The irony of modern life is that, although modern lifestyles have brought many benefits, the greatest causes of diseases and death are lifestyle-related, therefore preventable. Ayurvedic medicine aims to prevent lifestyle-related diseases through the use of adaptogen herbs to relieve physical and mental stress, and promote balance in the body.
Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), sometimes known as Holy Basil, is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurveda. It is known to counteract stress on multiple organ systems, including the cognitive functions of the brain, confirming the title of adaptogen. Tulsi is a tropical shrub related to common basil. It has been studied extensively in scientific literature for effects from anti-cancer to anti-oxidant. High levels of phenol chemicals are found in tulsi and may be responsible for many of its benefits. The Krishna variety (black/purple) has more phenols than the Vana (white) variety.
Tulsi increases glutathione blood levels and increases antioxidant enzyme levels to help reduce free radicals. Tulsi helps reduce cancers by inducing apoptotic death of abnormal cells. Tulsi protects from cellular damage caused by environmental chemicals, including pesticides, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals and heavy metals.
Poor diet due to modern lifestyles is a cause of metabolic stress, causing such conditions as “metabolic syndrome”. Metabolic syndrome consists of central obesity, hypertension, elevated cholesterol and poor glucose control. Tulsi helps treat the symptoms of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Tulsi has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activity while enhancing immune responses in stressed and unstressed animals. It works against animal pathogens and is useful in raising animals, from cows to silkworms. It is useful in fighting Streptococcus mutans, which is the bacteria responsible for much tooth decay. It has been shown to improve wound healing.
Tulsi calms and relaxes the mind, relieves depression and improves memory and cognitive function. It is used in Ayurveda to prevent stress-related diseases.
“In Hinduism, tulsi is worshipped as a goddess …” A Hindu household is not complete without a tulsi plant. Tulsi is seen as being important in the health of all classes of people. A company (Organic India, Ltd.) was even formed to support the work of farmers in growing organic, high quality, sustainable farming products.
CONCLUSION: The “… emerging science on tulsi … suggests that tulsi is a tonic for the body, mind and spirit that offers solutions to many modern day health problems.”
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