Sacred herb Tulsi is queen of herbs

Sacred herb Tulsi is queen of herbs


A Letter From Grandpa

Niranjan Shah, a civil engineer, who pioneered famous high-rise buildings in Baroda, is a broadcaster in India and the USA and a prolific writer. Under “A Letter from Grandpa.” he has been writing since 2002 on India’s historical, philosophical, and literary heritage. He can be reached at

By Niranjan Shah

My dear Sujata:

Tulsi is the most sacred herb of India and is known as the queen of hHerbs.  Tulsi is also known as Holy Basil with botanical name (Ocimum sanctum). Tulsi has been revered in India for thousands of years as a healing balm for body, mind and spirit, and is known to bestow an amazing number of health benefits.

The unique chemistry of Tulsi is highly complex. Tulsi contains hundreds of beneficial compounds known as phyto-chemicals. Working together, these compounds possess strong antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, adaptogenic, and immune-enhancing properties that promote general health and support the body’s natural defense against stress and diseases. The essential oils in the leaves of Tulsi that contribute to the fragrance and refreshing flavor of Tulsi Tea, are a particularly rich source of valuable phyto-chemicals.

According to Dr. Ralph Miller, former Director of Research for the Canadian Department of Health and Welfare: “Modern scientific research offers impressive evidence that Tulsi reduces stress, enhances stamina, relieves inflammation, lowers cholesterol, eliminates toxins, protects against radiation, prevents gastric ulcers, lowers fevers, improves digestion and provides a rich supply of antioxidants and other nutrients. Tulsi is especially effective in supporting the heart, blood vessels, liver and lungs and also regulates blood pressure and blood sugar.”

An adaptogen is an agent that helps the body adapt more efficiently to stress. Adaptogens reduce the intensity and negative impact of the stress caused by mental tension, emotional difficulties, poor lifestyle habits, disease and infection, pollution and other factors. Tulsi is one of the most effective adaptogens known. Rich antioxidants in Tulsi slow down the process of excess oxidation and protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. When cells are attacked by free radicals, excess oxidation occurs which damage and destroy cells. Antioxidants stop this process. The cellular damage caused by free radicals can be responsible for causing and/or accelerating many diseases. Tulsi is recommended to guard against free radicals and protect from damaging excess oxidation.

An immuno-modulator is an agent that balances and improves the immune response of the body in fighting antigens  and maintaining health. It has also earned the name Shoolaghni, because of its ability to alleviate pain. One of the English names for Tulsi is the Mosquito Plant. Sir George Birdward wrote that the Victoria Gardens and the Prince Albert Museum were “malarial.” The cultivation of the Tulsi plants freed it from mosquitoes. The uses of Tulsi are manifold. In India these are primarily known for their medicinal values. The leaves of Tulsi are used to treat a number of diseases like coughs, bronchitis, skin diseases, diarrhea, cholera, influenza and malaria. Tulsi seeds are used to treat ulcers, vomiting, low energy levels and it acts as an overall tonic. Recent research has shown that small doses of Tulsi are able to protect a person against high blood pressure. It also helps to control high blood sugar levels. Tulsi is also believed to keep cancer at bay. Tulsi plant is also rich in bio available  Vitamins A and C. A decoction of the plant is taken internally to relieve coughs and fever. The leaves are used for treating dysentery and as a mouthwash for relieving toothache. The leaves, widely used for flavoring sauces, soups and salads, are considered diuretic and tonic. The leaf paste is used externally for treating parasitic skin diseases. Tulsi is given highest importance because of its qualities to the extent that it is even believed that the messengers of death (diseases) cannot approach a home where Tulsi is planted. Vedas mention that God does not accept any offering if it does not include Tulsi leaves. Tulsi was very dear to Lord Krishna as He knew the importance and use of Tulsi. Puranas even describe Tulsi as the consort of Lord Krishna.

– Grandpa’s blessing

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