes, flies and other harmful insects.
How to grow Tulsi from Seeds?
Tulsi can be grown outdoors as annuals in warm Mediterranean climates, similar to other types of basil.
Sprinkle the seeds in late spring to early summer on top of rich potting soil. Spray water onto the seeds for good soil contact. Cover lightly (ca. 1cm) with soil. Spray more water onto the surface. Place in a warm, partly sunny place and keep moist until sprouts will start to break through (ca. 1-2 weeks). When the seedlings have grown about three sets of leaves, carefully transplant them in individual containers or outdoors in a sunny position.
Sources & Further reading
Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons
J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014 Oct-Dec; 5(4): 251–259.
The Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Tulsi in Humans: A Systematic Review of the Literature
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017; 2017: 9217567.Published online 2017 Mar 16.