Timeless Tulsi: The Holistic Benefits of Sacred Holy Basil

Native to the Indian subcontinent, Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is an herb in the Lamiaceae (mint) family that is highly revered throughout Hindu culture and Ayurvedic medicine. Also known as Holy Basil and Tulasi, the whole plant and even the earth it is grown in are sacred in Hinduism, as the plant is considered a manifestation of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, abundance, nature and purity. Many traditional Hindu households have Tulsi planted in the central courtyard in a particular stone pot called a Tulsi Vrindavan. This container emanates the protection of Mother Lakshmi and promotes peace, positive energy and well-being. Tulsi is also highly respected in Ayurveda thanks to its seemingly endless potential to heal, purify and elevate the body, mind and spirit. In this blog, we will explore Tulsi and the many uses that have made this herb a timeless staple in the Ayurvedic apothecary. 

Tulsi & the Ayurvedic Herbal Apothecary

Although it is in the same scientific family and often called Holy Basil, Tulsi is distinct from culinary sweet basil due to its cultural significance, origin, appearance, flavor, color and medicinal uses. Although there are many varieties of Tulsi, there are 3 types widely used in herbal medicine and they are called Rama Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum), Krishna Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) and Vana Tulsi (Ocimum gratissimum). The leaves and flowers are used in herbalism, and they are either dried or freshly pressed to create transformative remedies. Additionally, Tulsi essential oil is also employed in Ayurvedic aromatherapy and herbalism. The essential oil can vary considerably and contains either citral or chavibetol compounds, which evoke a lemon-like scent, or a combination of estragole, linalol and cineole which result in other varying fragrances.

In Ayurvedic medicine, Tulsi is balancing to both vata and kapha doshas and imbalancing to pitta dosha when used in excess due to its pungent and heating qualities. Holy Basil specifically targets the plasma, blood, marrow, nerve and reproductive tissues (dhatus) and the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. Tulsi is sattvic in nature, meaning it has energy aligned with harmony, peace, knowledge and spiritual growth. Because of this, surrounding oneself with Tulsi can help raise conscious awareness, open the heart and mind and bestow the energy of love and devotion (bhakti). 

Adaptogenic Tulsi

In today's fast-paced world, stress can become a silent killer, depleting our energy reserves, triggering inflammation and weakening the body and mind’s ability to withstand stress. Tulsi, renowned for its adaptogenic properties, helps the body and mind cope with stress by calming the nervous system. Research also indicates that Tulsi modulates the body's stress response system, promoting a sense of calm and equilibrium. Furthermore, thanks to its abundant antioxidants, Tulsi also fosters a healthy immune system, which is essential to combat stress and cultivate a sense of peace, calm, and equanimity. The adaptogenic properties of Tulsi are one of the reasons why you will find it in our soothing Bliss Blend Tea.

Skin Healing Tulsi

Tulsi is antimicrobial and antifungal, making it a powerhouse when it comes to addressing pesky blemishes, breakouts and/or acne. This skin-healing herb also has a knack for soothing skin irritations and clearing congestion and oiliness due to its ability to flush out toxins (ama) in the blood. Tulsi is also nutrient-rich, containing antioxidants like Vitamin A and C, phytonutrients, zinc, calcium, iron and chlorophyll. These help the skin keep its youthful glow by neutralizing harmful free radicals and promoting suppleness and elasticity. You will find Tulsi as a key ingredient in our Kapha Cleanser & Mask as it brings balance to kapha-type skin, which tends to experience congestion, oiliness, cystic acne and stagnation.

Respiratory Health & Tulsi

When the lungs experience mucus and congestion brought on by excess kapha dosha, Holy Basil can help to expel this, thanks to its abundance of bioactive compounds like eugenol, camphene, cineole, and camphor. Considered a diaphoretic in herbalism, Tulsi also has the ability to reduce fevers and acts as a febrifuge (medicine that lowers body temperature) against colds, flus and lung problems. In addition, it can increase the uptake of prana (life force energy) brought into the body as we draw in each breath. You can experience the prana-increasing and revitalizing properties of Tulsi in our top selling Nose Oil .

Mental Health & Tulsi

Thanks to its sattvic and adaptogenic nature, Tulsi can uplift, balance and clear the mind. Hence, it is esteemed in Ayurveda and yoga as an excellent ally to support meditation. Even more, Holy Basil is well known for its propensity to elevate consciousness and build better awareness of the Self—more reasons why we include it in our calming Bliss Blend Tea and clarifying Nose Oil

Incorporating Timeless Tulsi into your Ayurvedic Daily Routine

At PAAVANI, incorporating ancient Ayurvedic wisdom into our modern formulations is essential to uphold the Ayurvedic tradition. Therefore, Tulsi, being the highly revered Ayurvedic healing herb that it is, was a necessary ingredient to include when formulating our products. From helping the body and mind to withstand stress, restoring the skin’s healthy glow, supporting respiratory and immune function, clearing the mind and elevating awareness, Tulsi has a plethora of ways to support you and your various needs. We hope this blog assists you in learning ways to incorporate Tulsi into your daily, personalized Ayurvedic rituals so that you may commune with the intuitive, mystical powers contained within this sacred plant.


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Tulsi photo by हर्षल 📸 on Unsplash

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