Basil is a green leafy herb in the mint family, native to Asia and Africa. Its rich aroma and flavour make it a perfect culinary herb, and the many therapeutic benefits provided by its leaves also make it one of the most beneficial medicinal herbs. It is highly rich in many nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, manganese and calcium.
There are more than 50 varieties of basil leaves, one of which is Tulsi, also known as holy basil. Ayurveda mentions the use of Tulsi in treating many diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, etc.
Tulsi: The Holy Basil Of Ayurveda
Ayurveda mentions one variety of basil leaves, known as Tulsi or holy basil. Tulsi has Katu (pungent) and Tikta (bitter) taste and exhibits Laghu (light to digest), Rooksha (dry) and Theekshana (piercing) properties. According to Ayurveda, Tulsi is highly effective in pacifying Vata and Kapha Dosha and is known to increase Pitta Dosha in the body.
In Ayurvedic science, Tulsi is used to treat various diseases, such as gastrointestinal problems, heart diseases, asthma and chronic respiratory problems, cough, cold, skin disorders, kidney stones, eye disorders, etc.
Therapeutic Uses And Benefits Of Basil Leaves
Basil leaves, especially Tulsi, is one of the best natural remedies to improve digestion and treat several gastrointestinal problems, such as bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, peptic ulcers etc.
Fights Oxidative Stress
Rich in antioxidants, basil leaves help eliminate free radicals from the body and fight oxidative stress that can cause many diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
Powered with anti-inflammatory properties, basil leaves help reduce inflammation and prevent inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart diseases, inflammatory bowel condition, etc.
Treats Skin Disorders
Blessed with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, basil leaves help to fight free radical damage, eliminate harmful toxins and prevent infections in the skin. Therefore, they are vastly used to cure many skin disorders, prevent skin ageing and boost overall skin health.
Improves Liver Health
Tulsi or holy basil is known to remove harmful toxins from the body and prevent fat build-up in the liver, thereby promoting liver functions. It is also highly effective in preventing and curing several liver diseases.
Protects Against Infections
Basil leaves are blessed with potent antimicrobial properties that help prevent and fight infections such as cough, cold, flu, skin infections, respiratory infections, eye infections, etc.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Basil leaves are highly effective in lowering high blood sugar levels and preventing the risk factors of diabetes, such as high cholesterol, hypertension, etc. In addition, they also have a low glycemic load, which makes them a healthy choice for diabetes patients.
Boosts Mental Health
Tulsi or holy basil is one of the best Ayurvedic herbs to reduce stress, anxiety, insomnia, etc. It is also known as an effective remedy to treat depression.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
According to Ayurveda, Tulsi or holy basil is highly rich in antioxidants and helps prevent many types of cancers, such as liver cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer etc.
Treats Cardiovascular Diseases
Basil leaves are highly beneficial in improving heart health. They help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and regulate blood pressure levels in the body, thereby preventing and fighting many heart diseases.
How To Use Basil Leaves?
The best way to include basil leaves in your diet is by using them as a culinary herb in your food. You can garnish salads, pasta, etc. with basil leaves. Alternatively, you can also use basil leaves as an essential oil. It is especially beneficial for reducing anxiety, stress, etc.
If you want to use Tulsi, one of the varieties of basil leaves, you can make Tulsi tea. To make Tulsi tea, boil a few Tulsi leaves in water for 5 minutes and then strain it. You can also add honey or lemon to the tea as per your taste. Chewing raw Tulsi leaves is also beneficial for your physical and mental health.
On a Final Note
There are many medicinal benefits of basil leaves. They help prevent and fight several diseases, such as cancer, respiratory diseases, diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, skin problems, etc. Therefore, everyone must include basil leaves in their diet and lifestyle.