Tulsi or sacred basil: the queen of herbs at the base of Ayurvedic medicine

Originally from India, tulsi is a plant also known as sacred basil. Let’s go and discover its properties and benefits.

Tulsi, what is it

Also known as “sacred basil”, it is a plant with countless beneficial properties. Like mint and basil, it belongs to the Labiateae family and its scientific name is Ocinum sanctum or Ocimum tenuiflorum.

It is an aromatic herb rich in active ingredients; it is no coincidence that it is nicknamed “the queen of herbs” and in India it is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine .

What does Tulsi look like

It is an annual herbaceous plant that develops in a bushy form and can reach a meter in height.

Its leaves, with a pleasant fragrance reminiscent of a mix of lemon – mint – licorice, have an ovoid shape, similar to those of basil, but thicker and hairier. Their color, on the other hand, varies according to the variety.

Variety of sacred basil

The most common varieties are three.

  • Krishna tulsi, with light purple flowers and leaves ranging from green to purplish
  • Shri or ram tulsi, with shiny green leaves
  • Vain tulsi, with white flowers and green leaves

All these names derive from the Hindu deities, as the homeland is India.


Despite its Indian origin, it is a plant that grows well in all sub-tropical areas, such as Asia and Africa.

Tulsi cultivation

It grows spontaneously in the Himalayan mountains at an altitude of over two thousand meters and is very easily found in the gardens and courtyards of homes in the places of origin.

However, it is also possible to grow it here, especially in regions where the climate is warmer and more humid. In winter, however, it must be sheltered.

Tulsi, nutritional properties

In 100 grams of dried sacred basil you will find:

  • Calories: 256 kcal
  • Fat: 2.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 21.1 g
  • Protein: 17.4 g
  • Sugar: 4.4 g
  • Fiber: 37.9 g
  • Sodium: <0.05 g
  • Saturated Fatty Acids: 0.6 g

It can be easily seen that it is low in fat, sugar and sodium, which means it can be consumed in guilt-free quantities.

Composed of 17% protein and 37% fiber , it is an excellent source of both these nutrients, which are very important for carrying out basic functions of the body.

The plant also contains vitamins A , C and K , as well as mineral salts such as calcium, potassium and magnesium.

It is rich in active ingredients such as essential oils and antioxidants that give it anti-stress, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, expectorant, cardiotonic and digestive properties.

Tulsi, beneficial properties

It is a plant with countless beneficial properties for human health. From these characteristics it follows the nickname of “holy basil”.

So let’s see specifically the benefits that the plant can bring.

Tulsi is a natural stress reliever

Helps to cope with both physical and psycho-emotional stressful moments. Specifically, the infusion of leaves has a slightly sedative effect that relaxes the mind and body of those who take it, counteracting states of anxiety and insomnia.

Strengthens the immune system

Its essential oils help to strengthen the immune defenses making them able to counteract the onset of cough , cold and fever.

Comparable to a natural antibiotic, it is also capable of purifying and disinfecting the body, protecting it from attack by germs, viruses and bacteria.

Purifying effect of tulsi

It has a purifying action on the blood and regulates the amount of sugar and bad cholesterol.

Its purifying action can also be applied to other parts of the body: gargling with tulsi herbal tea allows you to always have fresh breath and help fight tooth decay, tartar and plaque.
Compresses on the eyes promote the healing of conjunctivitis.

Excellent digestive

Relieves problems of indigestion and facilitates the elimination of intestinal gas. Therefore excellent in cases of abdominal pain, cramps and flatulence resulting from poor digestion.

Tulsi is anti-aging

Its antioxidant properties see it indicated for:

  • counteract free radicals
  • protect against the damage of aging
  • slow down the degenerative process of cells and tissues

It also helps the body to absorb oxygen, which has beneficial repercussions on the body at all levels of physiological processes.


It keeps the heart healthy and helps lower blood pressure.

The conspicuous presence of vitamin K counteracts the formation of blood clots, promoting blood flow and protecting the heart from fatigue.

