Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Ocimum sanctum

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Herb of Immortality

Basil is a herb of immortality. The ancient Egyptians used it in the process of embalming mummies to preserve them for the afterlife, and in the modern countries of Iran, Malaysia and Egypt basil is scattered or planted on graves. Hindus believe that a sprig of basil placed on the breast of a corpse will ensure the entry of the soul into paradise. These philosophies were adopted into Christian lore, and basil was said to have sprung up around the tomb of Jesus Christ after his resurrection.
Amongst Hindus basil is sacred Vishnu, a sun god and member of the chief triad of gods, and to Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu who lived amongst cow herders. Vishnu’s wife Lakshmi was transformed into a basil plant. Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) is grown around the temples and the seeds and roots are made into rosaries. The Christian Greek Orthodox Church also consider basil to be a holy herb, and it is used in the preparation of holy water and a pot is sometimes placed beneath the altar.
Amongst Hindus a pot of basil is considered essential within the home, where it is loved and cherished and considered to be something of a guardian spirit. Tudor England also considered basil to be lucky in the home and it was often a gift to a couple setting up house, or given as a parting gift to guests. In the West Indies basil is still sprinkled around new business premises to ensure good fortune for the enterprise.
Basil’s reputation as a high holy herb is reflected in its botanical name basilikon from the Greek basileus meaning ‘king’, given to it by a Byzantine princess, meaning that it was a remedy fit for a king. The mediaeval herbalists mistook this derivation and thought that basilikon referred to the mythical beast the basilisk, whose gaze turned creatures to stone, and several pieces of period lore derive from this. Basil and rue will not flourish in close proximity and this was explained by the story that only one creature, the weasel, was wily enough to defeat the basilisk, which he did by fortifying himself with rue. In eastern countries it was observed that scorpions liked to shelter beneath pots of basil, and this gave rise to the superstition that a sprig of basil left beneath a pot would turn into a scorpion, or that bruised basil plants would yield scorpions. Even Culpepper said that sniffing basil would allow a scorpion to enter the brain.
By a slight stretch of imagination the leaves of basil can be seen as being heart shaped, and in folk magic this associates basil with love. In Moldavia girls would give young men sprigs of basil as a charm to make them fall in love with them, while in Italy girls would wear basil in the hair or rub the fragrant leaves on the skin to attract love; Spanish prostitutes still wear basil oil to attract custom. A pot of basil on a lighted windowsill was a covert invitation for a lover to call. In Voodoo bush basil [O. minimum] is sacred Erzulie, the goddess of love who is rather generous with her sexual favours.
Basil is called the ‘Witch’s Herb’ and throughout the ages witches have employed it in various forms of magic- for healing and revitalising the body, in love spells, to invoke sky deities and during initiation rites, when death and rebirth is promised.
Basil may be employed in incenses to invoke sky and incarnated gods, in love incenses, funeral incenses as a promise of the rebirth of the spirit, and incenses used at the time of initiation. Fresh or dried basil leaves, an infusion of basil or diluted basil oil can be used in the bath to revitalise the body and mind and inspire courage, or in the pre-initiation ritual bath. Basil can be added to the water used to cleanse and sanctify the temple and ritual tools.
An infusion of basil or basil leaves may be added to the ritual cup at initiations, at Herfest and Samhain when the death of the vegetation god is celebrated and mourned, or at the Lughnasa games when courage is needed by the combatants.
Basil leaves can be added to the bath to revitalise the body. Drunk as a tea basil has mild antiseptic powers and relieves nausea, aids digestion, benefits nervous disorders, eases headaches, upset stomachs, migraines, vertigo and colic. The fresh juice can be squeezed from the leaves and dropped into the ears to ease inflammations. It eases wasp stings, stimulates milk in nursing mothers and can be used as a gargle for oral thrush.

Tulsi, Ocimum sanctum, belongs to the family of Labiatae. The classical name, basilicum, from which "basil" is derived, means "royal or princely." Hindus know the plant as Tulasi and Surasah in Sanskrit, and Tulsi in Hindi. Other commonly used names are Haripriya, dear to Vishnu, and Bhutagni, destroyer of demons. Tulsi is Divinity. It is regarded not merely as a utilitarian God-send, as most sacred plants are viewed to be, but as an incarnation of the Goddess Herself. Thus, when one bows before Tulsi, one bows before the Goddess. Of course, denominations differ in their approach. Generally, worshipers of Vishnu will envision Tulsi as Lakshmi or Vrinda; devotees of Rama may view Tulsi as Sita; while Krishna bhaktas revere Her as Vrinda, Radha or Rukmani.

