Tulsi is a magical Ayurvedic herb that can benefit just about everyone. It is a great herb for spring as it clears out the body! Tulsi (ocimum sanctum), often referred to as holy basil, is a potent herb that has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years to treat colds, coughs, and the flu. As the name would imply, holy basil has spiritual as well as medicinal significance in Ayurveda. According to Ayurveda, holy basil promotes purity and lightness in the body, cleansing the respiratory tract of toxins, and relieving digestive gas and bloating. There is scientific research confirming Tulsi’s beneficial effects. It appears to show that tulsi can address physical, chemical, metabolic and psychological stress.
Tulsi’s oil has antioxidant properties that help reduce the damaging effects of stress and aging on the body. Studies have shown that it protects healthy cells from the toxicity of radiation and chemotherapy. Holy basil also has anti-depression properties. Additionally, it has been shown to help people with:
· Headache · Heart disease · Inflammation · Acne · Asthma · Respiratory disorders · Kidney Stones · Lung disorders · Fever
Tulsi carries the bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes, and generates a warming influence on the physiology. The herb is predominantly Kapha-reducing, but it can also be used to pacify Vata and Pitta. It can, however, have a mildly Pitta-aggravating effect in people who are severely overheated.
Use tulsi freely in your cooking and in making freshly brewed tea. If you’re making tea, simply cover 2 teaspoons of fresh holy basil with 1 cup of boiling water, and let it steep for about 5 minutes. Strain the leaves before drinking. You can also take tulsi in capsule, tablet, or extract form. Dosages will depend on your particular health concern. Talk to your health care practitioner to determine what dosage would be best for you.
Precaution: Some research suggests that holy basil might have a mild anti-fertility effect, but this has been limited to rural areas of India. If you are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant, talk to your health care practitioner before taking medicinal doses of holy basil.