Dr (Pundit) Roshan Singh DEha/DEmp
Registration No: EHA210901443 : Traditional Health Practitioner
Accredited by All India Federation of Astrologers Society
Gold Medalist : Akhil Bhartiya Jyotish Manch of India
Registered Marriage Officer Reg No : Q22548
The ‘tulsi’ plant or Indian basil is an important symbol in the Hindu religious tradition. The name ‘tulsi’ connotes “the incomparable one”. Tulsi is a venerated plant and Hindus worship it in the morning and evening. Tulsi grows wild in the tropics and warm regions. Dark or Shyama tulsi and light or Rama tulsi are the two main varieties of basil, the former possessing greater medicinal value. Of the many varieties, the Krishna or Shyama tulsi is commonly used for worship.
Tulsi as a Deity
The presence of tulsi plant symbolizes the religious bent of a Hindu family. A Hindu household is considered incomplete if it doesn’t have a tulsi plant in the courtyard. Many families have the tulsi planted in a specially built structure, which has images of deities installed on all four sides, and an alcove for a small earthen oil lamp. Some households can even have up to a dozen tulsi plants on the verandah or in the garden forming a “tulsi-van” or “tulsivrindavan” – a miniature basil forest.
The Holy Herb
Places that tend to inspire concentration and places ideal for worship, according to the ‘Gandharv Tantra,’ include “grounds overgrown with tulsi plants”. The Tulsi Manas Mandir at Varanasi is one such famous temple, where tulsi is worshiped along with other Hindu gods and goddesses. Vaishnavites or believers of Lord Vishnu worship the tulsi leaf because it’s the one that pleases Lord Vishnu the most. They also wear beaded necklaces made of tulsi stems. The manufacture of these tulsi necklaces is a cottage industry in pilgrimages and temple towns.
Tulsi as an Elixir
Apart from its religious significance it is of great medicinal significance, and is a prime herb in Ayurvedic treatment. Marked by its strong aroma and a stringent taste, tusli is a kind of “the elixir of life” as it promotes longevity. The plant’s extracts can be used to prevent and cure many illnesses and common ailments like common cold, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning and malaria. Essential oil extracted from karpoora tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes.
A Herbal Remedy
According to Jeevan Kulkarni, author of ‘Historical Truths & Untruths Exposed,’ when Hindu women worship tulsi, they in effect pray for “less and less carbonic acid and more and more oxygen – a perfect object lesson in sanitation, art and religion”. The tulsi plant is even known to purify or de-pollute the atmosphere and also works as a repellent to mosquitoes, flies and other harmful insects. Tulsi used to be a universal remedy in cases of malarial fever.
Tulsi in History
Prof Shrinivas Tilak, who teaches Religion at Concordia University, Montreal has made this historical citation “When the Victoria Gardens were established in Bombay, the men employed on those works were pestered by mosquitoes. At the recommendation of the Hindu managers, the whole boundary of the gardens was planted with holy basil, on which the plague of mosquitoes was at once abated, and fever altogether disappeared from among the resident gardeners.”
Tulsi in Legends
Quite a few myths and legends found in the Puranas or ancient scriptures point to the origin of importance of tulsi in religious rituals. Although tulsi is regarded as feminine, in no folklore is she described as the consort the Lord. Yet a garland solely made of tulsi leaves is the first offering to the Lord as part of the daily ritual. The plant is accorded the sixth place among the eight objects of worship in the ritual of the consecration of the Kalasha, the container of holy water.
According to one legend, Tulsi was the incarnation of a princess who fell in love with Lord Krishna, and so had a curse laid on her by his consort Radha. Tulsi is also mentioned in the stories of Meera and of Radha immortalised in Jayadev’s Gita Govinda. The story of Lord Krishna has it that when Krishna was weighed in gold, not even all the ornaments of Satyabhama could outweigh him. But a single tulsi leaf placed by Rukmani on the pan tilted the scale.
