Vinay Kumar Singh.
Kumar Organic Products Research Centre Pvt. Ltd.,
Ayurveda describes Tulsi as “Mother Medicine of Nature” and “The Queen of Herbs,” and is revered as an “Elixir of Life”. Tulsi in Sanskrit means “the incomparable one”, and rightly so!as it has both medicinal and spiritual properties.
Basil has a strong history in ancient traditional medicinal system of India, Ayurveda, in addition to other medicinal herbal traditions. As far as Ayurveda treatments are concerned, the holy herb is used in about 300 treatment cases. It shows its medical importance.
Throughout the world, this wonder herb has been used for centuries in various forms like dried powder, herbal tea, or oil. It is believed to be the royal oil that strengthens the mind and heart. It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-depressive.
Basil offers lots of benefit to Skin, Hair & Health of human being. It also helps environment. Recently scientists and researchers have found out that basil can bring the environmental benefits. Basil will release oxygen for 20 hours. Moreover, it can absorb carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide from the environment.
The holy basil plant (Ocimum sanctum L.), commonly known as Tulsi or Tulasi in India, is a leafy herb belonging to the mint family, or Lamiaceae family. There are three variants of tulsi (in India) – Ram tulsi (the most common type, with broad bright green leaves that are slightly sweet), Shyama tulsi ( the less common purplish green-leaves) and the common wild Vana tulsi – and each of them is used in the same way to treat ailments. They have a similar taste as well.
Holy basil is an erect, many-branched subshrub, 30–60 cm (12–24 in) tall with hairy stems. Leaves are green or purple; they are simple, petioled, with an ovate blade up to 5 cm (2 in) long, which usually has a slightly toothed margin and strongly scented.
Some of the phytochemical constituents of tulsi are oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid, eugenol, carvacrol, linalool, and β-caryophyllene (about 8%).
Tulsi essential oil consists mostly of eugenol (~70%) β-elemene (~11.0%), β-caryophyllene (~8%), and germacrene (~2%), with the balance being made up of various trace compounds, mostly terpenes.
The holy basil is possibly native to North Central India and grows throughout the eastern world tropics. It has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years and with its wide culinary reach, different varieties of the basil plant have been adopted into the cuisines of different cultures. The flavours of sweet basil are all too familiar to Italian dishes where it is used liberally, whereas Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora), lemon basil (O. X citriodorum), and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) have become a staple in many Asian cuisines.
History of basil is rich with other uses in society. In ancient Egypt, basil was likely used as an embalming and preserving herb as it has been found in tombs and mummies. Perhaps because of its embalming applications, basil was also a symbol of mourning in Greece where it was known as basilikon phuton, meaning magnificent, royal, or kingly herb. Basil also carried diverse cultural and symbolic meaning through history. For instance, in Jewish folklore basil is believed to add strength while fasting. In Portugal, basil plants make up part of a gift to a sweetheart or lover on certain religious holidays. Whereas in ancient Greece, basil symbolized hatred. These are but a few examples of the lasting cultural importance of the herb.
More or less all the Indian families are having Tulsi plants in their homes because of its medicinal, religious, spiritual, and aesthetic values. It is found even in Slums of Mumbai, Chennai & other cities of India, at least in a pot, as it is deep rooted in the mind of Indian. This plant is worshipped in India and its leaves are used in all religious functions, be it puja or last rites.
Tulsi and its Health Benefits:
Tulsi is known for its never ending list of medicinal properties:
1. Tulsi is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are the molecules which are produced by the body in response to various radiations or environmental stress. It therefore relieves diabetes and hypertension.
2. Tulsi contains linoleic acid known for its benefits for the skin. It is also known to contain triterpenoid ursolic acid which is used in the prevention and treatment of various skin diseases like itching, ringworm, skin cancer etc. It is known for its anti-aging properties therefore used as an anti-wrinkle and to enhance skin elasticity.
3. It is used as a common household remedy for fever. It acts as an antibiotic, antiviral and anti-carcinogen. It is used for the adjunctive treatment of hepatitis, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue and swine flu.
4. It helps to improve the immune system and also improves digestion.
5. It is an adaptogen, therefore helps to regulate cortisol, a stress hormone in our bodies hence alleviating stress or adapting our bodies to stress.
6. It also acts as an insect repellent.
7. It is known to decrease the risks of kidney infections as it regulates the uric acid levels in the body.
8. If taken moderately, chewing of Tulsi leaves is said to improve gum health and prevent mouth ulcers.
9. Drinking Tulsi tea or a decoction of Tulsi helps fight symptoms of asthma and other respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis.
10. Tulsi is loaded with phytonutrients which possess anti-inlammatory, anti- oxidative and anti carcinogenic properties. Phytonutrients enhance immunity, intercellular communication and aids in the repair of DNA damage.
11. Tulsi is rich in essential oils and vitamins such as A and C.
12. When Tulsi is combined with herbs such as “Arjuna”, it is known to regulate heart diseases.
Use of Tulsi for Skin Care & Hair Care.
