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Tulsi or Sacred Basil: properties, benefits and contraindications

Tulsi , also known as Sacred Basil or Purple Basil , is one of the Ayurvedic plants as popular as turmeric and ginger. In fact in India it is known as “The Queen of Herbs” for its many properties.

The studies carried out on this plant classify it as an adaptogenic plant . Adaptogenic plants are those that help balance or normalize energy responses of the body, helping to resist situations of stress that can affect the functioning of our body in a negative way.


What is the Tulsi or Sacred Basil?

The Tulsi (Ocimun Sanctum or Ocimun Tenuiflorum), is an Ayurvedic plant with wide therapeutic applications that have been used for more than 5,000 years to promote health thanks to its regenerative properties and as a support and / or a solution to stress, the natural detoxification of the organism, increase resistance and energy, restore balance and harmony.

His name, Tulsi or Tulasí , means ” The Incomparable ” and is a plant very venerated in Hindu religious traditions to be considered a manifestation of the Divine Mother on Earth.

It is suspected that basil is native to Asia but nowadays it grows in numerous tropical climates all over the world. The Hindus see in the Tulsi a manifestation of the goddess Lakshmi. In fact, the Hindu tradition says that there is no amount of gold that can surpass the power of Krishna , but that with only a sheet of Tulsi placed in its balance and with devotion, it would be enough to tip the balance towards it.


Tulsi and Basil Are you the same?

Both the Tulsi and the Basil are plants that are members of the mint family. Basil has many varieties, more than forty. The one that we all know, the green basil (Ocinum Basilicum ), is very used in gastronomy, its leaves are dark green, the edges are smooth and soft, it is very aromatic and with a strong and spicy flavor.

The Tulsi (Purple Basil) belongs to the family of the Basil but it differs from the rest for its properties, since the purple basil has many more therapeutic properties than the rest of the varieties. Although it is also used in cooking, its most widespread use is for medicinal purposes. Unlike the green basil, the leaves of the Tulsi (purple basil) are gray-green to purple in color, it is rough to the touch and the edges of its leaves are not smooth. As for its flavor is stronger, more spicy, like its aroma.

Within the Tulsi we find three varieties whose appearance, taste and smell is slightly different.

  • Rama Tulsi (Ocinum Sanctum)
  • Vana Tulsi (Ocinum Gratissimum)
  • Krishna Tulsi (Ocinum Sanctum)


Tulsi: Properties and Benefits for Health

If we look at the composition of this plant we will find Vitamin A, C and K. Also minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, manganese , as well as other phytonutrients such as chlorophyll .

Hence, it can be consumed for bone health, cardiovascular, against stress, fatigue, brain function, digestive health, brain health and to maintain a healthy metabolism.

It has a calming effect, relaxing but does not cause drowsiness, in addition to the ability to maintain balanced hormonal levels. Hence, it has positive effects in cases of physical, mental or metabolic stress .

Sacred Basil protects the organs and tissues of the organism against stress, environmental contamination and heavy metals.

Tulsi has been shown to counteract metabolic stress by normalizing blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels. Regarding psychological stress, it acts with its anti-inflammatory and antidepressant properties (without causing drowsiness), also having positive effects on memory and cognitive function.


Therefore, this plant can be used for the following purposes:


Adaptogenic properties are attributed to this plant, that is, it offers support to the body’s response to stress, whether physical or mental. It also influences the brain in a way very similar to that of antidepressants. In fact, we can say that this plant is a powerful anti-stress. It promotes the good functioning of the organism, making us able to respond in a relaxed way to stressful situations.



Purple basil is a natural inhibitor of an enzyme (COX-2) present in all tissues and inactive cells of our body. When we suffer a traumatism, infection or some other disease, this enzyme is activated and inflammation and pain appear.