A plethora of Puranic legends and village stories relate how Tulsi came to grow and be worshiped on Earth. The classic Hindu myth, Samudramathana, the "Churning of the Cosmic Ocean," explains that Vishnu spawned Tulsi from the turbulent seas as a vital aid for all mankind. More common are legends that describe how the Goddess Herself came to reside on Earth as Tulsi. A complex legend in Orissa views the plant as the fourth incarnation of the Goddess who appeared as Tulsi at the beginning of our present age, the Kali yuga. The tale continues with intrigue and deception among the Gods, typical of the Puranic stories, culminating in Vishnu's transforming the Goddess Tulsi into a basil bush to be worshiped morning and evening by men and women in every household in the world.

The Tulsi is the most sacred. In Sanskrit that which is incomparable is called Tulasi. Impressed by her devotion and adherence to righteousness, Tulasi the wife of a celestial being was blessed by Lord Krishna that she would be worshipped by all, offerings would be incomplete without the offering of Tulasi. She also symbolises Goddess Lakshmi. Those who wish a righteous life also worship Tulasi. It symbolises,

1)Kalyani - Normally poisonous snakes and mosquitos do not come close to it due to some smell that it emits. That explains why it is a must in every house. The leaves as well roots are a cure for several diseases like malaria, cold, fever. The wood of this plant is used for Mala, ie a rosary for worship of Lord Vishnu and when worn in the neck it prevents diseases of the throat.

2) Vishnu Priye - Tulsi has been described as the beloved of Lord Vishnu since he is the creator and Tulsi helps the health of human beings and animals, prevents soil erosion.

3) Moksa - prade - By keeping the body healthy, it keeps the mind healthy and free of worries enabling us to concentrate on worship of the Ultimate Reality in comfort.

Tulsi, along with all other species of basil, possesses remarkable physical and spiritually healing properties, as author Stephen P. Huyler summarizes, "Aside from its religious merits, Tulsi has been praised in Indian scriptures and lore since the time of the early Vedas as an herb that cures blood and skin diseases. Ancient treatises extol it as an antidote for poisons, a curative for kidney disease and arthritis, a preventative for mosquito and insect bites, and a purifier of polluted air. Generally prepared in medicinal teas and poultices, Tulsi's widespread contemporary use in India as an aid to internal and external organs suggests these traditions are based upon practical efficacy." One finds descriptions of basil's health benefits in any of the books on herbs and ayurveda readily available today.

Tulsi is also extensively used to maintain ritual purity, to purify if polluted and to ward off evil. A leaf is kept in the mouth of the dying to insure passage to heavenly realms. During an eclipse, leaves are ingested and also placed in cooked food and stored water to ward off psychic pollution. Funeral pyres often contain tulsi wood to protect the spirit of the dead--as Bhutagni, destroyer of demons. tulsi leaves and sprigs are hung in the entryways of homes to keep away troublesome spirits, and the mere presence of the Tulsi shrine is said to keep the entire home pure, peaceful and harmonious.



Tulsi: The Holy Power Plant

The 'tulsi' plant or Indian basil (Ocimum Sanctum)is an important symbol in the Hindu religious tradition. The name 'tulsi' connotes "the incomparable one". Tulsi is a venerated plant and Hindus worship it in the morning and evening. Tulsi grows wild in the tropics and warm regions. Dark or Shyama tulsi and light or Rama tulsi are the two main varieties of basil, the former possessing greater medicinal value. Of the many varieties, the Krishna or Shyama tulsi is commonly used for worship.

Tulsi As A Deity

The presence of tulsi plant symbolizes the religious bent of a Hindu family. A Hindu household is considered incomplete if it doesn't have a tulsi plant in the courtyard. Many families have the tulsi planted in a specially built structure, which has images of deities installed on all four sides, and an alcove for a small earthen oil lamp. Some households can even have up to a dozen tulsi plants on the verandah or in the garden forming a "tulsi-van" or "tulsivrindavan" - a miniature basil forest.
Places that tend to inspire concentration and places ideal for worship, according to the Gandharv Tantra, include "grounds overgrown with tulsi plants". The Tulsi Manas Mandir at Varanasi is one such famous temple, where tulsi is worshipped along with other Hindu gods and goddesses. Vaishnavites or believers of Lord Vishnu worship the tulsi leaf because it's the one that pleases Lord Vishnu the most. They also wear beaded necklaces made of tulsi stems. The manufacture of these tulsi necklaces is a cottage industry in pilgrimages and temple towns.

