Tulsi basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
Other names: Ocimum sanctum, holy basil, tulasī
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Adaptogen, aromatic, blood sugar regulator, liver tonic, hormone balancer, insect repellent, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, immune system tonic, nervous system tonic, blood thinner (mild), adrenal tonic, detoxifier, antimicrobial, vulnerary.
Harvest just when the plant starts to bud for best results. Make sure to harvest entirely before the first frost. Pinch the buds off as soon as they arrive…once the flowers open, it is often the case that no more leaves will be produced. It can flower any time throughout the warm months of the year, so watch for this.
Part used: Aerial parts
Oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid, eugenol, carvacrol, linalool, β-caryophyllene, β-elemene, and germacrene D and others.
Used to treat chronic stress, pain, chronic fatigue, adrenal conditions, metabolic disorders, blood sugar imbalances (consult with a doctor if you are diabetic, especially if taking insulin), high cholesterol, radiation poisoning, liver conditions, respiratory symptoms, bacterial and viral infections, skin conditions, indigestion, and as an aide to cancer prevention, among many other applications.
Tulsi basil can be used in teas, tinctures, capsules or other internal applications, including culinary.
Can be used topically as a salve, wash, cream, poultice or other preparation.
Do not use if pregnant, nursing, undergoing cancer treatments or attempting to become pregnant. Consult with a doctor if you are taking any medications – especially blood sugar regulators, blood thinners, birth control or hormone replacements. Do not use on children without consulting with a doctor.
I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.
Tulsi basil is considered quite sacred in Hindu traditions, and is affiliated with several of the deities in this faith, and other religions as well. It is worn by some as a symbol of initiation, and considered a poison antidote in some traditions. In India it is sometimes said that a woman should not harvest or even water this plant while she is menstruating.
There is even a ceremony called Tulasi Vivaha, where this plant is ritually married to Krishna each year. In some cultures it is not permissible to consume tulsi basil, as it is considered too sacred for any non-ritual use. It is especially controversial to combine it with meat.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.