Holy basil, or tulsi [in Sanskrit], is extensively used in ayurvedic medicine.
The herb contains ursolic acid, which significantly reduces inflammation and enhances detoxification - the metabolic process for eliminating toxins and toxic wastes from the body.
Holy basil also has anti-microbial properties, thanks to the oil, eugenol, present in the leaves.
Holy basil plays an important role in the management of immunological disorders, such as allergy and asthma. Experts also extol the anti-spasmodic properties of holy basil owing to its curative effects in relieving abdominal pain. And, what's most important, the herb helps lower blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Holy basil is a "tonic" herb - it alleviates stress and produces a biological state of emotional balance. It also has the exclusive ability to bring calming effects, based on our body's needs.
The herb not only corrects body dysfunctions, it also boosts our body's resistance against multiple - physical, chemical, or environmental - stressors. The big advantage is - holy basil is safe, and has no short- or long-term side-effects.
Holy basil has been used successfully in the treatment of arthritis, common cold, fever, influenza, peptic ulcer, and rheumatism. Although clinical data have not been substantial, the herb has been found to be useful in the treatment of earache, epilepsy, heart disease, malaria, sinusitis, snake bites, and vomiting. Holy basil, in ayurvedic medicine, has been used as an anti-helminthic, too. It has also been favoured, by herbalists, to help stimulate lactation in nursing women, and prevent hair loss.
Some experts, however, advise that holy basil should be used during pregnancy and lactation under medical supervision. Some herbalists also recommend that holy basil should be used with caution in patients taking drugs such as acetaminophen [e.g., paracetamol].
While there are no general precautions, or safety measures, concerning medicinal and laboratory test interactions, or paediatric use of holy basil, researchers suggest that the herb should be administered in children only under medical supervision.
Ayurvedic physicians have used holy basil to balance our chakra system, no less. There are, as you may know, seven major chakras in the human body. They form the energy centres, and points of energy flow. They act as energy "links" in the body. They relate to the energetic connection that exists in the realm of our consciousness and spiritual existence.
How to take
- 4 leaves; or, 6-12 gm daily — in water as decoction
- 1 capsule, 250-500 mg, daily as food supplement, or as recommended by your therapist.
Some herbalists also recommend the use of holy basil tea, which is made by steaming one teaspoon of holy basil leaves - in a cup of water - for 10 minutes. Take three cups, per day.
A Long Tradition
Besides India, holy basil holds a place in Surinam's cultural tradition and medicine, with the juice derived from the leaves used effectively against fever, snake and scorpion bites. Holy basil is well-known for its tonic effects. The key function of a tonic is to maintain balance with emphasis on staying healthy. There is a long history of the use of tonic remedies, or rejuvenating, or rasayana, herbs to restore balance, in ayurveda. This is not all. In China too, tonic herbs are used as "imperial" or "superior" herbs. Holy basil is a tonic herb — it is also the most spiritual.
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