Tulsi is an aromatic shrub native to the Indian subcontinent. An integral part of various Asian cuisines, Tulsi is cultivated and used for religious and medicinal purposes. The Tulsi leaves are packed with goodness that has various health benefits. Rama Tulsi (green leaves) and Krishna or Shyma Tulsi (purple leaves) — have been found to contain very high concentration of medicinally important compounds.
- Rich in antioxidants, Tulsi helps to fight cold, flu, and fever by boosting the body’s immune defense.
- Tulsi also effectively acts on respiratory system and helps in clearing congestion associated with conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.
- Tulsi is a natural analgesic and helps control pain and inflammation
- Tulsi is also used to cure insect bites
- Tulsi helps to fight infections
- Tulsi’s distinct clove-like aroma arising from its high eugenol content helps in the anti-inflammatory action as well as in repelling insects.
Tulsi in Hinduism
Hindus regard Tulsi as an earthly manifestation of the goddess Tulsi, who is regarded as the avatar of Lakshmi. The offering of its leaves is recommended in ritualistic worship of Vishnu and his avatars like Krishna and Vithoba. Many Hindus have tulsi plants growing in front of or near their home.
Silk Road and Tulsi
When the Silk Road opened up trade between the east and west, Tulsi was one of the herbs that went westwards and found a place in the family herb gardens of Europe along with other medicinal plants like mint, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Tulsi in Christianity
Tulsi came to be known as Holy Basil. The name basil in fact comes from the Greek word for ‘kingly’ or ‘royal’ and Tulsi became a sacred herb in orthodox Christianity. Orthodox Christians believed that the herb sprung up where Jesus’s blood fell near his tomb and, ever since, basil has been associated with the worship of the cross, particularly during Great Lent. The priest uses basil to establish and purify the holy water and a bunch of its leaves to sprinkle the water on to the congregation.
Tulsi, the Queen of Herbs, is one of the most valued and holistic herbs used over years in traditional medicine in India and almost every part of the plant has been found to possess numerous therapeutic properties, some proven and some being evaluated by scientists.