Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, is a very powerful and sacred plant. Indiginous to India, parts of northern and eastern Africa as well as Taiwan, it is cultivated today all over Southeast Asia. It is also grown and venerated in Hindu temples around the world. If you’ve ever been to a Vaishnava temple, you will see the beautiful Tulsi-devi plant being lovingly cared for. Next to the lotus, tulsi is the most sacred plant in India. Tulsi-devi is regarded as a goddess and a consort to Lord Vishnu. Pujas and prayers are performed to her and the tulsi leaves are taken as a sacrament.
Tulsi is one of the most versatile, potent and purifying medicinal herbs. Tulsi tea is a wonderfully healing adaptogenic concoction; it is stress-relieving, very beneficial for immune health, increases longevity, fights cancer and balances the the physical systems. Tulsi is considered a sattvic herb which helps maintain the harmony of the energy centers in the body.
Tulsi essential oil is a great one to have on hand for a number of health and wellness benefits. Its fragrance is fresh, camphorous, sweet and spicy. It is reminiscent of licorice and cloves. Just taking a whiff of tulsi will clear your nostrils and give you a burst of energy. It is excellent for when you are feeling congested or sluggish. It is warming, uplifting and clarifying.
The essential oil made of tulsi is very strong so it is best to always dilute it for topical application and to treat this medicine with respect. Do not take this oil internally (for drinking purposes, make tea from the leaves instead). It is not recommended for direct use on young children or pregnant women.
A wonderful way to get the purifying benefits of tulsi is to diffuse it in the air through your home. I also recommend doing a tulsi steam for respiratory health. To do this, simply boil hot water, pour it in a bowl with just 1 or 2 drops of tulsi oil, place a towel over your head over the bowl and inhale the tulsi infused steam deeply into the lungs. If you have a cold or a flu, this is incredibly beneficial for clearing mucus from the lungs and curing upper respiratory infections.
Tulsi can heal stress-related digestive problems and nausea. Because of its warming energy it stimulates the appetite and improves digestion. Tulsi oil is very soothing for the nervous system and can support the healing of migraines, tension headaches, nervous tension, insomnia and fatigue.
Have you ever used tulsi oil or drank tulsi tea? It’s a pretty amazing plant – the more I learn about it the more I understand why it’s called “holy”.