The Benefits of Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Ayurvedic Herbs

The Benefits of Tulsi (Holy Basil)

The Benefits of Tulsi (Holy Basil)

Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), also known as holy basil and tulasi

What Is Tulsi Used For?

Tulsi has many benefits for the body, mind, and spirit, offering support on both physical and subtle levels. Some of the benefits of tulsi include:  

  • Offering Adaptogenic Support. Considered one of the foremost adaptogenic herbs, tulsi helps the body cope with stress, promotes mental clarity, and supports rejuvenation. 
  • Supporting Lung Health. Tulsi is renowned for its support of the lungs, removing kapha buildup, and promoting healthy, uncongested breathing. 
  • Promoting Healthy Circulation. It promotes healthy circulation thanks to its work in the plasma tissue layer (rasa dhatu), and, by extension, tulsi encourages a strong and healthy heart. 
  • Supporting Weight Management. Tulsi helps promote healthy weight management thanks to its effect in the adipose tissue layer (meda dhatu).
  • Maintaining a Normal Body Temperature. Mysteriously, although considered heating, tulsi helps maintain a normal body temperature. In Ayurveda, this is called its prabhava, a quality that cannot be understood by looking at its energetics alone.
  • Balancing Vata and Kapha Doshas. In addition to its ability to balance kapha in the lungs, it also balances excess kapha and vata in the head and nerves, and is often used to soothe vata in the digestive tract.

Tulsi and Ayurveda

Tulsi has a pungent rasa (taste), a heating virya (energetic effect), and a pungent vipaka (post-digestive effect). Balancing for vata and kapha doshas, it may increase pitta in excess.

Tulsi is high in sattva—the principle of light, perception, and clarity. Ayurveda encourages us to welcome in sattvic energy whenever possible to promote these qualities within ourselves.

Tulsi is also said to increase and protect ojas and prana, two subtle forces in the body. Ojas promotes joy, vigor, and a healthy immune system, while prana is the body's vital life force, which supports intelligence, communication, and perception.


Modern Research on Tulsi

Tulsi/holy basil has been the subject of many studies over the years. Here is a look at some recent studies that explore tulsi’s benefits:  

  • “The science behind sacredness of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn).” PubMed abstract. Dec 2009.10
  • “Chloroplast DNA Phylogeography of Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) in Indian Subcontinent.” PubMed abstract. Jan 2014.11
  • “Genome sequencing of herb Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) unravels key genes behind its strong medicinal properties.” PubMed abstract. Aug 2015.12
  • “Diversity of the genus Ocimum (Lamiaceae) through morpho-molecular (RAPD) and chemical (GC–MS) analysis.” PubMed abstract. Jun 2017.13





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