Tulasi, Holy Basil – The plant with an auspicious name has medicinal usage extending from reducing ill effects of radiotherapy of cancer to maintaining Brahmacharya – Celibacy.
Tulasi Botanical Name– Ocimum sanctum Linn. , Ocimum tenuiflorum
Family –LAMIACEAE, Labiatae – Tulasi kula.
Telugu name- Tulasi.
Kapha Vinashini – balances Kapha dosha, useful to relieve excess sputum production
Krumidosha, Krumihara – Anti microbial. Tulsi plant is one of the best anti viral herbs of Ayurveda.
Ruchikrut – improves taste, relieves anorexia
Agnivardhini, Vahni Deepani – improves digestion strength
Tuvara – astringent
Tikta – bitter
Hrudya – acts as cardiac tonic, congenial for heart, useful to relieve cholesterol deposition in blood vessels.
Dahavardhini – increases burning sensation
Shwasahara – useful in treatment of asthma and chronic respiratory disorders.
Kasahara – useful in cough and cold
Hidhmahara – useful in repeated hiccups
Vamihara – relieves vomiting
Parshvaruk – relieves pain in flanks
Kushta – useful in skin diseases with pain and itchiness
Visha – anti toxic
Kruchra –relieves difficulty in urination
Ashma – useful in kidney and bladder stones
Druk – useful in infectious eye disorders
Bhutahara – useful in psychiatric disorders
As per Bhavaprakasha, both white and black varieties have similar qualities.
Indian Basil for urticaria, itching: For itching rashes, tulasi leaves are made into paste and applied over the skin.
For sinusitis and headache:
Basil’s fresh leaves are crushed to extract juice. Two drops of this juice is put into both nostrils on empty stomach. This helps to relieve sinusitis related headache.
Tulasi plant for bad breath problem:
Daurgandhyahara – chewing one or two holy basil leaves daily helps to relieve bad breath issue. This is not only due to its good smell, but it also improves digestion. Low digestion is a strong cause for bad breath.
Tulsi for regular smokers – Smokers are prone for respiratory disorders and cancer. For both these, Tulsi is ideal.
Tulsi for Brahmacharya – Celibacy –
The spiritual benefits of Tulsi are not without any scientific reason. In ancient times, young child -Bramhachari pupils were given a leaf of Tulsi, each day, in the morning, which would help them follow stringent Brahmacharya.
Those who cannot get fresh Tulsi leaves, can incorporate Tulsi tea. Taking Tulsi capsule for this purpose can be done, but because it increases Pitta, you will need to talk to your Ayurvedic practitioner before doing so.
Probably for this reason only, Tulsi is not advised for married women, but is given as Prasadam for widows (which would enable them to curb materialistic desires.