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Tulsi - Queen of Herbs

Note: This is an excerpt from an article published in the peer reviewed journal, "Light on Ayurveda." For the full article please contact the journal at www.loaj.com. The full article includes more information on Tulsi and: Gray hair; Poisoning; Pain; Tulsi Aromatherapy; Tulsi and children; Worms and Parasites; and Skincare.

Sri Tulsi ji: The Incomparable Queen of Herbs
Published in "Light on Ayurveda" (loaj.com)
┬ęby Prashanti de Jager

For over five millennia, the esteem that Tulsi has earned makes it one of the most cherished and truly legendary of India's healing herbs. From general well-being to acute critical imbalances, Tulsi's magnanimous healing nature is used and honored daily by millions. As shown below, modern research has confirmed dozens of Tulsi's traditionally known actions and therapeutic uses including its remarkable adaptogenic and anti-stress activities, as well as its powerful support for the immune system.

The most sacred herbs of India are likely Soma, Tulsi and Lotus, and of these Tulsi, no doubt, inspires the most personal devotion. Where most herbs are considered to be forms of the Goddess, Tulsi is a considered to be a Goddess herself. One legend is that a Goddess incarnated as Binda and, after spending a lifetime as a very close devotee of Krishna, serves to this day as the herb Tulsi, which leads to one of Tulsi's many names, Vishnupriya, the beloved one of Vishnu. There are some followers of Krishna that have such a high regard for Tulsi that they would never dream of actively consuming Tulsi as a medicine, but rather choose to passively receive her healing power from her presence alone, which in India is ubiquitous. Most traditional homes and Temples in India will have at least one Tulsi plant, the care of which is a form of bhakti yoga, a beautiful ritual that usually melts the person into a union with nature. This ritual is especially focused on Tulsi Jayanti, the birthday of Tulsi on Karttika Shukla Dwadasi, the 12th day of the bright half of the moon during mid-October to mid-November, as well as every Shukla Dwadasi during the year. How many herbs do you know that have a birthday?

Wearing a Tulsi mala, a necklace of 108 beads carved from Tulsi's woody stems and worn around the neck or wrist, is a common way to benefit from the power of her presence which includes psychic protection and spiritual nourishment. In the Padmapurana Lord Shiva tells the sage Narada about this power:

"Oh Narada, wherever Tulsi grows there is no misery. She is the holiest of the holy. Wherever the breeze blows her fragrance there is purity. Vishnu showers blessing on those who worship and grow Tulsi. Tulsi is sacred because Brahma resides in the roots, Vishnu resides in the stems and leaves and Rudra resides in the flowering tops."

Tulsi is a very friendly herb and consistently lends herself well in all sorts of therapies. Tulsi tea, simply a hot infusion of dried leaves, must be one of the more enjoyable forms of medicine we can experience as well as an excellent anupana for other botanicals and treatments. Tulsi is both a 'first-reach' herb in most cases of cough, colds, flu and fever, as well as a 'last-resort' when nothing else seems to work. Tulsi is a warm blessing that can be enjoyed by most people throughout the year for a vast array of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.


Energetics Summary
- Gana: Surasadi, Shvasahara, Shirovirechana
- Guna: Laghu (light) & Ruksha (rough)
- Rasa: Katu (pungent) & Tikta (bitter)
- Virya: Ushna (warming in the case of Tulsi, not hot)
- Vipaka: Katu (pungent)
- Dosha: Relieves Kapha & Vata
- Prabhava: Lowers fevers
- Manas Tri Guna: Sattva

Comparing the Incomparable
Though Tulsi literally means 'The Incomparable One,' I feel that to introduce her to Western practitioners it is useful to c...

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Last updated: 21/09/06
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