Being a stay-at-home-mum, I have come to rely on a lot of common spices and condiments found in my pantry to cure my children of common ailments. Most recipes are age-old that have been passed on for generations – just proving how natural herbs were used to treat diseases before chemically produced medicines came in. Other recipes, I have found through the Internet, over time, to solve a particular problem.
Please note that the suggestions and remedies mentioned below, work for me, or I have found them while conducting my research. Please consult a medical practitioner before following any of the below.
Holy Basil, or Tulsi, as it is known in India, is a common plant found in most Hindu households. It is known to be sacred and is worshiped by most Hindus.
It is a lesser known fact that Tulsi has numerous health benefits and has been used in Ayurveda for centuries now. Tulsi has anti-bacterial and healing benefits and is a great immunity builder. I have come to realize these benefits only after becoming a mother though, and it is surprising how I depend on it now for my children’s well-being. I am quite amazed at some of the other benefits of Tulsi, and other remedies I found while doing my research for this post. It’s no wonder then, that I had to write about Tulsi in my inaugral post in the ‘Kitchen Healing’ series.
Unfortunately, I do not have the Tulsi plant at home in Dubai. Hence, I use organic dried Tulsi for all my home remedies. I find that this limits its usefulness, but beggars can’t be choosers, I guess. We use dried Tulsi in two forms – loose powder and tea bags, both of the Organic India brand. If using fresh Tulsi leaves, a pinch can be substituted by 4-5 leaves and 10-15 leaves will make one tea bag’s worth.
How I use Tulsi at home:
1. To increase immunity for adults – I add a pinch of dried Tulsi powder to my daily cup of classic Chai, along with some ginger and cardamom, on a daily basis to build immunity (skip the ginger in the hotter months, though).
2. To increase immunity for adults – Having a cup of Tulsi tea, to replace your Green or other herbal teas, once or twice a week, really helps keep my immune levels up. It can be prepared like any other herbal tea – by simply boiling the leaves or powder in water, or using a tea bag.
3. To increase immunity for children – During the months of September to April, I make it a practice to boil some water with a pinch of dried Tulsi powder, in the morning and once cooled, fill in the children’s water bottles for them to consume throughout the day. This does not alter the taste of the water too much and also ensures that they get a little bit of Tulsi in their systems on a daily basis.
4. To relieve respiratory ailments – Most Indian mothers can swear by the fact that ‘Kadha’ – a herbal tea-like not-so-sweet-tasting concoction – can cure almost all cold and cough symptoms. I prefer to make this concoction from scratch and do not rely on store-bought powders and syrups. Tulsi – in a tea bag form, or half a teaspoon of the powder – is the main ingredient of the ‘Kadha’, along with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, whole black pepper, turmeric, licorice root powder and honey. The honey and licorice root ensure that the ‘Kadha’ tastes sweet enough for children to consume without any fuss.
Other benefits of Tulsi:
1. Fight Fever and other Respiratory problems – Drinking Tulsi Juice – crushing a few leaves with few drops of water and then extracting the juice from it – along with some water, throughout the day, can help bring fever down. Indian-style ‘Kadha’, recipe as explained above, is excellent to fight any cough, cold and flu symptoms.
2. Treat Acne – Tulsi is known for its’ anti-bacterial qualities, which makes it excellent as a topical treatment for acne spots. Mix the juice of Tulsi leaves (by crushing a few leaves with few drops of water and then extracting the juice from it) with coconut oil and apply on the affected areas. Wash off in 10 minutes. Drinking Tulsi Tea on a regular basis will help tackle any internal causes, as its’ antioxidant properties help detoxify and cleanse the system.
Regular intake of Tulsi tea, recipe above, has numerous benefits like:
1. Fights Cancer – Especially effective against chemically caused cancers and also helps the body heal from radiation poisoning.
2. Increase Immunity
3. Protects against Diabetes
4. Excellent source of Vitamin K, which helps maintain optimal bone density, digestive health and brain function.
5. Dental Care – its’ anti-bacterial properties are useful to deal with cavities, plaque, tartar and bad breath.
6. Relieve Headaches
7. Dissolves Kidney Stones
8. Anti-Aging and other skin and hair benefits
9. Reduces cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
10. Stress Relieving
Where to find it – Pots of the Tulsi plant are available for sale at retail stores around the Hindu Temple in Bur Dubai. Dried Tulsi in powdered or Tea Bag form are available at most Indian grocery stores, like Al Adil Trading, Madhoor stores, etc.
Hope you can use Tulsi in your’s and your family’s lives. Please feel free to leave me a comment below, if you would like to share any other benefits of Tulsi, or try any of the recipes mentioned above.
Please note that this post is not endorsed or in collaboration with Organic India.