As the world wakes up to the freshness of nature and natural products, Herbs take on a leading role. Simple everyday foods and herbs have moved out of the kitchen to be an effective, inexpensive and safe part of health care. The time-tested science of Ayurveda uses the goodness of single herbs and different foods to keep your body at its healthiest best. Women Fitness presents a detailed Directory of herbs.

 


Ocimum tenuiflorum
 


Ocimum tenuiflorum, also known as Holy Basil, tulsi, or tulasī, is an aromatic plant in the family Lamiaceae which is native throughout the Eastern World tropics and widespread as a cultivated plant and an escaped weed. It is an erect, much branched subshrub, 3060 cm tall with hairy stems and simple, opposite, green leaves that are strongly scented.

Leaves have petioles, and are ovate, up to 5 cm long, usually slightly toothed. The flowers are purplish in elongate racemes in close whorls. The two main morphotypes cultivated in India and Nepal are green-leaved (Sri or Lakshmi tulsi) and purple-leaved (Krishna tulsi). Tulsi is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil. It is widely known across South Asia as a medicinal plant and an herbal tea, commonly used in yurveda, and has an important role within the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving holy basil plants or leaves.

The variety of Ocimum tenuiflorum used in Thai cuisine is referred to as Thai holy basil, it is not to be confused with Thai basil, which is a variety of Ocimum basilicum.

The health benefits of Tulsi include the following:

Fever: The miraculous healing properties of Holy Basil come mainly from its essential oils and Phytonutrients. Holy Basil is an excellent anti biotic, germicidal, fungicidal and disinfectant and very efficiently protects our body from nearly all sorts of bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Fever is mainly caused due to infections from protozoa (in case of malaria), bacteria (typhoid), viruses (flu) and even allergic substances and fungus. Actually, fever is not an ailment in itself. It is just a symptom which shows that our body is fighting against infections. The tremendous disinfectant, germicidal and fungicidal properties of Tulsi destroys all these pathogens discussed above and heals fever. It is an old practice in India to have decoction of Tulsi leaves and flowers in cases of fever.

Respiratory Disorders: Tulsi, apart from curing viral, bacterial and fungal infections of the respiratory system, gives miraculous relief in congestion due to presence of components like Camphene, Eugenol and Cineole in its essential oils. It is very effective in curing nearly all types of respiratory disorders including bronchitis (chronic and acute).

Asthma: Tulsi is very beneficial in Asthma as it relieves congestion and facilitates breathing. The Phytonutrients and the essential oils, with help from other minerals in it, helps cure the causes of asthma also.

Lung Disorders: The compounds like vitamin-C, Camphene, Eugenol and Cineole present in the essential oils of Tulsi do not only cure the infections in lungs but also cure congestion of the lungs. They are also found effective in healing damages caused to the lungs due to smoking, tuberculosis, lung cancer etc. It also helps cure tuberculosis due to its anti biotic properties.

Heart Diseases: The Holy Basil contains vitamin-C and other anti oxidants such as Eugenol which protect the heart from harmful effects of free radicals. In addition, Eugenol, a component in its essential oils, is very beneficial in reducing cholesterol from blood.

Stress: Vitamin-C and other anti oxidants in Holy Basil, apart from repairing damages done by the free radicals, also minimize the stress induced by these oxidants. They soothe nerves, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and thus reduce stress. One such component is Camphene. Potassium also reduces blood pressure related stress by replacing
sodium.

Oral Care: Tulsi is an excellent mouth freshener and oral disinfectant and its freshness lasts very long in the outh. Holy Basil destroys more than 99 percent of the germs and bacteria in the mouth and this effect lasts long. It also cures ulcer in the mouth. It is also known to help inhibit growth of oral cancer caused by chewing tobacco etc.

Dental Care: Holy Basil destroys bacteria which are responsible for dental cavities, plaque, tartar, bad breath etc. and protects teeth. It also has astringent properties which make the gums hold the teeth tighter thereby protecting them from falling. But, Tulsi also has certain compounds mercury (having rich germicidal properties) which can be harmful for the teeth if kept in direct contact for a long. Hence it is advised to avoid chewing of these leaves (discussed in holy books and Ayurveda that chewing leaves robs them of their holiness). But it has no harm if you do not chew it or have its decoction.


Kidney Stones: Tulsi, being detoxifier and mild diuretic in nature, help reduce uric acid level (main culprit as far as kidney stones are concerned) concentration in the blood as well as helps cleaning of the kidneys through rination. Acetic acid and certain components in its essential oils also facilitate dissolution of the stone. It also has pain-killer effects and help bear the pain from kidney stones.

Skin Care: A daily bath with decoction of Holy Basil mixed with your bathing water, or washing your face with it or simply applying the paste of its leaves on infected area of the skin in case of skin diseases or simply consuming Tulsi leaves, keeps your skin free from all infections. You wont believe this but rubbing basil leaves or oil extracted from it on the body keeps mosquitoes and other insects away. It cures skin disorders internally and externally, without any side effects. This property mainly comes from its essential oils which are highly anti biotic, disinfectant, anti bacterial and anti fungal in nature. External application on the skin also removes extra oil from the skin surface. Camphene in it also gives a soothing cooling effect.

Eye Care: Just wash your eyes daily with a few leaves of basil soaked in water and you will be free from conjunctivitis, boils and many other problems of eyes which are caused due to viral, bacterial or fungal infection. It also soothes eyes and reduces stress. A regular consumption can protect your eyes from all the damages done by the free radicals, such as cataract, macular degeneration, glaucoma, vision defects, opthalmia etc. due to the high anti oxidant properties of its essential oils, vitamin-A, vitamin-C etc.

Headache: Headaches caused due to migraine, sinus, cough and cold, high blood pressure etc. can be effectively controlled by the use of a single Tulsi. Camphene, Eugenol, Cineol, Carvacrol and Methyl-Chavicol have excellent analgesic, sedative, anti congestive and disinfectant properties.

Anti Ageing: Vitamin-C, A, Phytonutrients and the essential oils in it are excellent anti oxidants and protects the body from nearly all the damages caused by the free radicals. In traditional Indian medicine system called Ayurveda, it is considered as a tonic to retain youth and avoid aging.

Immunity: Holy Basil is so good for boosting up the immune system that cannot be explained in words. It protects from nearly all sorts of infections from viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa. Recent studies show that it is also helpful in inhibiting growth HIV and carcinogenic cells.

Other Benefits: It can protect from radiation poisoning and also heal up damages from it. It can be given after surgery to help heal wounds quickly and also to protect them from infections. It acts as a vaccine against pox if consumed regularly. It is anti carcinogenic and found to be effective in healing nearly all types of cancer and tumors. Being expectorant is one of the most priced properties of Holy Basil and it is very efficient in curing cough and cold. It is beneficial in reducing labor pain, destroying rabies germs, treating gastroenteritis, cholera, whooping cough, measles, mumps, rheumatism, nausea, septic, urinary and genital infections, destroying worms in stomach and its dried leaves are mixed with food grains to use as an insect-repellant. Apart from these, Holy Basil has numerous other medicinal values on which an encyclopedia can be compiled.


 

 




 





 

 

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