Ayurveda

Basil- An Indian Herbal Treasure

Tulsi or basil is a great and wonderful herb that has many culinary applications. It is great in pesto, soups and salads and has been used as a delicate and flavorful tea in India perhaps for as long as 5,000 years. The basil plant, like other basil plants, thrives in sunny conditions. Grow it in the brightest part of your garden next to other edibles such as cucumber and yellow squash. The slightly camphor-like scent will also repel garden pests and keep them off of your vegetables.

Indian homeopaths refer to the basil plant as the elixir of life because it is believed to promote longevity and relieve stress. It is also thought to increase strength and promote immunity to common colds and flu viruses. It is known as Holy Basil in English and Tulasi in Sanskrit.

Other names used for the Basil

  • Manjari
  • Krishna Tulsi
  • Trittavu
  • Shyama Tulsi
  • Tulshi
  • Thulsi

The basil plant is the most honored plant in Hindu. Its name means "the incomparable one," and it is ritualistically observed by Hindu families. Typically it is grown in a garden and surrounded by statues of Hindu deities.

Basil is highly aromatic, and its essential oils are used throughout the world. Typically you can find these oils, which are comprised of steam distilled from the basil plant, in aromatherapy shops. Try heating it in a ceramic oil burner to enjoy its sweet and tangy scent of holy basil.

Basil has got the great medicinal value. The oil extracted from the Karpoora Tulsi is mostly used in the herbal toiletry. Its oil is also used against the insects and bacteria. The Rama Tulsi is the effective remedy for the severe acute Respiratory Syndrome. Juice of its leaves gives relief in cold, fever, bronchitis and cough. Basil oil is also used as the ear drop. Basil helps in curing malaria. It is very effective against indigestion, headache, hysteria, insomnia and cholera. The fresh leaves of Basil are taken by the millions of people every day. For over the centuries Basil (the queen of herbs) has been known for its remarkable healing properties.

Basil plant has a lot of significance for mankind, due to the manifold medicinal benefits it provides. Basil leaves are widely used in the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines. It is known to promote the longevity of life. The extracts obtained from the plant are extensively brought to use for curing various diseases such as the common cold, inflammation, malaria, heart disease, headaches, stomach disorders, kidney stones, heart disorders, and many more. The Indian basil Tulasi also aids in the purification of atmosphere.

Basil plant serves as a fabulous repellant in fighting against flies, mosquitoes and insects. It is especially valuable in combating malarial fever. It is said that at the time of establishment of Victoria gardens in Bombay (now Mumbai), the workers became victims of mosquito bites and suffered from chronic malaria. Seeing the pitiable situation of the workers, some of the Hindu managers recommended the plantation of Basil plant in the garden. On following their advice, fruitful results were obtained. Thus, holy basil Tulsi helped to abate the growth of mosquitoes and control malaria.

Basil has the ability to strengthen the kidneys. For those suffering from the problem of renal kidney stones, the decoction prepared by mixing the juice of Basil leaves with honey, if taken sincerely for six consecutive months can oust these stones via the urinary tract. For maintaining healthy heart, Basil is of utmost value. It helps in lowering the level of cholesterol in blood. Thus, Basil plant serves as the most effective remedy to combat cardiac diseases.

Some of the diseases Basil help us in curing :

  • Inflammatory and bone disorders like Arthritis.
  • Aging signs.
  • Bruises and cuts.
  • Eye disorders lay night blindness and sore eyes.
  • Protection against bacterial and viral infections.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Liver issues.
  • Basil also helps in curbing pain.
  • Sore knee and sprains.
  • High cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
  • Hormonal imbalances.

Tea made with Basil and clove is used to relieve the symptoms of a cold, respiratory infection, or a cough. Basil can also be made into a tea with a few drops of honey added to help calm a persistent cough. The holy basil is used to boost the immune system.

Holy basil is categorized as an adaptogenic herb. This type of herb is used to counteract a person's physical reaction to stress. This herb is also given to rejuvenate and restore a person to good health when exposed to excess emotional or environmental stress.

Few treatments from Basil:

  • Mouth Infections: The leaves are quite effective for the ulcer and infections in the mouth. A few leaves chewed will cure these conditions.
  • Coughs: Basil is an important constituent of many Ayurvedic cough syrups and expectorants. It helps to mobilize mucus in bronchitis and asthma. Chewing basil leaves relieves cold and flu.
  • Sore Throat: Water boiled with basil leaves can be taken as drink in case of sore throat. This water can also be used as a gargle.
  • Respiratory Disorder: The herb is useful in the treatment of respiratory system disorder. A decoction of the leaves, with honey and ginger is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, influenza, cough and cold. A decoction of the leaves, cloves and common salt also gives immediate relief in case of influenza. They should be boiled in half a liter of water till only half the water is left and add then taken.
  • Insect Bites: The herb is a prophylactic or preventive and curative for insect stings or bites. A teaspoonful of the juice of the leaves is taken and is repeated after a few hours. Fresh juice must also be applied to the affected parts. A paste of fresh roots is also effective in case of bites of insects and leeches.
  • Headaches: Basil makes a good medicine for headache. A decoction of the leaves can be given for this disorder. Pounded leaves mixed with sandalwood paste can also be applied on the forehead for getting relief from heat, headache, and for providing coolness in general.
  • Kidney Stone: Basil has strengthening effect on the kidney. In case of renal stone the juice of basil leaves and honey, if taken regularly for 6 months it will expel them via the urinary tract.
  • Heart Disorder: Basil has a beneficial effect in cardiac disease and the weakness resulting from them. It reduces the level of blood cholesterol.
  • Children's Ailments: Common pediatric problems like cough cold, fever, diarrhea and vomiting respond favorably to the juice of basil leaves. If pustules of chicken pox delay their appearance, basil leaves taken with saffron will hasten them.
  • Stress: Basil leaves are regarded as an 'adaptogen' or anti-stress agent. Recent studies have shown that the leaves afford significant protection against stress. Even healthy persons can chew 12 leaves of basil, twice a day, to prevent stress. It purifies blood and helps prevent several common elements.
  • Skin Disorders: Applied locally, basil juice is beneficial in the treatment of ringworm and other skin diseases. It has also been tried successfully by some naturopaths in the treatment of leucoderma.
  • Teeth Disorder: The herb is useful in teeth disorders. Its leaves, dried in the sun and powdered, can be used for brushing teeth. It can also be mixed with mustered oil to make a paste and used as toothpaste. This is very good for maintaining dental health, counteracting bad breath and for massaging the gums. It is also useful in pyorrhea and other teeth disorders.
  • Eye Disorders: Basil juice is an effective remedy for sore eyes and night-blindness, which is generally caused by deficiency of vitamin A. Two drops of black basil juice are put into the eyes daily at bedtime.

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