The Queen of Herbs: Have You Added This Magic Leaf to Your Lifestyle?Luke Coutinho
The Queen of Herbs, the Mother Medicine of Nature, the Elixir of Life – the magical tulsi plant has earned several monikers in Ayurveda. Also known as holy basil, this adaptogenic herb that originates in India may be bitter to taste, but its numerous health benefits outweigh this minor inconvenience to your palate.
An integral part of Indian culture and traditional medicine, tulsi has spiritual significance and finds its place in various religious rituals. It is why you will commonly find most Hindu households have a tulsi plant right in front of their homes, especially in the center of the courtyard. Every part of the plant – from the leaves to the stem, flower, root, seeds, and oil, is considered sacred. Ayurveda links its consumption with normalizing the Kapa and Vata, nourishing your deep tissues, disease prevention, well-being, resilience, and longevity.
But what does scientific research about tulsi say? Tulsi is:
- Anti-diabetic (helps manage blood glucose)
- Protects your liver (hepato-protective)
- Combats metabolic stress
- Highly antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal
- Repels mosquitoes and is effective in treating malaria
- Effective for diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, ulcers, heartburn, acidity, and so on
- Rich in antioxidants
- Highly anti-inflammatory
- Helps manage the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy
- Neuro-protective (protection, recovery, and regeneration)
- Promotes and protects heart health
- Helps manage high blood pressure/hypertension
- Lowers bad cholesterol level
- Has anti-carcinogenic properties
- Works as an analgesic to relieve pain
- Reduces fever
- Helps manage allergies, arthritic flare-ups, muscle spasms, asthma, thyroid, and so on
- Relieves stress and anxiety
- Enhances memory and cognitive function
- Has antidepressant properties
- Works as an anticoagulant to prevent or slow down blood clotting. (If you are undergoing surgery, stop its consumption two weeks in advance to avoid the risk of bleeding during and after surgery.)
How has tulsi worked for our clients?
In our own experience, we have witnessed the healing powers of this magical herb. We have had children and adults with chronic allergies, colds, and post-nasal dripping who have consumed tulsi and paired it with lifestyle changes. Over time, their doctors told them they no longer needed their medication. Does this mean you should make tulsi your go-to drug? No. But it definitely can help you.
Can tulsi help with cleansing?
Tulsi has the ability to protect your organs and tissues from the everyday oxidative and chemical stress it undergoes right from heavy metals, the air you breathe, the food you eat, and the water you drink. Science shows that tulsi has cleansing properties to help flush out these toxins. A reason why most detox programs put you on tulsi.
How does tulsi benefit your brain health?
It is particularly beneficial to enhance your memory and promote cognitive health. It can play a role in salvaging the damage to your nerves and promoting regeneration and recovery. These properties make it effective for those with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.
Why is tulsi called an adaptogen? Can it help with depression and anxiety?
Adaptogen refers to plants and mushrooms that can help relieve stress. Because tulsi can help reduce oxidative and chemical stress in our bodies, it is known as a potent adaptogen. We all know that stress is the number one cause of inflammation that leads to lifestyle diseases or even changes in your genetic expression. Anything that can turn off a good gene and turn on a bad gene can cause serious health issues in the long run. But your lifestyle can play a massive role in influencing this genetic expression.
Many doctors today are using tulsi and tulsi drops to help relieve symptoms of depression. Ayurveda speaks of how it helps relax the mind, soothes your nerves, and leads to clarity of thought. Does this mean it’s going to replace your counselor or your medication? Absolutely not, but can it help you? Absolutely yes.
Is tulsi anti-microbial?
Tulsi is highly antimicrobial, which is why most pharmaceuticals chase this wonder leaf. You will find tulsi and tulsi extract in many mainstream medications designed to keep pathogens and bacteria at bay. Did you know tulsi is used widely as a hand sanitizer, mouthwash, and water purifier? It is used to heal wounds and preserve food, too.
How our ancestors used tulsi for skincare, coughs, colds, fevers, aches, and more
The use of tulsi for skin care dates back to our ancestors. In rural India, many women used to consume tulsi leaves 30 days before marriage to enhance their complexion and get a radiant glow. Tulsi can be ingested or even used as an external application because it works well both ways. Many cosmetics have tulsi in them. The magical herb can be powerful in managing acne, pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, pigmentation, and dullness.
In the olden days, babies and adults with chronic cough, congestion, or respiratory issues would be fed tulsi drops. In cases where stubborn fevers wouldn’t break, tulsi would be used as an anti-pyretic for quick relief.
Tulsi was also used to manage inflammatory aches. If you do not like its taste, you can pulp the leaves, apply them to the affected area and wrap a bandage around it. It continues to be practiced in India to manage arthritic flare-ups.
The tulsi and cancer connect
Upcoming research shows tulsi’s effectiveness in pancreatic cancer which is one of the most aggressive types of cancer. Once diagnosed, it progresses at a rapid pace, and its mortality rate is high. Research has linked tulsi with reducing the size of tumors and metastasis in breast and pancreatic cancers when coupled with treatment, diet, and lifestyle changes.
Besides this, tulsi has radioprotective and chemoprotective properties. This means that it can assist in managing the side effects, chemical stress, and tissue damage that chemotherapy and radiotherapy can cause.
How to use tulsi leaves?
You can chew the leaves, boil them to make tea, use tulsi extract or add tulsi drops to your water. Want to source quality tulsi leaves? Buy them on our ethical wellness platform here. You can also grow your plant by the windowsill or balcony. Just pluck out a few leaves, wash them and chew them. If you do not like chewing them, boil about 5-10 leaves in water to make tea. Boost its immunity by adding a dash of cinnamon and cardamom. Enjoy this relaxing cup of calm.
Pharmaceutical industries are ordering tulsi leaves in bulk. Remember, any pill produced by these companies has years of research and data to back the benefit of every ingredient. Most medications that you take have a little bit of nature in them. So if these big pharma companies are conducting more research and using tulsi leaves and their extracts, clearly they are onto something big.
Our elders and ancestors had way more wisdom than we have today. But the irony is most of us today wait for science to tell us if a traditional herb is okay for us to consume. It is funny because how many of us sit down with our doctors to question the side effects or repercussions of the medications we are prescribed? Yet, when a headline says coconut oil is poisonous or someone says ginger, turmeric or tulsi is ineffective, we instantly become suspicious of it. That said, we always believe in making informed decisions.
And guess what? Even science and Western medicine today has given tulsi its rightful recognition. But remember that it is not a magic herb and will not work alone. Want to enjoy its benefits? Change your lifestyle too.
Tulsi, in most cases, can be consumed by everyone. Unless you have an allergy. Make an informed decision.
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