Ever wondered what that tiny little plant right at the center of your courtyard or garden was? The one whose leaves your mom would pop into your mouth every time you had a cold or fever? Yes, it is the Tulsi plant (popularly called Holy Basil) that we are talking about. As it turns out, this humble-looking plant is anything but that. It is, in fact, a powerhouse of health benefits. So, here are a few of the powerful benefits that Tulsi leaves offer when you eat them every day:
1. Boosts Your Immunity
Having a great immune system is your door to good health. Needless to say, eating Tulsi leaves daily does just that. The Holy Basil is composed of unique essential oils that include camphor, flavonoids, nerol, eugenol, and several terpenes (1). All of these together help in boosting your immunity to fight various kinds of infections including the common cold, flu, respiratory diseases, etc (2).
2. Protects From Heart Disease
Heart disease is one of the major concerns of today’s modern life. Environmental pollution, a stressful and stagnant lifestyle, and contaminated food and water all sound a death knell for cardiac health. Recently, a study published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal in 2017 brought to light the benefits of Tulsi in preventing heart disease. The eugenol and vitamin C present in the Holy basil protect the heart from the effects of the free radicals. The eugenol also helps lower high blood cholesterol levels (3).
3. Helps Reduce Fever
Fever in itself is not a disease, but a symptom of an underlying infection or illness. These illnesses can be caused by various pathogens like viruses, bacteria, fungi, or germs. The Holy Basil consists of innumerable germicidal, antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties that help the body in fighting these infections and thereby reducing the fever (4).
4. Provides Stress Relief
Apart from the beneficial aspects of Holy basil on physical illnesses, it has been found that it can also relieve mental and physical stress. Yes, munching on a few leaves of Tulsi can relieve stress caused by prolonged physical exertion. It is also known to contain anti-depressant and anxiolytic properties that relieve mental stress (5).
5. Helps Prevent Cancer
Some preclinical studies have brought to light that Holy basil and its phytochemicals like carnosic acid, myretenal, eugenol, and various such components have helped in preventing oral, liver, lung, and skin cancers, specifically those that have been induced by chemicals (6).
6. Is Anti-Diabetic
Another autoimmune disorder that is soon becoming more of a lifestyle-related issue than a genetic one, diabetes is a bane of modern life. It is here that the Holy Basil comes as a blessing. It is believed that Tulsi contains antidiabetic properties that help in the prevention of diabetes and maintains a healthy level of blood sugar (7).
How To Eat Tulsi Leaves:
We are sure that most of the benefits of Tulsi mentioned above might have come as a surprise to you as well. Now, you have all the more reason to start consuming Tulsi leaves on a daily basis. Here are some of the ways you can do it:
The simplest way to consume Tulsi would be to wash and clean a few freshly-plucked leaves and chew them. You can also squeeze a few leaves and consume a spoonful of this juice on an empty stomach each morning.
Make a home-made Tulsi cleanser by boiling a few leaves along with a pinch of turmeric and drink this concoction like a green tea. Tulsi green tea is also available in the market.
Soak a few leaves of Tulsi overnight in one liter of water. Use this water throughout the day. You can also try soaking this overnight in just one glass of water for a more concentrated version and have it early in the morning the next day.
Make your own Tulsi tea by first letting the leaves to dry out in the sun. Then lightly grind these leaves and store in an air-tight container. Use these leaves to make your own tea by boiling them in water and consuming on a daily basis.
We hope that these tips help you reap the health benefits of Tulsi (Holy Basil). If you have some of your own ways of using Tulsi, please do share in the comments section below.