Tulsi (holy basil) is a highly esteemed culinary and medicinal aromatic herb from the Lamiaceae family that is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. It has more than 3000 years of usage in Ayurvedic medicine. Tulsi is also known as an “Elixir of Life” in the Ayurvedic system for its therapeutic abilities and benefits of Tulsi include curing a variety of common health ailments. Tulsi leaf extracts are traditionally documented in the Indian Materia Medica for the treatment of bronchitis, rheumatism, and pyrexia.
The research examined supports traditional applications and indicates the benefits of tulsi for lifestyle-related chronic diseases such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and psychological stress.
Different varieties that show the benefits of Tulsi
Tulsi often comes in three different varieties.
- Rama or Sri tulsi (green leaves) and Krishna or Shyama tulsi (purplish leaves) are two botanically and phytochemically distinct cultivars of Ocimum tenuiflorum (or Ocimum sanctum L.).
- Ocimum gratissimum is a third variety of tulsi known as Vana or wild/forest tulsi (dark green leaves).
- The various tulsi varieties vary greatly in terms of shape and phytochemical constitution, secondary metabolites.
- It is usually identified from other Ocimum species by their yellow pollen, high eugenol concentrations, and fewer chromosomes.
- Ocimum sanctum L. (Tulsi) is a 30-60 cm tall erect, densely branching subshrub with simple opposite green or purple leaves.
- Extremely scented stems, and hairy leaves.
- Petioled leaves are oval, up to 5 cm long, and generally toothed.
- Purplish flowers grow in elongated racemes in tight whorls.
- Tulsi is native to the tropics and is widely farmed as well as an escaped weed.
- It grows for religious and therapeutic uses, as well as for its essential oil.
- Tulsi is a significant symbol in many Hindu religious traditions, with the plant associated with Goddess figures. Tulsi means “the incomparable one” in Sanskrit. The presence of a Tulsi plant represents a Hindu family’s religious bent.
The food and nutraceutical industries depend heavily on minerals from regular dietary intake. Tulsi leaves have a unique flavor and use as a home treatment for many ailments. Tulsi leaves are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fat, protein, polysaccharide, fiber, pigments, and mucin, according to the growing interest in nutraceutical Tulsi benefits.
Seed volatile oil has fatty acids and sitosterol, while the leaf volatile oil contains eugenol, eugenol (eugenic acid), ursolic acid, carvacrol, linalool, limatrol, caryophyllene, and methyl carvicol. In addition, anthocyanins are also present in Tulsi leaves and certain sugars are present in the seed mucilage. The sugars are mainly composed of xylose and polysaccharides. There are numerous substances in holy basil’s stem and leaves, including saponins, flavonoids, triterpenoids, and tannins, that may have biological effects.
Health Benefits of Tulsi
Benefits of Tulsi include dental disorders, epilepsy, asthma or dyspnea, hiccups, cough, skin and hematological ailments, parasite infections, neuralgia, headache, wounds, and inflammation. While tea infusion uses to treat hepatic and gastrointestinal diseases. Moreover, benefits of tulsi roots and stems in malaria as well as snake and mosquito bites.
Many in vitro and animal investigations confirm the tulsi leaf’s potent pharmacological activities, which include adaptogenic, metabolic, immunomodulatory, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hepatoprotective properties, radioprotective, antimicrobial, and antidiabetic effects.
- Anti-diabetic effect: Tulsi leaf extract reduces blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, and urea while increasing glycogen, hemoglobin, and protein. This extract also increases insulin and peptide levels, as well as glucose tolerance.
- Wound healing activity: Benefit of tulsi in wound healing. The effects of dexamethasone on normal wound healing and dexamethasone-depressed healing were also studied in Tulsi leaf extract.
- Antioxidant activity: The aqueous extract of Tulsi considerably raises the levels of catalase and superoxide dismutase, two antioxidant enzymes. Oral eating also protects the liver and aortic tissue from hypercholesterolemia-induced peroxidative damage.
- Hypolipidemic activity: Fresh leaves of tulsi significantly altered the lipids of normal albino rabbits. This led to a considerable decrease in the levels of blood total cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids, and LDL cholesterol. Also, mark a rise in the levels of HDL cholesterol and total fecal sterol.
- Antimicrobial activity: Linoleic acid in Tulsi fixed oil may contribute to its antibacterial properties. The oil has high antibacterial efficacy against Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus pumius.
Other benefits of Tulsi
- Gastroprotective action: Tulsi leaves extract boost mucus secretion and decreases acid secretion. It has anti-ulcerogenic properties against experimental ulcers.
- Anthelmintic action: Eugenol mainly proposes the putative anthelmintic principle. Also responsible for the anthelmintic action of the essential oil from Tulsi.
- Anticancer activity: Benefits of tulsi leaf paste for chemopreventive efficacy when applied topically, and ethanolic extract when taken orally. By lowering DNA damage and causing apoptosis in precancerous and cancerous cells. Tulsi also aids in the prevention of malignancies brought on by harmful substances. This decreases the growth of experimental tumors and improves survival. Tulsi leaf extract inhibits the metabolic activation of the carcinogen, which stops the events linked to chemical carcinogenesis.