The Queen of Herbs
Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum sanctum), also called Tulasi or Holy basil is a sacred plant in Hindu belief. It is an aromatic plant considered as a small perennial shrub in the family Lamiaceae., the mint family that is native to India. This Holy basil or Tulsi is called as the ‘Queen of Herbs’ because of its divine and medicinal properties. The plant is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes.
The tulsi plant is grown 2 to 3 feet tall with strongly scented green leaves and have much branched subshrub with hairy stems. It has purple – creamish coloured flowers and contain essential oil. There are mainly four varieties of Tulsi plant – Kapoor Tulsi, Krishna Tulsi, Rama Tulsi and Vana Tulsi. Each has its own spiritual and medicinal values. The plant grows wild in tropics and warm regions.
A Hindu household is considered incomplete without Tulsi, the sacred plant. Tulsi symbolises purity and people worship the plant. It is belived to promote longevity and life long happiness. Hindus perform special puja for this Holy basil and light up diya near it. The stems, leaves, seeds and even the soil is considered as holy. The plant is widely incorporated in religious rituals and auspicious ceremonies. According to the ancient texts, Tulsi is glorified as the one who helps in bringing people closer to the divine.
The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word tulasi is “beyond compare” or “the incomparable one”. It is considered as “the mother medicine of nature”. It is certain that Tulsi will emerge in the near future as a major player in the growing field of herbal health supplements and medicines.
Some of the medicinal properties of the plant are:
1- It has an important role in the traditional Ayurvedic and Unani systems of holistic health and herbal medicine.
2- The holy basil is a homemade remedy for a lot of common ailments like like common cold, headaches, stomach disorders, various skin diseases etc.
3- Tulsi is often enjoyed as a simple herbal tea and is frequently blended with other herbs and spices for various medicinal and culinary purposes.
4- Holy Basil has unique role in the prevention and treatment of stress disorders.
5- It improves both cellular and humoral immunity, enhances stamina, reduces fatigue and lowers blood pressure.
6- It is used as an anti-cancer element and protects from the negative effects of radiation and chemotherapy by reducing the cell and tissue damages.
7- The Tulsi plant also has benefits relating to various human body systems like cardiovascular system, digestive system, respiratory system, muscular and nervous system etc.
8- The Holy basil has antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties that enhances the efficacy of many other therapeutic treatments and provides a rich supply of antioxidants and other nutrients.
9- Tulsi contains hundreds of beneficial compounds known as phyto-chemicals that promote general health and support the body's natural defence against stress and diseases.
The World Health Organization has recommended that traditional health and folk medicine systems must be integrated with modern medical therapies to more effectively address health problems worldwide.
How to take care of the plant?
The most important and fundamental principle of caring Tulasi plant is regular and perpetual care.
The plant grows in a sunny and humid climate.
Watering should be done in every three to five days, where the outdoor plant may need more watering.
It is good to pluck each little stem after the growth of about two or three pairs of leaves. It helps the plant to branch out and to get stronger and fuller.
Indirect sunlight is best for basil plants.
Basil needs soil that can retain moisture.
Once the basil plant starts sprouting flowers, it is good to pluck them since it may affect the growth of the plant.
Basil plants are less likely to develop pests because of its anti-bacterial properties.
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