Tulsi As An Elixir

Apart from its religious significance it is of great medicinal significance, and is a prime herb in Ayurvedic treatment. Marked by its strong aroma and a stringent taste, tusli is a kind of "the elixir of life" as it promotes longevity. The plant's extracts can be used to prevent and cure many illnesses and common ailments like common cold, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning and malaria. Essential oil extracted from karpoora tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes though of late it is used in the manufacture of herbal toiletry.
According to Jeevan Kulkarni, author of Historical Truths & Untruths Exposed, when Hindu women worship tulsi, they in effect pray for "less and less carbonic acid and more and more oxygen - a perfect object lesson in sanitation, art and religion". The tulsi plant is even known to purify or de- pollute the atmosphere and also works as a repellent to mosquitoes, flies and other harmful insects. Tulsi used to be a universal remedy in cases of malarial fever.
Prof Shrinivas Tilak, who teaches Religion at Concordia University, Montreal has made this historical citation: In a letter written to The Times, London, dated May 2, 1903 Dr George Birdwood, Professor of Anatomy, Grant Medical College, Bombay said, "When the Victoria Gardens were established in Bombay, the men employed on those works were pestered by mosquitoes. At the recommendation of the Hindu managers, the whole boundary of the gardens was planted with holy basil, on which the plague of mosquitos was at once abated, and fever altogether disappeared from among the resident gardners."

Tulsi In Legends

Quite a few myths and legends found in the Puranas or ancient scriptures point to the origin of importance of tulsi in religious rituals. Although tulsi is regarded as feminine, in no folklore is she described as the consort the Lord. Yet a garland solely made of tulsi leaves is the first offering to the Lord as part of the daily ritual. The plant is accorded the sixth place among the eight objects of worship in the ritual of the consecration of the Kalasha, the container of holy water.
According to one legend, Tulsi was the incarnation of a princess who fell in love with Lord Krishna, and so had a curse laid on her by his consort Radha. Tulsi is also mentioned in the stories of Meera and of Radha immortalised in Jayadev's Gita Govinda. The story of Lord Krishna has it that when Krishna was weighed in gold, not even all the ornaments of Satyabhama could outweigh him. But a single tulsi leaf placed by Rukmani on the pan tilted the scale.
In the Hindu mythology, tulsi is very dear to Lord Vishnu. Tulsi is ceremonially married to Lord Vishnu annually on the 11th bright day of the month of Karttika in the lunar calendar. This festival continues for five days and concludes on the full moon day, which falls in mid October. This ritual, called the 'Tulsi Vivaha' inaugurates the annual marriage season in India.

Tulsi or basil is a herbal remedy for a lot of common ailments. Here's a list of some medicinal uses of tulsi, from Healthlibrary:
The juice of tulsi leaves can be used to bring down fever. Extract of tulsi leaves in fresh water should be given every 2 to 3 hours. In between one can keep giving sips of cold water. In children, it is every effective in bringing down the temperature.
Tulsi is an important constituent of many Ayurvedic cough syrups and expectorants. It helps to mobilise mucus in bronchitis and asthma. Chewing tulsi leaves relieves cold and flu.
For earache a few drops of tulsi extract, if instilled, relieves the symptoms promptly.
The juice of fresh leaves, flower tops and slender roots is a very god antidote for snake and scorpion bite.
Its oil is rich in vitamin C, carotene, calcium and phosphorus. Besides, it has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.
Ayurvedic tulsi preparations have significantly reduced the symptoms of viral hepatitis.
In diabetics it helps in lowering the blood sugar level.
Its anti-spasmodic property can be utilised to relieve abdominal colics. The extracts are also helpful in digestive disorders.
Tulsi leaves have properties similar to the currently available anti-TB drugs like Streptomycin and Isoniazide.
Oil of tulsi has been used as a potent anti-malarial drug.
It also has mosquito repellent properties.
It raises the human body immunity by increasing the antibody production.
Experimental studies on animals have shown anti-stress activity with tulsi extract. <>/li>
Tulsi has anti-fertility effect by reducing the estrogen hormone levels in females and decreasing the sperm count in men.
It is also used to treat ringworm of the skin.



