Tulsi is grown in many Hindu households, worshiped and offered to the gods. Don’t think this is just because of religious superstitions, this inexpensive and meek inexpensive herb comes loaded with numerous benefits. Tulsi is medically proven to be extremely beneficial for humans. Just a few leaves of tulsi, when used regularly, can help take care of a host of health and lifestyle related issues- from warding off some of the most common ailments, strengthening immunity to fighting bacterial & viral infections and even combating and treating various hair and skin disorders.
By Smita Mishra
When British came to India, they were plagued by mosquito menace and hence planted Tulsi and Neem all around their bungalows. They called tulsi or holy basil, Mosquito Plant.
Tulsi, not just wards off mosquitoes and insects, but in Hindu mythology, it is also believed to be a ward against evil spirits and ghosts. Have you ever wondered why tulsi leaves are traditionally put in the mouth of a dying person? It is said to guide the departed soul towards heaven. But in truth, perhaps tulsi’s anti-bacterial properties were needed to prevent the body from decaying too soon.
While Hindu mythology is replete with various legends woven around this sacred plant, tulsi holds a special place in Ayurved as its medicinal uses are phenomenal.
According to celebrity nutritionist Sandhya Gugnani, “Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties which help in purifying the blood and keep skin and hair healthy and glowing. The holy basil is packed with antioxidants as well as immune-enhancing qualities, the phytochemicals present in tulsi protect the body from damages caused by free radicals thus, delaying the aging process.”
“Tulsi helps in increasing the metabolism which aids in weight loss when coupled with increased physical activity & a healthy diet. It also increases sensitivity to insulin, lowering one’s blood sugar & treating diabetes,” adds Gugnani.
Here are some interesting facts and uses:
1. It acts as a detoxifying, cleansing and purifying agent – both from within and without.
2. Therefore it is good for skin – both when consumed and applied topically.
3. It is also effective in treating skin disorders, itching and issues like ringworms.
4. It can be made into teas or can be had raw, powdered, paste or in form herbal supplements.
5. It has antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties.
6. It helps in relieving from fever, headache, sore throat, cold, cough, flu and chest congestion.
7. It is also beneficial in treating respiratory ailments like chronic bronchitis, asthma et cetera.
8. Helps relieve stress, strengthen immunity, and facilitate proper digestion.
9. It is loaded with phytonutrients, essential oils, Vitamin A and C.
10. Regular tulsi consumption can also aid in balancing various bodily processes.
11. It counters elevated blood sugar levels and is therefore beneficial for diabetics.
12. It helps in regulating uric acid levels in body, thereby elimination risks of developing kidney stones. It is also beneficial for those who have kidney stones.
13. According to the Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India, tulsi can help in maintaining normal levels of the stress hormone – cortisol in the body.
14, It can wards off harmful effects of free radicals.
15. Is great for dental health and for healthy gums.
16. Is an effective insect repellant and can aid in treating insect bite.
17. Is also beneficial in treating conditions like hepatitis, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue and swine flu.
18. It is also known as adaptogen.
Here are some useful and easy to make recipes:
– Add 12-15 shredded tulsi leaves; ½ tsp chopped ginger, ¼ tsp cardamom powder in three cups of water and boil for 10 minutes.
– Strain and serve with a dash of honey and lemon juice.
– Roast 50 gms sesame seeds.
– Add ½ tsp sugar, salt and pepper powder to taste, one chopped green chilli, 10-12 tulsi leaves and 12 cloves of garlic.
– Grind to a fine paste. Add a little water if needed.
– Adjust the seasoning. Use it as spreads and dips. You can keep it in refrigerator for over a week.
– In a bowl add 1 cup chopped cucumber, 12-15 shredded basil leaves, 50 gms crumbled feta cheese, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp olive oil, juice 1 lemon, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tsp thyme and toss well.
– Add a handful of roasted mixed nuts and serve chilled.