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Article: Tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum) | Tulsi Medicinal Advantages

Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)

Author: Dr. Veena
From ancient times, Tulsi has been known for its medicinal value. It is used in many Ayurvedic medicines for a variety of ailments.

Classical Names: Vishnupriya (beloved by Lord Vishnu), Bhutaghani (acts as an antiseptic), Gramya (found in every house).

English: Holy basil.

Let us discuss Tulsi in two parts: 1) Medicinal Value  2) Natural Home Remedies.

Parts used: Whole plant, root, leaf, seed.

Action and Uses: Stomachic, diuretic, expectorant. Indicated in asthma, bronchitis, and ringworm. Seeds are demulcent and are useful for treating the genitourinary system. Infusion of the leaves is given for gastric disorders in children. Decoction of the root is useful for treating malarial fever.

Pharmacological Activities:

Antistress, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiasthmatic.

  • Toxicology: LD50 of the alcoholic leaf extract was 3.75 gm/kg intraperitoneal.

Ref: Database on Medicinal Plants used in Ayurveda Vol-2 (Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, Department of ISM&H, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India).

  • Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen.

Ref: Kuhn, Merrily; David Winston (2007). Winston & Kuhn's Herbal Therapy & Supplements: A Scientific and Traditional Approach. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 260. ISBN 978-1-58255-462-4.

  • The combination of Ocimum sanctum, Allium sativum, Piper nigrum, and Curcuma longa has been claimed to have potent antimalarial activity.

Ref: Database on Medicinal Plants used in Ayurveda Vol-2 (Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, Department of ISM&H, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India).

Effect on Digestive System: For loss of appetite and worms. Carminative and stomachic.

Respiratory System: For cough, cold, and asthma.

Skin: For skin disorders like swelling, itching, oozing, rash, etc.

Raktavah Sansthan (System): Helps to purify the blood.

Intake of Tulsi on an empty stomach is effective for the desired effect.

Natural Home Remedies:

  • Malaria: Decoction of the leaf is useful. Take 1 teaspoon of decoction with honey.
  • Expectorant Activity: Chew basil leaves along with black pepper seeds. Mix honey, ginger, and onion juice with fresh juice of Tulsi leaves; it will act as an expectorant.
  • For Cough: Make a tea of Tulsi leaves, ajwain, and black pepper.
  • Indigestion: Prepare a powder from fresh Tulsi leaves and take it with water.
  • Nausea and Cough: Chew 6 to 7 basil leaves daily.
  • Excessive Heat in the Body (Aggravation of Pitta Dosha): Add ginger juice and honey to Tulsi leaf juice and drink it.
  • Gas Relief: Make a decoction of Tulsi leaves, add a pinch of salt, and drink it.
  • Piles: Make a powder of Tulsi leaves and take it with buttermilk.
  • Chronic Diarrhea and Dysentery: Seeds are useful.
  • Tuberculosis: An oily substance found in Tulsi actively destroys tuberculosis bacilli. Ref: Vallabhabhai Patel Vriksha Sansthan, Delhi.
  • For Cough and Cold: Chew 1 roasted clove and 6 basil leaves.

For Skin:

  • Ringworm: Take one teaspoon of juice from fresh Tulsi leaves once a day to relieve itching, swelling, and rashes.
  • Foul Odor of the Mouth: Chew 6 to 7 leaves twice a day.
  • Obesity: Eat Tulsi leaves with curd or mix one-fourth juice of the leaves with honey and a glass of water. Drink once a day.
  • Cardioprotective: Mix one part powder of dried Tulsi leaves with four parts powder of Arjuna bark (Terminalia Arjuna). Take one teaspoon twice a day.
  • Leucorrhea: Extract juice from fresh Tulsi leaves. Take one teaspoon of this juice, add sugar and honey, and consume once a day.
  • Belching: Add one-fourth teaspoon of honey to one teaspoon of juice from tender Tulsi leaves. Drink twice a day.
  • Stomachache: Extract the juice of Tulsi leaves, add lemon juice, and drink it. Alternatively, take tender Tulsi leaves, add dried ginger powder, make a decoction, then add ghee and a pinch of salt. Take this twice a day.

External Use:

  • Make a paste of fresh Tulsi leaves and apply it to the skin to relieve itching and swelling.
  • For acne and black spots, apply a paste of tender Tulsi leaves with a pinch of turmeric.
  • The application of the paste of tender Tulsi leaves is effective for treating ringworm.
  • The paste is also effective in relieving pain and inflammation of the affected area.

Dosage: Powder (Churna) - 1-3 g, Swaras – 5-10 ml.

Side Effects (Excess Dose):

  1. A significant decrease in sperm count was noted in test group rabbits. Serum testosterone levels showed a marked increase while FSH and LH levels were significantly reduced in Tulsi-treated rabbits. The results suggest the potential use of Tulsi as an effective male contraceptive agent.

Ref: Int J Ayurveda Res. 2010 Oct-Dec; 1(4): 208–210. doi: 10.4103/0974-7788.76782 PMCID: PMC3059441.

Effect of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn.) on Sperm Count and Reproductive Hormones in Male Albino Rabbits - Jyoti Sethi, Mridul Yadav, Sushma Sood, Kiran Dahiya, and Veena Singh.

  1. Excess dose may cause a burning sensation.

  2. Tulsi thins the blood, so it should not be taken with anti-clotting medicine.

  3. Tulsi helps lower blood sugar levels, so if you are taking diabetes medicine, consult a doctor before taking Tulsi.
Contraindications: Pregnant women and women who want to become pregnant should not take Tulsi.

Though I have mentioned the quantity of ingredients in some natural home remedies, it is advisable to consult an Ayurvedic physician for the appropriate dosage.