Tulsi (Holy Basil) is found in almost all the Indian households irrespective of caste and creed. There is mention of tulsi in Hindu mythology. That is the reason why people keep it in their courtyard and go round and round for nine or eleven times every morning to inhale the pure air believing it would keep them healthy. It is a fact that the whole area is purified by just keeping the plant in the house. It has got great medicinal values. A great remedy to lose weight or to gain weight, treated for poisons, to cure children’s diseases, women’s problems and also for the elderly. The plant possesses insecticidal and antibacterial properties and is also a mosquito repellent.
Many people take tulsi tea in the morning to keep them fit throughout the day. Some people even mix honey and ginger in tulsi tea to make it more effective.
People in earlier times used to take a few drops of water with tulsi leaves to purify the body from the ill effects of the day. It is a practice even today in various temples where tulsi water is served as blessings to the devotees by the priests.
People wear tulsi malas also to ward off evil effects. Even to the extent dead persons are served tulsi water in the belief that the body will not be impure. Though it has unlimited medicinal qualities, a few can be quoted here:
Cough and Cold
Take few tulsi leaves, wash them throughly in cold running water, crush them and extract one tablespoon full of juice mix with one tablespoon honey and one tablespoon freshly extracted ginger juice. This will give relief from bad cold, coughs and bronchitis. Depending upon the severity of cough it can be taken twice daily.
It is highly useful in getting rid of cold and flu. Even for sore throat, the leaves of tulsi are of great value. Just boil the leaves of tulsi in water and ask the patient to gargle with this decoction (decoction:-for example bring one glass of water with tulsi leaves to boil until it is reduced to half glass).
Few tulsi leaves taken with four black pepper cures Malaria and check the re-occurance.
For Healthy Heart
Tulsi can be used for maintaining healthy heart. It helps in lowering the level of cholesterol in blood. Thus tulsi plant serves as the most effective remedy to combat cardiac diseases.
Treated for Skin & Insect Bites
Tulsi is beneficial in the treatment of ringworm and other skin diseases. It is even tried for the treatment of lecuoderma and is used in the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines.
Tulsi is also beneficial for insect bites and stings. Fresh tulsi juice can be applied on the effected parts and also taken orally repeatedly after a few hours and it can be helpful in relieving the pain and reducing the rash/swelling etc.
Ulcers in the mouth
Tulsi leaves, if chewed, are quite effective for the ulcers and infections of the mouth.
Relief from Stress & Strain
Tulsi leaves are significant protection against stress. Even healthy persons can chew 12 leaves of tulsi two times a day to prevent stress. It purifies blood and also helps prevent several common ailments.
Relief from Headaches
Tulsi is also used for the relief in headaches if the decoction is takes from the fresh leaves. Grind and make paste of tulsi leaves along with sandlewood make paste and applied on forehead can give general coolness from heat stroke.
For the treatement of Tuberculosis & Bowel Complaint in Children
Tulsi Roots are used in the preparation of a Syrup used for the treatment of Tuberculosis. The Roots are also useful for bowel complaints in children.
For Nursing Mothers
The decoction of the leaves or the crushed seeds can be applied as a compress on the nipple of the mammary gland while mother is breast feeding. This is to treat the affected gland.
Recently, in Chhend area at Rourkela (Odisha), a person living in a one room tenament in his small frontal garden has planted and nourished plants of tulsi. When asked why he has done so, he said that the effort is to minimise the effects of industrial pollution that is rampant at the steel city and to bring in more oxygen to the area. It is a tiny step. This very incidence is a symbolic message to the community around where one can see how individuals are taking initiatives at their level to keep the environment clean and healthy.
By N Suguna