Extracts of tulsi, neem and turmeric can kill mosquito larvae, according to researchers, who say these can also be used as repellents against adult mosquitoes.



Leaf extracts of the plants `leucas aspera' and `ocimum sanctum' or tulsi have been found to be highly toxic to mosquito larvae and have a deterrent effect against the adult mosquito anopheles stephensi which spreads malaria.The tulsi extracts are also easy to handle, inexpensive and safe natural products for mosquito control, researchers from the Bharathiar University in Coimbatore say.



Writing in the journal Current Science, K Murugan and D Jeyabalan report that extracts of tulsi, wheat (triticum aestivum) and neem (azadirachta indica) can be used to disinfect water containing larvae. The scientists screened the effects of extracts of leucas aspera, ocimum sanctum, azadirachta indica, allium sativum, and curcuma longa (turmeric) on various stages of mosquito growth larvae, pupa and adults at concentrations varying from 1.0 to4.0 per cent. The anopheles stephensi breeds in wells, overhead or ground-level water tanks, cisterns, coolers, roof gutters and artificial containers.



It is found to be responsible for almost half of the annual malaria cases and transmits the disease in the plains of rural and urban India.The extracts of tulsi, wheat and neem can also be used for disinfecting water, it says, adding tulsi leaf extracts can be used in water tanks. to suppress anopheles stephensi.



The team found that leaf extracts of leucas aspera, tulsi and neem, as well as the pulp of allium sativum and rhizome of turmeric, killed mosquito larvae. Of these, leaf extracts of leucas and ocimum were the most effective.At four per cent concentration, leucas extract killed 90 per cent of the larvae, while tulsi or ocimum killed 84 per cent of the larvae.

The extracts also inhibited egg-laying by female mosquitoes, leading to fewer larvae. Extracts of all five plants are potential repellents against anopheles stephensi, the report in CurrentScience say

Medicinal Value of Tulsi



Since the ages elders have always worshipped the Tulsi plant. Special containers are made to keep this holy plant. On a certain day after Diwali people perform Tulsi Pooja. According to Ayurveda, plants have been found to have several medicinal properties. This leaves, seeds and roots of the Tulsi plants are used a variety of disease.
The juice of Tulsi leaves can be used to bring down fever. Extract of tulsi leaves in fresh water should be given every 2 to 3 hours. In between one can keep giving sips of cold water. In children, it is every effective in bringing down the temperature.
It is an important constituent of many Ayurvedic cough syrups and expectorants. It helps to mobilise mucus in bronchitis and asthma.
Chewing tulsi leaves relieves cold and flu.
For earache a few drops of tulsi extract, if instilled, relieves the symptoms promptly. The extracts are also helpful in digestive disorders.
The juice of fresh leaves, flower tops and slender roots is a very god antidote for snake and scorpion bite.
Its oil is rich in vitamin C, carotene, calcium and phosphorus. Besides, it has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Ayurvedic tulsi preparations have significantly reduced the symptoms of viral hepatitis.
In diabetics it helps in lowering the blood sugar level.
Its anti-spasmodic property can be utilised to relieve abdominal colics.
In olden days tulsi leaves were used to treat tuberculosis (TB). It has an action similar to the currently available anti-TB drugs like Streptomycin and Isoniazide. However, tulsi leaves alone are not adequate but should be used as supplement to these drugs.
Oil of tulsi has been used as a potent anti-malarial drug. It also has mosquito repellent properties.
It raises the human body immunity by increasing the antibody production.
Tulsi has anti-fertility effect by reducing the estrogen hormone levels in females and decreasing the sperm count in men.
It is also used to treat ringworm of the skin.
The tulsi plant has rightly been given a sacred position in our mythology. It is amazing that inspite of tulsi having such a big list of benefits, not many of us were aware of it. A lot of people have been enjoying their tea with the addition of tulsi leaves while suffering from cold. Similarly tulsi leaves can be put to many more uses.

Constipation Alternating with Diarrhoea
If you are over the age of 40-50 and you get constipation alternating with diarrhoea, you must get yourself investigated properly rather than take treatment on your own. There may be some serious problem like a cancer of the large intestine.
Tulsi grows wild in all warm regions in general but do not grow well in cold regions. Dark Tulsi or "shyama" and light Tulsi or "Rama" are the two main groups of varieties, but the darker varieties are said to possess greater medicinal value.