Holy basil, known as Tulsi, is the most common medicinal and sacred plant found in every Indian house. Along with its other uses, this plant is believed to be a source of happiness. The leaves of the Tulsi plant have a sweet aromatic smell and minty taste.
Tulsi or basil leaves are traditional herbs that come in many different types, and Ayurveda is where its roots lie. Indians frequently revere tulsi, known as the “queen of herbs”.
These green leaves are commonly eaten raw in India to cure cough and cold. Traditionally, basil has been a part of every home as it is believed to have Vastu benefits. Hence the plant has an important place in Indian traditions.
The essential oil extracted from the basil is used in the cosmetic industry and for preparing lotion, soap, perfume and shampoo.
The sacred herb contains vitamins A, C and K, as well as minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. It has a substantial quantity of protein and fibre, both of which are vital for good health. Tulsi leaves are a natural way to treat and prevent a wide range of diseases.
According to an NCBI article titled, “Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons”, tulsi is the most significant herb in Ayurveda, and recent studies are now validating its health benefits.
Tulsi consumption helps protect organs and tissues from chemical and physical stress caused by extended physical activity, ischemia, physical restraint, and exposure to cold and loud noises. Chemical stress is caused by industrial pollutants and heavy metals.
Unique health benefits of Tulsi
1.Helps beat stress
Tulsi is a natural herb with anti-stress qualities. Hence, sipping a cup of Tulsi tea can help a person rejuvenate when they feel stressed or anxious.
2.Protection against infection and treating wounds
Tulsi is long known to have anti-inflammatory properties and anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. It can also act as a painkiller.
3.Improves digestion system
Tulsi plant is known to enhance livers health which is why it aids in improving the digestion system.
4.Aids in losing weight
Tulsi also helps you lose weight by releasing toxins from your body by improving your gut health. It accelerates the rate of metabolism in the body, which further accelerates the fat burning process in the body.
5.Dissolving kidney stones
Tulsi is a great detox agent; therefore, it can help people who suffer from kidney stones. It helps to reduce uric acid levels in the body, which is a leading cause of kidney stones.
6. Helps fight Diabetes
Tulsi tea can be effective in managing type 2 Diabetes. It’s one of the most preferred herbal teas for managing Diabetes.
7. Dental and oral health
Tooth cavity is the most common dental problem that people face in their life. The good news is that Tulsi has antimicrobial properties that help fight bacteria and germs in the mouth.
8.Skin and hair benefits
Tulsi is packed with antioxidants coupled with minerals and vitamins, which can help fight the signs of ageing. It can also reduce the itchiness of the scalp as well as control hair fall.
9. Good for the skin
Tulsi drops help the skin to get rid of blemishes and acne. It is rich in antioxidants and that helps to prevent premature ageing.
Tulsi contains zinc and vitamin C, two components that help fight infections. Daily intake of Tulsi leaves or Tulsi tea helps to boost immunity.
Nutritional values of tulsi Leaves
As already mentioned, holy basil is loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, protein and carbs. It is an excellent source of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and manganese.
The holy basil leaf is rich in fat-soluble vitamins A and K, as well as vitamin C. Ursolic acid, linalool, carvacrol, rosmarinic acid, lutein, estragole and zeaxanthin are among the active substances found in basil leaves.
Nutritional value of Tulsi (Ocimum gratissimum)
- Energy – 22.4 Kcal
- Carbohydrate – 2.65 g
- Protein – 3.15 g
- Dietary Fibre – 1.6 g
- Fat – 0.64 g
- Water – 92.06 g
- Calcium – 177 mg
- Iron – 3.17 mg
- Potassium – 295 mg
- Sodium – 4 mg
- Phosphorus – 56 mg
- Zinc – 0.81 mg
- Manganese – 1.148 mg
- β -Carotene – 3142 µg
- Thiamine – 0.034 mg
- Niacin – 0.902 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.076 mg
- Pantothenic acid – 0.209 mg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.155 mg
- Choline – 11.4 mg
- Vitamin C – 18 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.8 mg
- Vitamin K – 414.8 µg
The above-mentioned nutrition values of tulsi are from an article titled, ‘Pharmacological and physico-chemical properties of Tulsi (Ocimum gratissimum L.): An updated review’.
Side effects of tulsi Leaves
Affects male and female fertility
In a study conducted on animals, published in the International Journal of Ayurveda Research, 2010, it was discovered that tulsi could lower sperm motility and count in animals when consumed in large quantities.
It is wise for males with infertility issues to prevent this negative effect by lowering the consumption of the herb, even though the same has not yet been proven in people.
Eugenol is a substance present in tulsi. Eugenol can protect the liver from damage due to toxins, but excessive amounts can harm the liver and result in vomiting, diarrhoea, a rapid heartbeat and convulsions.
