Tulsi - Queen of Herbs...tive in the treatment of bronchial asthma.
Note that often with Tulsi the fresh juice, or swarasa, is recommended. Though this is an amazing and optimal way to use Tulsi (In India I juice the Tulsi in my wheat grass juicer), Sarngadhara reminds us that the dried herb placed in twice the amount of water for 24 hours and then filtered is also a 'good swarasa.' What I do is similar to making herbal oils: I put the herbs in a glass jar, add warm water, and then shake it several times over the course of Sarngadhara's 24 hours. I always add mantra and usually add yantra by placing on the jar a copper plate embossed with the Sri Yantra.
Tulsi is an excellent heart tonic and can be combined with the colder Arjuna and slightly warm Hawthorne to make a tridoshic remedy that builds and purifies the heart. Drinking Tulsi tea one quickly feels what a friendly cordial herb this is, and indeed it is well known in the classic literature for its warming benefits for the heart, hrdhyoshna, as Bhavamisra describes. Tulsi also treats asra, general vitiation of the blood, and many other specific blood diseases. A double blind, placebo controlled study on stress related arterial hypertension indicated that in two weeks Tulsi powder was able to drop the blood pressure in 25 patients an average of 26 mm Hg.
A primary prabhava, or special action, of Tulsi is its ability to bring down fevers. Some warm herbs do relieve surface heat, and thereby can cool the body, but Tulsi's febrifuge actions seem to work with a mechanism that focuses more on the core dynamics of the body, and can thus remove deep, old, mysterious and periodic fevers. In the 14th century Sarngadhara stated that the fresh juice of Tulsi taken with black pepper powder cures vishama jwara, periodic fevers such as malaria. A folk remedy for fever is to cook onion and Tulsi in coconut oil and apply this to the head of the person after the oil cools.
During a deadly outbreak of viral encephalitis in Northern India in 1978 a test was done comparing Tulsi with the standard Allopathic treatments. At a dose of only 2.5 grams of Tulsi powder taken 4 times daily there was survival and complete recovery in 60% of the patients using Tulsi and an unfortunate survival of none of those treated with Allopathy. For ethical purposes, no placebo was used. Anecdotally, I can offer a personal observation here. During the early 90's while I lived in India it was common for many of my friends to come down with an intense viral flu at least twice a year, a flu that would totally knock out even the strong for two to three weeks. After Tulsi became our main chai in the mid 90's, it became rare that one of us would get this flu and if someone did, the severity was significantly reduced. This makes Ma Tulsi a must when living in India with children.
Tulsi is a dipana, an herb that improves the digestive fire, and so acts as an appetizer and digestive. . Taking a decoction of the root or leaves of Rama Tulsi with dried ginger is a quick way to remove indigestion. Many digestives are downright hot, like powdered ginger, cloves and black pepper, and some are cooling, like the mints, but Tulsi is just warming and thus more tridoshic than the typical digestive. It is used in many digestive therapies including anorexia, emesis, abdominal pain, and to clear worms from the GI tract. Tulsi seeds soaked in water make a type of kheer or pudding that is useful in dysentery. In Germany you can buy yogurt with Ocimum seeds in it which would be excellent in many conditions.
Ayurveda recognizes that there is really only one digestive fire, one agni, that digests and transforms at all levels of being. Tulsi is one of the rare 'digestives' that stimulates and nourishes the agni at all the levels, from the 'fire' that digests our food to the agnis of prana, the agnis of the five senses, the agnis of the mind that digests sensory input into mental perceptions and further into intellectual cons...
Last updated: 21/09/06
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