Tulsi leaves : Tulsi is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil. It is widely known across the Indian subcontinent as a medicinal plant and an herbal tea, commonly used in Ayurveda, and has an important role within the Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving holy basil plants or leaves. This plant is revered as an elixir of life.
1. Superstitions related to Tulsi
If you come to think of it, most of our rituals and traditions stand on firm scientific grounds. However, the factual logic behind most of our beliefs and customs has been buried under the sands of time and we are blindly following whatever has been handed over to us through generations, that too without questioning. Let’s take a halt today and try to unearth some genuine reasons related to the adages associated with our very own Holy Basil or Tulsi…
2. Shall we chew Tulsi leaves or swallow?
According to popular belief, Tulsi is the wife of Lord Vishnu, thus chewing it is considered as a disrespectful act. However, that’s a religious take on the subject. When looked scientifically, according to botanists, Tulsi has a maximum quantity of Mercury in it. Precisely speaking, when you apply raw Mercury on your teeth, your teeth will start falling immediately. The effect of Tulsi does not have such immediate effect but it surely damages the teeth.
3. Tulsi leaves should not be plucked by women
The reason behind this popular belief might just shock you. It is believed that women have a high proportion of raja component when compared to men. There is generation of heat energy in the dormant and serene sattvik frequencies present in the tulsi plant by the touch of women which leads to decrease in its sattvikta (sattva quality). Hence they are prohibited from gathering or plucking the tulsi leaves.
4. Tulsi leaves should not be plucked on Sunday
As per the Padma Purana “Any person, who picks Tulasi leaves on Dvadashi, falls into a grievously hellish planet to suffer.”The philosophy behind this is that Tulsi Maharani, the pure devotee of the Lord, observes a fast on these days. So the devotee in order to not to disturb or hurt her, don’t pluck leaves. I am not able to establish much logic here but I assume that this tradition would have came into being to discourage the plucking of leafs for environment purposes.
5. Tulsi leaves should not be plucked in the evening/night
That is because nocturnal insects and bugs might bite you. More importantly, there is no photosynthetic activity at night, so plants tend to release more carbon dioxide than oxygen. The converse would be true during the day. If you wander around a garden full of trees and plants at night, you might end up inhaling more carbon dioxide. Hence the caution.
6. Ask Tulsi permission if you want its leaves
The point is that Tulsi is widely used in Ayurveda for medicinal purposes. The plant has also been found to have antimicrobial properties, thanks to the ursolic acid and carvacrol constituents found in it. This particular belief and more like it were made popular only to discourage the public from destroying this miraculous plant.
7. Worshipping Tulsi
Wherever the aroma of Tulsi is carried by the wind, it purifies the atmosphere and frees all animals from all baser tendencies.” Along with antimicrobial properties, the phytochemicals present in tulsi offer antioxidant as well as immune-enhancing qualities. It also has adaptogenic properties, that is, it enhances the body’s ability to adapt to stress. Worshiping Tulsi is equivalent to protecting it, preserving it.
8. Benefits of Tulsi
Popularly known in the western world as Holy basil, the Latin name of Tulsi is Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum sanctum. Now let’s talk about some unknown and unheard benefits of the Tulsi plant.
9. Helps fight stress
Basil leaves are regarded as an ‘adaptogen’ or anti-stress agent. Recent studies have shown that the leaves afford significant protection against stress. Even healthy persons can chew 12 leaves of basil, twice a day, to prevent stress. It purifies blood and helps prevent several common elements.
10. Helps beat diabetes
Leaves of holy basil are packed with antioxidants and essential oils that produce eugenol, methyl eugenol and caryophyllene. Collectively these substances help the pancreatic beta cells (cells that store and release insulin) function properly. This in turn helps increase sensitivity to insulin. Lowering one’s blood sugar and treating diabetes effectively.
11. Helps fight kidney stones
One of the tulsi plant uses is that its leaves have a strengthening effect on the kidneys. In case of renal stones, the consumption of juice of basil leaves mixed with honey helps remove these stones through the urinary tract. Tulsi being a detoxifying agent can help to reduce uric acid level which is the main reason behind kidney stones.
12. For headache
Headache due to heat is very common. So just make a paste of the basil leaves and sandalwood and apply it to the forehead. Its cooling effects will definitely make you feel relaxed and calm.
13. Tulsi benefits for skin diseases
Tulsi is known as healing for many diseases and ailments. Juice of Tulsi leaves are used in the treatment ringworm and skin disorders. For skin problems, the mix of Tulsi and Aloe Vera is beneficial. Some physicians also used this beneficial herb for leucoderma cases. It is used as skin ointment.
14. Digestion Aid
The traditional use for tulsi is to help digestion and the organs associated with it. A tea made with tulsi is used to relieve stomachache, excessive acidity in the stomach and constipation. The herb is also a remedy for nausea, especially when combined with ginger in a tea.
Vitamin-C, A, phytonutrients and the essential oils in Holy Basil are excellent antioxidants and protect the body from nearly all the damage caused by free radicals in the body, which are hazardous byproducts of cellular metabolism that are responsible for a wide swath of diseases, including cancer.
Tulsi is anti-carcinogenic in nature and helps to treat some forms of cancer including breast cancer. Tulsi restricts the blood vessels that feed tumours. It also helps to inhibit the growth of oral cancer that is caused due to tobacco. But tulsi should not be used as a sole treatment of cancer however.
17. Treats Dandruff and Dry Scalp
One of the major causes of hair loss is dandruff and dry scalp. Add a small quantity of Tulsi oil to regular carrier oil like coconut oil and massage well on your scalp. Tulsi helps to improve the blood circulation and keeps your scalp cool reducing itchiness and dandruff and thus promotes hair growth. You can also apply tulsi paste which keeps the scalp, roots clean and keeps the dandruff at bay.
18. Maintains Cholesterol Level
It contains a powerful anti-oxidant compound (eugenol) which helps in maintaining the blood cholesterol level and blood pressure thus lowers the risk of heart disorders.