The compounds found in this plant, such as eugenol, cirsilineol, cirsimaritina, isotimusina, isothymonina, apigenin and rosmarinic acid, have an anti-inflammatory action comparable to that of ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin, which helps to reduce inflammation and reduce pain .



Tulsi is also surprising for its antibacterial activity . Specifically, it is effective against staphylococci, enterococci and bacteria resistant to antibiotics (pseudomonas bacteria).

The extract of this plant in the treatment of gonorrhea can be as effective as penicillin or ciprofloxacin. It also has antiviral properties that protect against herpes.


Cognitive Function

Studies have shown that Tulsi improves memory by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, thereby increasing acetylcholine levels, which becomes very beneficial in the treatment of different cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and senile dementia.


Cardiovascular health

It is rich in phenol, a substance that protects the heart, being able to reduce inflammation of heart tissue after a heart attack. By inhibiting myeloperoxidase, an oxidative enzyme that causes the buildup of plaque in the arteries , also prevents cardiovascular disease.

It  is also highly recommended in cases of high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as to regulate blood pressure and improve blood circulation.


Bone Health

It favors and increases the absorption of calcium in the bones, which is why it is very beneficial when maintaining good bone health. It also has the power to fight bacteria in the mouth, so it helps prevent cavities, plaque, tartar and bad breath, as well as helping to cure canker sores.


Immune system

Purple Basil increases the immune function of our body . The studies carried out corroborated that with the daily intake of 300 mg of Tulsi extract, in the form of capsules, the immune function increased significantly in just four weeks.



As indicated by studies conducted and published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, it is a good ally for diabetics by helping to control blood glucose levels.



It is said of the Tulsi that promotes a long life. It has a great antioxidant activity, has been shown to be able to fight the free radicals produced by different heavy metals , as is the case of cadmium. It also reestablishes liver and kidney function.


Digestive system

In this plant we find a good support to the digestive health. The Tulsi protects and promotes the healing of stomach ulcers. It is also an excellent stomach protector as it increases the protective mucosa of the stomach, in addition to protecting the liver from the damage that can cause toxins.


Urinary tract

The Tulsi is a great detoxifier. In fact, its seeds have been used for centuries to treat urinary problems. It reduces uric acid and cleanses the kidneys so that consuming its extract for about 6 months can even get to fight kidney stones.



Tulsi can be taken, as long as it is prescribed and controlled by a doctor, as a complementary treatment against cancer, as well as to prevent it.

People who consume Tulsi are usually less susceptible to developing cancer cells . The research whose results were published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, showed that in some cases, Tulsi can prevent liver and lung cancer, when it is induced by chemicals. As well as oral and skin cancer, since it increases the antioxidant capacity of the body and its capacity to induce death to cancer cells, stopping metastasis.



In the Ayurveda the Tulsi is used a lot to lower the fever . Being an antibiotic, germicidal and disinfectant, it protects us against viruses and bacteria, also helping to improve respiratory problems caused by colds and flu , such as nasal congestion.

In fact, scientific studies have confirmed that this plant is anti-asthmatic and that it facilitates breathing.


Skin Health

The phytochemicals and essential oils found in sacred basil are very beneficial for the skin. Its antiviral and antibacterial properties protect the skin from infections. It can be of great help in case of acne, eczema and psoriasis, as well as in the healing and healing of wounds, and in the prevention and reduction of wrinkles.


Tulsi Contraindications

Tulsi has few contraindications. In principle this plant is harmless but it must be taken into account that its essential oil orally can cause toxicity if it is not used correctly and respecting the recommended doses.

The consumption of Tulsi is not recommended:

  • Pregnant or lactating women
  • People suffering from thyroid disease
  • In people who are following a treatment with diazepam
  • To those people who are taking anticoagulant medications
  • Its consumption with anticoagulants can delay the coagulation of the blood, considerably increasing the possibilities of bruises and hemorrhages. If any surgical operation is planned, Tulsi should be discontinued at least two weeks before the operation.

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