There was a time when mankind was very close to Mother Nature. It provided him with food and whenever he became ill, he got medicine also from nature. Urban lifestyle of today has driven people away from nature and they are more and more forgetting the importance and utility of most of these plants. One such plant with multiple utility values is Tulsi.
Tulsi is found in almost all the Hindu households in our country and it is worshipped religiously.Its religious importance in Hindu culture can be understood from the fact that it is one of the essential ingredients of prasadam & Charanamruta.
It is a small annual plant and there are many verities. However Ram Tulsi (with light green leaves) and Shyam Tulsi (with blackish leaves) are most common verities. Both of them have almost similar properties despite difference in colour.
Tulsi is known by different names in different languages- eg. Gauri or Vrinda in Sanskrit, Shree Tulsi in Kannada and Holy Basil in English. It is also known as Ocimum sanctum in Latin. Due to its being supposedly close to Lord Vishnu it is also named as Vishnupriya or Haripriya.
In Indian culture this plant is said to be the abode of all the Gods, therefore one is said to receive the blessings of all of them by worshipping Tulsi. As it possess lots of antibiotic properties, just touching, protecting and watering it helps in bestowing most of its blessings to the person in the form of these properties.
All the different parts of the plant like leaves, flowers, roots and bark can be used. As the plant contains antibiotic properties in its different parts, it is generally used to cure or contain contagious & infectious diseases. Because of its antibiotic properties it is said that a Tulsi stand cleans atmosphere to miles around it.
- It is good for heart and easily digestible. It corrects the deficiencies in blood and helps in curing vomiting, hiccups, epilepsy and fever etc. Taking few leaves of Tulsi daily cures many diseases and is good for the overall health and digestion.
- 10 leaves of Tulsi, 5 black pepper, 5 almonds if ground with a little honey and taken, help in improving memory.
- Leaves of Tulsi are specific for many fevers. During rainy season its leaves boiled with tea, act as preventive against various types of fever.
- Juice of Tulsi and lemon if taken in equal proportion helps in curing headache. Few drops of its juice if applied into nose or rubbed on forehead also cure headache.
- Sucking 2-3 leaves of Tulsi after meals removes bad odour and is good for teeth and gums& infections.
- Alkaloids found in Tulsi are helpful in detoxification of skin.
- Putting few leaves of Tulsi in water helps in purification of water.
Due to its multifarious uses the plant of Tulsi has been accorded a very high and exalted place in Hindu culture. We should plant more and more seedlings of Tulsi and use them daily. As Tulsi contains natural Mercury, which may be harmful to teeth if leaves are chewed, therefore it is suggested that leaves should be swallowed with water and not chewed.