Lowers blood sugar
Tulsi is known to reduce blood sugar levels. However, if a person is currently taking Diabetes medication, consuming tulsi leaves could increase the effect and cause the sugar level to drop too low.
Harmful to those on blood-thinning medicines
Blood thinning is a known side effect of the tulsi plant. Tulsi is an excellent alternative for people who choose not to take blood thinning medication. However, consuming tulsi while already on blood thinners may have a negative impact on a person’s health. People who use anti-clotting medicine should avoid basil leaf consumption.
Tulsi leaves can have an impact on the health of a pregnant woman and her unborn child. In extreme circumstances, it may even result in miscarriage. The herb may lead to potentially harmful uterine contractions.
Tulsi leaves could increase blood flow to the pelvis and uterus, which might lead to contractions. Nevertheless, there isn’t enough data to support or refute the usage of tulsi during pregnancy. To be on the safe side, specialists advise women to cease consuming tulsi.
A clinical study noted temporary moderate nausea as a side effect of tulsi use. The 13-week trial was short on unfavourable consequences, but this does not rule out the possibility of long-term side effects.
Nevertheless, the traditional history of tulsi use suggests that any significant long-term effects are uncommon and that daily ingestion may be safe. However, this has to be confirmed by additional research.
Damages tooth enamel
It’s likely for someone to advise swallowing tulsi leaves rather than chewing them. The same has a scientific justification. Tulsi leaves shouldn’t be chewed since they contain mercury, which harms the enamel.
Tulsi contains mercury, which when chewed, releases in the mouth and damages and discolours the teeth. Additionally, tulsi leaves are acidic by nature, but the mouth is alkaline, which can hasten the deterioration of the tooth enamel.
To prevent tooth discolouration, one should just swallow them down.
How to consume Tulsi?
Here are a few safe ways to consume tulsi.
- Tulsi tea
- Tulsi-infused ghee or honey
- Tulsi juice
- Tulsi water.
Tulsi leaves can be directly added to the tea and consumed regularly.
Tulsi tea is preferable owing to the enormous health benefits the drink has to offer.
Tips for managing your lifestyle safely with Tulsi
- Tulsi has no adverse side effects during human clinical trials. However, it is recommended that people who are lactating, pregnant or trying to conceive should avoid holy basil.
- It is not clear whether Tulsi is safe for infants, children, pregnant women or nursing mothers. However, there is a possibility that Tulsi can affect a woman’s ability to conceive.
- Tulsi tea can cause Nausea and Diarrhoea when trying for the first time or when added to the diet, so start by drinking small quantities of it and increase over time.
- Tulsi is very effective in lowering blood sugar levels and so it should be consumed with caution, especially for people who are on medication for Diabetes.
Seek medical advice before consuming tulsi is best to prevent side effects. Particular care should be for youngsters, the elderly, pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Holy basil, or tulsi, scientifically referred to as Ocimum sanctum, is often mentioned in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen herb that can cure various ailments, particularly those brought on by stress.
Numerous medical benefits can be obtained from tulsi leaves. They support the healthier functioning of the body organs, including the liver, kidney and heart.
They also help to relax and reduce tension by calming the mind. Therefore, consuming two to three tulsi leaves every day might work wonders and improve human health.
It is advisable to always speak with a doctor before introducing holy basil or any other supplement to the diet. The FDA does not regulate the quality, purity or effectiveness of supplements and herbs made from Tulsi and so it is best to grow holy basil at your homes. Otherwise, look out for organically grown Tulsi by a reputable source in a rural, unpolluted environment. When basil is grown in a polluted environment, it is twice as toxic.
Can we drink tulsi water daily?
Daily consumption of Tulsi tea has a relaxing effect and lowers stress. Due to its ability to balance Kapha, Tulsi is said by Ayurveda to aid in the reduction of asthmatic symptoms. Additionally, tulsi is helpful for treating ringworm.
Which tulsi is best for health?
All types of tulsi render far-reaching health benefits. Kapoor tulsi, Krishna tulsi and holy basil are prominent types that are known to cure various mild and life-threatening diseases.
How many tulsi leaves can be eaten in a day?
Consuming 5 to 7 raw fresh tulsi leaves every day is preferable, especially when taken early in the morning.
What diseases does tulsi cure?
Tulsi is beneficial for treating common cold, flu, fever, asthma, stress, Diabetes, heart disease, malaria, liver disease, diarrhoea and insomnia.
Who should not take tulsi?
People with Diabetes, hypothyroidism and who are already on blood-thinning medications should stay away from tulsi. Though it is safe, pregnant women should be cautious while taking tulsi; avoiding it is advisable.