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 heart, liver, skin, kidney etc. So, 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.
11 Research-Backed Benefits of Tulsi are:
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.
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, is also effective in reducing temperature. 
Eugenol, a terpene with pain-relieving properties found in Tulsi reduces aches in the body.
Reduces Cold, Cough & Other Respiratory Disorders:
Camphene, cineole, and eugenol present in Tulsi helps to 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.
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.Anti-inflammatory properties of Tulsi reduce inflammation and blood pressure.
Phytochemicals present in Tulsi have strong antioxidant property. Thus, they help in protecting us from skin, liver, oral and lung cancers.
Good for Heart Health:
Tulsi has a profound effect on treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases by means of 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.
Good for Diabetes Patients:
Extract of Tulsi leaves has shown to lower blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 Diabetes.
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.
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.
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.
Antifungal properties of Tulsi prevent the development of fungus and dandruff.
Also Read: 7 Home Remedies for Glowing Skin
Acts as an Insect Repellent:
For centuries, the dried Tulsi leaves have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects.
How to Consume Tulsi?
- Consume Tulsi leaves raw, plucked fresh from the plant, add it in 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 its 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.
Also Read: 10 Health Benefits of Turmeric