Fights acne

It is an excellent natural remedy for acne and other skin irritations in general. To this end, the active ingredient capable of nourishing and inflaming the skin is tulsi oil, to be conveyed together with coconut oil.

Tulsi protects against diabetes

Indeed, several experiments have shown that it can:

  • reduce blood sugar
  • balance lipid profiles
  • protect the liver and kidneys from metabolic damage caused by high glucose levels


It works as a natural cancer treatment and it has also been shown that people who consume it regularly are less likely to be immunocompromised and to develop cancer cells.

Efficacy has been shown mainly in lung, liver, oral and skin cancers.

Tulsi: effective in resolving respiratory disorders

Provides relief from congestion and other symptoms of respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, deep cough, asthma , and upper respiratory tract infection.

Dental health

Its purifying action also has an effect in the oral cavity. Gargling with holy basil infusion helps keep breath fresh and facilitates healing of mouth ulcers and ulcers.

The essential oil of tulsi added to the toothpaste helps to counteract the onset of cavities, plaque and tartar.

Relieves migraines

Thanks to its sedative properties, it is an excellent natural remedy for headaches and migraines. For this purpose it can be used by drinking a cup of tea or by diffusing the essential oil in the air.

Eye health

Perfect against conjunctivitis, it boasts anti-inflammatory properties that protect the eyes from environmental damage and free radicals. It also prevents a number of problems such as cataracts, vision defects and ophthalmia.

Tulsi: how to use it

It is commonly consumed in tablet form or as an herbal tea.

Herbal tea of ​​tulsi

The three varieties are used to prepare a beneficial herbal tea, available online or in natural product stores and herbalists.

There are numerous benefits that can be obtained by taking an infusion based on leaves on a regular basis:

  • counteracts stress
  • strengthen the immune system
  • keeps liver and lungs healthy
  • lowers fever
  • regulates blood pressure
  • promotes general well -being
  • improves energy levels
  • cleanses the body
  • purifies the blood
  • keeps the skin young
  • relieves asthma and symptoms of seasonal ailments
  • protects against chronic diseases
  • eliminates the sense of nausea
  • facilitates digestion

Combinations and advice for use

For optimal consumption, just infuse 5-6 leaves (or a tablespoon of chopped leaves) in hot water, let it rest overnight, and drink the next morning.

For an invigorating herbal tea it can be combined with hibiscus flowers ( karkadè ) and rose petals; together with ginger it is used to treat stomach pain and nausea, even in children.

To sweeten the herbal tea you can add a teaspoon of honey or one or two stevia leaves.

Other uses of tulsi

From the root a paste is obtained to apply on insect bites to soothe itching and redness.

The essential oil, which is obtained from the distillation of the leaves, has a disinfectant action and is able to repel mosquitoes and other insects.

Tulsi in cosmetics

Finally, its leaves are also used in the cosmetic sector for the formulation of creams, oils and soaps, particularly suitable for acne, excess sebum and skin irritations.

Tulsi in the kitchen

In addition to being a medicinal plant, it is also commonly used as a spice in some oriental cuisines, especially in Thailand.

Tulsi for weight loss

In addition to all the countless beneficial properties described so far, it is claimed that drinking an herbal tea in the morning acts as a detoxifier and gives a boost to the metabolism, in order to promote weight reduction.

Contraindications of tulsi

Holy basil is considered safe and has no particular side effects.

Where to buy it

Tulsi seeds and seedlings are not easy to find.

For use for healing purposes, it is recommended to purchase tulsi-based herbal teas in herbalist shops, online or in organic and Ayurvedic products stores.

Tulsi, rituality

The Indian tradition believes that tulsi opens the doors of heaven, for this reason when a person is about to die a holy basil leaf is placed on his chest, and after death, his head is washed with a solution composed of seeds of flax and holy basil.


The ” mala “, the rosary beads used by both Hindus and Buddhists to pray are made from the wood of the holy basil plant .


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