Tulsi Benefits

Tulsi
Latin Name

Ocimum tenuiflorum

Also Known As

Holy Basil, Ajaka, Albahaca Santa, Hot Basil, Indian Basil, Kala Tulsi, Rama Tulsi, Red Holy Basil, Sacred Basil, Sacred Purple Basil

Origin

India

Parts Used

Leaves

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

With a rich history stretching back thousands of years, Tulsi is revered in India for its medicinal and religious qualities.

Also known as Holy Basil and the “Incomparable One”, the herb grows as a small shrub with delicate lavender flowers and is considered sacred in Hinduism.

As well as its religious significance, Tulsi is a prime herb in the ancient Indian healing system of Ayurveda. It is considered the “elixir of life”, promoting longevity and balance within the body, especially of the “doshas” (the three bodily bio-elements – Vata, Pitta and Kapha). It is a natural protector of organs and tissues with powerful cleansing properties and adaptogenic qualities.

Tulsi Benefits

Stress / Anxiety

Tulsi benefits many types of stress including physical, mental and metabolic. In the case of physical stress, Tulsi is powerfully antioxidant, supporting the body in its efforts to detoxify. It enhances the activity of endogenous antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione and superoxide-dismutase.

If we are mentally and emotionally stressed, free radical levels go up in the body. Holy Basil has been shown to decrease the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone), due to its rich phytochemical content. Three specific compounds are responsible for this action; ocimumosides A and B and 4-allyl-1-O-beta-D-glucopyronosyl-2-hydroxybenzene – the latter having been shown in the laboratory to exhibit anti-anxiety properties.

As a herbal adaptogen, Tulsi helps to bring the endocrine system and hormones back into balance. Hormone imbalances can be the root cause of many problems including insomnia, fatigue, digestive issues, depression, weight gain and more.

The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine reports that Tulsi has anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties that are comparable to diazepam and other antidepressants. In one study it was found that subjects who took 500mg of Tulsi extract daily felt significantly less anxious and depressed, as well as feeling more sociable.

Oral Health

Chewing the leaves of Tulsi to support dental health has been a part of the Hindu culture for millennia.

Modern science has discovered that this herb contains many phytochemicals that combat oral bacteria, relieve the pain caused by toothache and fight candida.

Containing antibacterial agents such as carracrol and tetpene, Holy Basil can make an effective treatment for common oral infections.

A study published in “The Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry” found that a mouthwash containing Tulsi “was comparable to chlorhexidine with respect to its anti-plaque action with no statistically significant difference between the two.”

Additionally, the same study found that the herb does indeed have powerful antibacterial qualities. It was shown to be effective against two proven periodontopathogens, P. intermedia and F. nucleatum.

Respiratory Health

Tulsi leaves are rich in the compounds camphene, eugenol and cineole which help to relieve congestion and provide relief from the symptoms of many other respiratory disorders.

In cases of asthma, a study of asthmatic patients found that 500 mg of dried Tulsi leaves taken three times daily improved vital capacity and provided relief of asthmatic symptoms within 3 days.

Holy Basil is also “anti-tussive”, meaning it helps to relieve persistent coughing, and has immunomodulatory properties. With anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory

Typical Use

Tulsi Tea

Use 1 cup of boiling water to 1 - 2 tsp of Tulsi Leaf. Leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes.

Organic Tulsi Powder

Can be re-hydrated in water or fruit juice, encapsulated or added to a herbal powder blend. 

Suggested Use:1 - 5g daily taken with liquid or blended into a smoothie or herbal blend.

Organic Tulsi Tincture

Can be added to water or fruit juice.

Traditionally Taken: 2-3 ml, 3 times per day or as directed by a herbal practitioner. 

Folklore and History

For a vast majority of those who live in India the Tulsi plant is a goddess incarnate. An evocative, holy and revered name for those who are devoted Vaishavas (those who worship Lord Vishnu and his incarnations, e.g. – Lord Rama, Lord Krishna), the goddess Tulsi is considered one of the consorts of Lord Vishnu and an incarnation of the Goddess Lakshmi.

In Vrindavan, a city in India that is considered holy to Lord Krishna, it is not uncommon to find Tulsi trees planted in elevated positions outside houses and in courtyards. It is thought that having a tree at the front of the house will repel negative energy.

Every part of the plant has significance and is used in religious rituals, made into malas (prayer beads) and taken as medicine. There are two varying colours to the Tulsi plant; one light green which is called either ‘Shri-Tulsi’ or ‘Rama-Tulsi’ and another dark or purple leafed Tulsi plant that is called ‘Shyama-Tulsi’.

Tulsi
Constituents

One of the most interesting facts relating to the chemical composition of the Tulsi plant is that it is extremely complex resulting in different levels of chemicals in each sample. The differing chemistry of each plant depends on environmental factors such as soil, altitude and strain of Tulsi. It has even been found that individual Tulsi plants that have been grown in the same field can be very different chemically.

In trace elements Tulsi contains Vitamin A and C as well as Zinc, Iron, chlorophyll and phytonutrients.

Below are the common phytochemicals that can be found in varying amounts in each plant.

oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid, eugenol, carvacrol, linalool, β-caryophyllene, β-elemene, and germacrene D.

Precautions

Tulsi may reduce the effectiveness of making the blood clot. It is recommended that you stop taking Tulsi two weeks before scheduled surgery.