In the Hindu mythology, tulsi is very dear to Lord Vishnu. Tulsi is ceremonially married to Lord Vishnu annually on the 11th bright day of the month of Karttika in the lunar calendar. This festival continues for five days and concludes on the full moon day, which falls in mid October. This ritual, called the ‘Tulsi Vivaha’ inaugurates the annual marriage season in India.
Benefits of Tulsi
The tulsi or holy basil is an important symbol in the Hindu religious tradition and is worshiped in the morning and evening by Hindus at large. The holy basil is also a herbal remedy for a lot of common ailments. Here’re top fifteen medicinal uses of tulsi.
Healing Power: The tulsi plant has many medicinal properties. The leaves are a nerve tonic and also sharpen memory. They promote the removal of the catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tube. The leaves strengthen the stomach and induce copious perspiration. The seed of the plant are mucilaginous.
Fever & Common Cold: The leaves of basil are specific for many fevers. During the rainy season, when malaria and dengue fever are widely prevalent, tender leaves, boiled with tea, act as preventive against theses diseases. In case of acute fevers, a decoction of the leaves boiled with powdered cardamom in half a liter of water and mixed with sugar and milk brings down the temperature. The juice of tulsi leaves can be used to bring down fever.
Cough: Tulsi is an important constituent of many Ayurvedic cough syrups and expectorants. It helps to mobilize mucus in bronchitis and asthma. Chewing tulsi leaves relieves cold and flu.
Sore Throat: Water boiled with basil leaves can be taken as drink in case of sore throat. This water can also be used as a gargle.
Respiratory Disorder: The herb is useful in the treatment of respiratory system disorder. A decoction of the leaves, with honey and ginger is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, influenza, cough and cold. A decoction of the leaves, cloves and common salt also gives immediate relief in case of influenza. They should be boiled in half a liter of water till only half the water is left and add then taken.
Kidney Stone: Basil has strengthening effect on the kidney. In case of renal stone the juice of basil leaves and honey, if taken regularly for 6 months it will expel them via the urinary tract.
Heart Disorder: Basil has a beneficial effect in cardiac disease and the weakness resulting from them. It reduces the level of blood cholesterol.
Children’s Ailments: Common pediatric problems like cough cold, fever, diarrhea and vomiting respond favorably to the juice of basil leaves. If pustules of chicken pox delay their appearance, basil leaves taken with saffron will hasten them.
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.
Mouth Infections: The leaves are quit effective for the ulcer and infections in the mouth. A few leaves chewed will cure these conditions.
Insect Bites: The herb is a prophylactic or preventive and curative for insect stings or bites. A teaspoonful of the juice of the leaves is taken and is repeated after a few hours. Fresh juice must also be applied to the affected parts. A paste of fresh roots is also effective in case of bites of insects and leeches.
Skin Disorders: Applied locally, basil juice is beneficial in the treatment of ringworm and other skin diseases. It has also been tried successfully by some naturopaths in the treatment of leucoderma.
Teeth Disorder: The herb is useful in teeth disorders. Its leaves, dried in the sun and powdered, can be used for brushing teeth. It can also be mixed with mustered oil to make a paste and used as toothpaste. This is very good for maintaining dental health, counteracting bad breath and for massaging the gums. It is also useful in pyorrhea and other teeth disorders.
Headaches: Basil makes a good medicine for headache. A decoction of the leaves can be given for this disorder. Pounded leaves mixed with sandalwood paste can also be applied on the forehead for getting relief from heat, headache, and for providing coolness in general.
Eye Disorders: Basil juice is an effective remedy for sore eyes and night-blindness, which is generally caused by deficiency of vitamin A. Two drops of black basil juice are put into the eyes daily at bedtime.
A word of caution – Disclaimer
However, These are only general guidelines as a first aid. It is always better to see a doctor depending upon the intensity of the case. The views expressed above are entirely those of the author and cannot be held responsible for any results derived from its usage.