Basil, in the form of leaves as well as essential oil, has been used in the beauty regimen of Indian women since time immemorial. Be it pimples, acne, or blackheads, or dandruff and hair loss, basil does wonders. Loaded with powerful antioxidants and nutrients, these natural effects are time-tested and effective ones.
Anti-bacterial Properties: Basil leaves are proven that to have anti-bacterial properties. The anti-bacterial properties of basil leaves are related to its volatile oils that contain linalool, estragole, myrcene, eugenol, cineole, and limonene. Experts discovered that basil can restrict the growth of numerous bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Yersinia enterocolitica, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Many species of pathogenic bacteria cannot be treated with the use of antibiotic drugs now because of their resistant ability over time. However, essential oil of basil is effective in stopping the growth of pathogenic bacteria. According to a study published in the July 2003 in the Journal of Microbiology Methods, essential oil of basil can help to prevent the bacteria like Enterococcus, Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas from spreading. These bacteria have built a high level of resistance to antibiotic drugs; therefore, the treatment with antibiotic drugs is not effective anymore. However, basil can work.
One of the benefits of basil leaves for the health is DNA protection. Basil leaves have the great sources of antioxidants and other great phytonutrients. Phytonutrients like vicenin and orientin are effective in protecting chromosomes as well as cell structures from oxygen-based damage and radiation.
Anti-inflammatory Properties: Besides anti-bacterial effects basil contains anti-inflammatory properties as one of its benefit for our health. The volatile oils of basil can block the enzyme in our body known as cyclooxygenase (COX). Basil can work as many prescribed anti-inflammation medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin that inhibit cyclooxygenase.
Prevent Blackheads: Blackheads are the common skin condition which can affect anyone, especially teenagers. Blackheads are caused by clogged skin pores with dirt and oil. After this oil gets oxidized, it turns black. Therefore, we call these small dots as blackheads. Although we clean our face daily carefully with cleanser and exfoliator, the blackheads can appear on nose, chin and cheeks.
One can use it as a toner that clears our skin from blackheads. Moreover, this basil toner also makes the skin look smooth.
Reduce Swelling And Inflammation: Many studies have shown that the chemical compounds of basil are effective in curing swelling and pain caused by inflammation. Stress increases the risk of developing inflammation conditions. And basil acts as an adaptogen because it can treat emotional and physical stress.
Relieve Itchiness, Skin Infection And Ringworm :
Because of its anti-itch compounds called thymol and camphene, basil is effective in treating skin irritations, skin infections, and itching. Camphene in basil will give a cooling effect on your affected skin.
Lighten Skin Tone : Basil is one of the most wonderful remedies for glowing radiant skin because it contains antioxidants and natural oils. Moreover, urusolic acids improve our skin tone, get rid of dead skin cells, remove dirt and make our skin look brighter. It has the great natural detoxifying power that can keep the skin protected from the effects of ultraviolet rays, pollution, infections and stress. These harmful factors cause dull and dark skin. Basil also contains moisturizing and nourishing effects; therefore, it will give our skin the smooth and flawless texture.
Tighten Your Skin and act as anti-aging:
One of health benefits of basil leaves for skin is that it brings in tightening effect. This is because basil is loaded with antioxidants and flavonoids. Basil contains effective anti-aging properties; therefore, it can help the skin fight against oxidative stress and free radical damage. As a result, basil will slow down the aging process and prevent aging signs such as wrinkles, age spots and fine lines on our skin. It boosts the growth of new skin cells and gives our skin a supple, soft and fresh texture.
Anti- Dandruff: Because of its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, basil is effective in treating scalp irritation, flaking, itchiness, and dandruff. Basil cleans our scalp and hair by removing dead cells and impurities from the scalp and the skin.
Boost The Hair Growth: Basil is loaded with nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant that can fasten the process of growing our hair. Basil increases the blood flow to the scalp, strengthening the hair strands and preventing the breakage.
Treat And Prevent Premature Grey Hair: When we age, we have grey hair. Grey hair is a normal condition. However, some people may have grey hair in their 20s without seeing any other signs of aging process. If you have grey hair early in your life, you are experiencing premature grey hair that is considered as an abnormal hair condition. Studies have shown that there are many causes of premature grey hair, including vitamin B-12 deficiency, problems with thyroid gland or pituitary. Other researches showed a link between premature grey hair and significant calcium decrease. Basil prevents premature grey hair.
Improve Oral Health: It can help to prevent pyorrhoea, bad breath, and other periodontal diseases. In order to have white healthy teeth, one can purchase the toothpaste containing basil as its ingredient.
Holy basil is believed to help strengthen the immune system and can help reduce the signs of aging by regulating stress, increasing immunity and eliminating free radicals. Its adaptogenic properties actually increase the body’s ability to resist stress.
Packed with vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and phytonutrients, Tulsi is the hero ingredient for healthy hair and skin.