Holy basil is a cure-all you’d be a fool not to grow. The Tulsi plant holds the place of pride in traditional India for its supposed spiritual effects and auspiciousness. However, the housefront isn’t the only spot you will find this herb in. Tulsi grows in the wild in abundance.
“In fact, it is so therapeutic that even its fragrance depollutes the air 200m around it. Even practising deep breathing near the plant detoxifies the lungs,” says herbalist and Ayurvedic specialist Dr BK Mukherjee.
Many of compounds found in Tulsi leaves are being evaluated for their anti-cancer properties in various clinical trials. Rama and Krishna, two domestic subtypes of Tulsi contain very high concentration of medicinally important metabolites. Last year, a team of nearly 30 scientists at the Bengaluru-based National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms, Bengaluru, unravelled the main enzymes responsible for the synthesis of secondary metabolites which have medicinal properties.
Dr Mukherjee adds, “Tulsi is no superficial plant. It has anti-malarial properties. Grow Tulsi in mosquito-infested areas to ward off malaria and other diseases. He recommends eating 4-5 Tulsi leaves regularly on an empty stomach for boosting immunity.”
Besides the religious significance and ritualistic importance, Tulsi is something to revere for its blood purifying properties. The rishis of yore were known to practise pranayam next to the Tulsi plant for the same reason. Sit in front of the plant and inhale as deeply as possible.
A popular beauty ritual in rural India is rubbing finely powdered dry Tulsi leaves (or the clay on its roots) to the face for removing spots. Tying Tulsi root to the waist during pregnancy is believed to ease labour. “For pain relief during excessive menstrual flow, drink Tulsi juice mixed with honey,” says nutrition expert Sanchita Sharma. This should give you enough reason to leave a grand spot for the herb. For more reasons, look through the uses of Tulsi below.
Home remedies with Tulsi leaves
Itching and eczema: Apply a paste obtained by grinding the leaves of Tulsi in lemon juice.
Swelling: Apply crushed Tulsi leaves over the affected part.
Wounds: Sprinkle finely powdered Tulsi leaves around the wound or sprinkle equal parts of Tulsi and camphor powder.
Hair loss: Soak Tulsi leaves with dried gooseberry fruits in water. Wash your hair with the liquid.
Dry cough: Grind together Tulsi seeds, onions, ginger and mix with honey or mix equal quantities of powdered Tulsi seeds and crystal sugar.
Excessive phlegm: Form a paste by mixing camphor and honey with Tulsi juice. Lick it from your palm a few times during the day.
Chest pain: Eat 20 to 30 leaves of the herb with 10 to 15 black peppers.
Headache: Inhale the smoke that arises on burning coal to which wild Tulsi flower and black pepper is added.
[A version of this post was published on Alldatmatterz.com]
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