Asia and Rory’s Homa Herbal Corner – Tulsi

(Ocimum Sanctum)

As we approach the festive season and the solstice, traditionally a time of celebration and high energies, we’d like to write about Tulsi.

Tulsi is a sacred herb in Ayurveda and  strengthens the immune system, among other properties.

Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)
Holy Basil, or Tulsi, is a perennial or annual herb which in India is planted in temples and near homes for protection and to sanctify the ground upon which it grows. There are several varieties, some hardier than others, and in temperate climates they can be grown as an annual in a greenhouse. It is an easy herb to grow from seed that can be started early indoors 4 weeks before transplanting out after all threat of frost has gone. Do not cover the seed as it needs light to germinate. It grows to 45-60 cm high and has small white flowers and ovate leaves that when dry easily fall from the stem. Tulsi is a great container herb to have growing in the house all year as in Ayurveda it has a positive effect on the atmosphere. Plus the fresh leaves are then readily available.

The aerial parts of the plant- leaves, stems and flowers – are used medicinally and to prepare an infusion pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons of dried Tulsi leaves, add a pinch of Agnihotra ash powder, and steep for 10-15 minutes.

Tulsi is regarded as an adaptogen herb, which are a category of herbs that  strengthen the immune system and balance the body and hormones during times of chronic stress.

It is a powerful anti-viral and is high in antioxidants. In today’s fast paced lifestyle, Tulsi is a useful tonic for the body and mind.

It can be included in sore throat, cold and flu remedies, helping reduce fever and eliminate catarrh.

It is a popular herb for all respiratory tract ailments for which the herb can also be juiced and mixed with organic raw honey. Tulsi is prescribed for asthma and also tuberculosis.

Its antibacterial properties are said to protect one from epidemics.

Tulsi is a tonic for the heart and blood and has natural pain-relieving properties. It is recommended for arthritis and rheumatism, it calms the nerves, clears the mind and sharpens memory. As a tea it can ease headaches and topically it is used for eczema, ringworm, and insect bites. Fresh leaves are chewed for gum infection. With all these attributes you can see why in Ayurveda it is known as the ‘Queen of Herbs’.

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