If you ever feel like praying, but don’t know who devote your prayer to, choose Tulsi,”The Queen of Herbs.” Tulsi is known as a Goddess, and therefore, is the most sacred herb in India. Tulsi has been worshipped for thousands of years as it’s considered a holy herb, and thus, should be kept in every home. According to one of the legends, one of the biggest devotees of Lord Vishnu was turned into a Tulsi plant upon her death. Since then no ritual or prayer can be completed without Tulsi plant or leaf present. Since the plant regarded as a Goddess, every morning Indian women offer water, incense and flowers to it, and in the evening light oil lamps next to this sacred plant. The plant brings love and devotion to the family and also purifies the air of the house. While this particular name seems to be unknown to many, you may recognize it under a different one: Holy Basil or Basil. As the herb traveled to Europe, it became known as “sacred” or “holy” basil and turned into the “King of herbs.”
Many of us may be unfamiliar with the Indian version of this plant, but know very well its Mediterranean relative basil. Whether you want to garnish your super-fancy salad, or use it as pesto with your pasta, or grill with your favorite choice of meat, fish or vegetable, it’s practically impossible to stay indifferent to this herb. You can be a vegetarian, vegan or carnivore, and still find tons of dishes to add basil to. Aside from wonderful aroma and unique flavor, basil is a great medicinal herb and has many health benefits. Tulsi or basil is an adaptogen herb, so it helps the body to deal with daily stress and fatigue. One of the best features of adaptogen herbs is the fact that they don’t aim at a specific problem, but rather support the body in finding a problem and handling it. According to Ayurveda, Tulsi helps strengthen the immune system and helps fight colds, flus and lung problems. It removes excess mucus from the lungs and nasal passages. It also improves absorption, strengthens the nerve tissue and improves memory. Used as a fresh juice externally it removes the fungal infection from the skin. Kept in the house, it purifies air, absorbs positive ions and energizes negative ions. According to Western herbalism, basil is great in protecting from unwanted bacterial growth. A few studies have shown that basil can kill bacteria that have grown resistant to antibiotics. Basil has an incredible nutritional value. As a provitamin A, or beta-carotene, it can easily convert into vitamin A and help protect epithelial cells from free radicals and other damages. Additionally, it contains large amount of vitamin K(98% of daily value) responsible for blood clotting, preventing hardening of the arteries, strengthening the bones and even preventing from osteoporosis. So how would one use this miracle herb? You can use it in as many dishes as you like and get all the benefits of this wonder herb while enjoying your meal. Or you can drink one of three varieties of Tulsi tea: Rama, Krishna or Vana. Take a teaspoon of dried herb or a few leaves and steep it in a cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes and drink it as a tea. If you add a fresh leaf of Tulsi in your water, it’ll stay fresh for the whole day and give you energy and balance. Next time you feel sluggish or tired do yourself a favor: drink a cup of Tulsi tea!
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