Tulsi or Holy basil is a widely known herb in the family Lamiaceae. It is native to India and vastly cultivated throughout Southeast Asia.
Tulsi has proved to be highly effective in protecting our body from various infections and diseases of the liver, skin, kidney, etc. It contains powerful oxidants that can help in keeping your blood pressure levels and cholesterol levels under control, making it one of the best heart-healthy foods. It is also good for diabetes as it possesses hypoglycaemic properties which are known to help lower blood sugar levels. It is recommended to include tulsi in your diabetic diet plan. Owing to its numerous health benefits, tulsi is rightly called the ‘Queen of Herbs’.
Tulsi has a special place in Ayurveda as well as the home of Hindus in India. It is considered sacred by Hindus and worshipped by them. Three main types of Tulsi are seen growing in India:
- Bright green leaves called Ram Tulsi
- Purplish green leaves called Krishna Tulsi
- Common wild Vana Tulsi.
Tulsi leaves are rich in vitamins A, C and K and minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and potassium. It also has a good amount of protein and fibre. Here’s an in-depth nutritional chart for Tulsi (also known as Basil) for a 100g serving. Note that when used as a herb you will consume much fewer quantities of Tulsi.
|Amount per 100g serving||Percentage of Daily Required Intake|
|Total fats||0.6 g||0%|
|Saturated fats||0 g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrates||2.7 g|
|Dietary fibre||1.6 g||6%|
Keep in mind that fresh Tulsi leaves and dried (or powdered leaves) may contain slightly higher proportions of the above nutrients.
Research-Backed Benefits of Tulsi are:
1. Natural Immunity Booster:
Tulsi is rich in Vitamin C and zinc. It thus acts as a natural immunity booster and keeps infections at bay. It has immense anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties which protect us from a variety of infections. Tulsi leaves extract increases the T helper cells and natural killer cells activity, boosting the immune system.
Also, Read 7 Tips to Boost Immunity.
2. Reduces Fever (antipyretic) & Pain(analgesic):
Tulsi has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties which help to fight infections, thus reducing fever. The fresh juice of Tulsi taken with black pepper powder cures periodic fevers. Tulsi leaves boiled with powdered cardamom (elaichi) in half a litre of water and mixed with sugar and milk, are also effective in reducing temperature.
Eugenol, a terpene with pain-relieving properties found in Tulsi reduces aches in the body.
3. Reduces Cold, Cough & Other Respiratory Disorders:
Camphene, cineole and eugenol present in Tulsi help reduce cold and congestion in the chest.
Juice of Tulsi leaves mixed with honey and ginger is effective in bronchitis, asthma, influenza, cough and cold.
4. Reduces Stress & Blood Pressure:
Tulsi contains compounds Ocimumosides A and B. These compounds reduce stress and balance the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine in the brain. The anti-inflammatory properties of Tulsi reduce inflammation and blood pressure.
5. Anti-cancer properties:
Phytochemicals present in Tulsi have strong antioxidant properties. Thus, they help in protecting us from skin, liver, oral and lung cancers.
6. Good for Heart Health:
Tulsi has a profound effect on the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases by lowering blood lipid content, suppressing ischemia and stroke, reducing hypertension and also due to its higher antioxidant properties.
Read more about tips for a healthy heart.
7. Good for Diabetes Patients:
Extract of Tulsi leaves has shown to lower blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 Diabetes.
8. Useful in Kidney stones & Gouty Arthritis:
Tulsi detoxifies the body and has diuretic properties. It decreases the level of uric acid in the body, which is the main reason why kidney stones are formed. Reduction in uric acid levels also provides relief to patients suffering from Gout.
9. Useful in Gastrointestinal Disorders:
Tulsi leaves help to cure indigestion and loss of appetite. They are also used for the treatment of flatulence and bloating.
10. Good for Skin & Hair:
Tulsi helps clear out the skin of blemishes and acne. It is rich in antioxidants and that helps it to prevent premature ageing. Tulsi also strengthens our hair roots, thus preventing hair loss.
The antifungal properties of Tulsi prevent the development of fungus and dandruff.
Also Read: 7 Home Remedies for Glowing Skin
11. Acts as an Insect Repellent:
For centuries, the dried Tulsi leaves have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects.
12. Insect Bites & Blood Purification:
Apart from simply repelling insects, the extracts of Tulsi leaves can also be applied to insect bites and stings to ease the pain. They also reduce swelling or resultant irritation to a great extent. Moreover, daily consumption of Tulsi also helps to purify the blood.
13. Oral and Dental Health:
Tulsi has often been used in herbal toothpaste and that is simply because of its amazing teeth and gum strengthening properties. Moreover, it can act on mouth ulcers and therefore provide comprehensive oral health care.
14. Treatment of Eczema:
Tulsi is also available commercially in the form of ingestible pills and topical ointments. These can be used for the treatment of skin conditions like eczema. They also provide long-lasting relief from itching and irritation.
15. Reduces Stress & Fatigue:
Research has also shown that Tulsi has several physical and mental health benefits. For instance, consuming a tulsi drink after a tiring day at work can be revitalising and help to relieve stress and fatigue. Similarly, a tulsi drink during prolonged hours of study can also help to enhance concentration for students.
How to Consume Tulsi?
- Consume Tulsi leaves raw, plucked fresh from the plant, add it your tea or make kadha out of it.
- Tulsi tea: To make tulsi tea, boil 1 cup of water and pour it over 1 tsp of fresh tulsi leaves, 1/2 tsp of dried tulsi leaves or 1/3 tsp of tulsi powder. Cover the water in a pot or mug and let it seep for 15-20 minutes. Then strain the leaves, add honey if desired and enjoy.
- Tulsi powders and supplements are also available in the market for consumption.
Side Effects of Consuming Tulsi That You Must Know:
- Tulsi may affect the reproductive capacity of women who are trying to conceive.
- Some people experience nausea or diarrhoea when they first add tulsi tea to their diet, so it is best to start with small quantities and increase your consumption over time.
- Tulsi may lower blood sugar and should be used with caution in people who have diabetes and are on blood-sugar-lowering medication.
1. Is drinking tulsi water helpful?
Drinking tulsi water in the morning on an empty stomach is a great way to begin your day. This helps flush out the toxins and cleanses the stomach by easing digestion. Tulsi leaves are loaded with antioxidants that improve the functioning of the digestive organs.
2. Does Tulsi help in fighting depression?
Depression is a state of mind that occurs due to an imbalance of Vata Dosha. Consuming Tulsi regularly helps relieve the symptoms of depression to some extent as it has Vata balancing properties and promotes good sleep.
3. Why should Tulsi be avoided during pregnancy?
Tulsi should be avoided during pregnancy as it may stimulate uterine contractions thereby increasing the risk of miscarriage.
4. Is Tulsi good for weight loss?
Yes, tulsi leaves can rev up the body’s metabolism. The faster your metabolism, the easier it is to burn calories. Tulsi also boosts digestion naturally and aids in weight loss.
Also Read: 10 Health Benefits of Turmeric
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.