Tulsi fights swine flu?
From: The New Nation, Bangladesh, August 28, 2009
Tulsi is a medicinal plant of local origins that has abundant medicinal benefits. Tulsi has much of a cultural significance in India as well, where it is considered divine and its presence in households, auspicious. The latest revelation about the medicinal properties of Tulsi comes in the wake of pandemic alerts world over.
Tulsi helps in countering the deadly H1Ni virus. Tulsi is found to improve the body's defense mechanisms against viruses in general and its effectiveness has been vouched for in its ability to act against the virus causing flu. It has been revealed that Tulsi could ward off the Swine Flu virus as well as could cure people who have been infected with Swine flu.
The treatment for Swine flu involves consumption of 20 to 25 leaves of Tulsi in its fresh form or as liquid and to be taken in empty stomach twice a day. The revelation assumes significance as other medicines are found lacking in their ability to tackle H1N1 virus, with Swine Flu sweeping across the world, spreading panic among people and offices and schools being shut down to control the spread of the epidemic.
Tulsi's effectiveness against Swine Flu may have come as news to people who are unaware of the wealth of benefits that the humble herb has to offer. Traditionally, Hindu temples provide water that has Tulsi leaves soaked in it to devotees. Tulsi leaves are boiled in water and the essence is given to children and adults who suffer from flu and common cold.
Tulsi plant is a repellent against mosquitoes and other insects and Tulsi leaves and juice extracted from the leaves are found to be cures against malaria. Tulsi is also a remedy against constipation, indigestion, poor appetite and acidity.
Tulsi is known to help solve health problems in women that are associated with menstruation and pregnancy. Tulsi strengthens the body's immune system in children and protects them from common infections. The effectiveness of the medicinal plant in preventing and curing swine flu only vouches for the host of other health benefits that the plant is traditionally known to offer.
Indian natural herb Tulsi to fight back swine flu
From: Yahoo News India, August 12, 2009
Ayurveda, the traditional 'science of life', has a remedy for diseases when every other stream of medicine fails. Now, at a time when swine flu is spreading like wildfire across the world, Ayurveda has the remedy in the form of the miraculous herb, the basil leaves commonly known as Tulsi.
Tulsi, the purest and most sublime plant, has been known and worshipped in India for more than five millennia for its remarkable healing properties. Considered as an 'Elixir of Life', this wonder herb has now been claimed to keep the deadly swine flu at bay and help fast recovery in afflicted persons. "The anti-flu property of Tulsi has been discovered by medical experts across the world quite recently. Tulsi improves the body's overall defense mechanism including its ability to fight viral diseases. It was successfully used in combating Japanese Encephalitis and the same theory applies to swine flu," Dr. U. K. Tiwari, a herbal medicine practitioner says.
Apart from acting as a preventive medicine in case of swine flu, Tulsi can help the patient recover faster. "Even when a person has already contracted swine flu, Tulsi can help in speeding up the recovery process and also help in strengthening the immune system of the body," he claims. Dr. Bhupesh Patel, a lecturer at Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar is also of the view that Tulsi can play an important role in controlling swine flu. "Tulsi can control swine flu and it should be taken in fresh form. Juice or paste of at least 20-25 medium sized leaves should be consumed twice a day on an empty stomach." This increases the resistance of the body and, thereby, reduces the chances of inviting swine flu," believes Patel.
As its name suggests, Tulsi has again proved to be the 'the incomparable' medicine - this time, in the prevention and cure of swine flu. The symptoms of the H1N1 flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with novel H1N1 flu virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. The high risk groups for novel H1N1 flu are not known at this time, but it's possible that they may be the same as for seasonal influenza. However, please consult a practitioner in case of any such symptoms. Doctors have strictly advised against self-medication.
Basil could fight the effects of ageing: A type of basil could help combat the harmful effects of ageing, according to new research.
From: The Telegraph (UK), September 8, 2008, by Graham Tibbetts
A type of basil is believed to have anti-oxidant and anti-ageing properties Holy basil is a close relative of the herb commonly used in Western cooking and its sharp-tasting leaves are incorporated in Asian dishes.
Native to India, its extract has long been used in the ancient system of Ayurvedic medicine practiced in India and other parts of Asia as a rejuvenation drug.
In the first formal study of the herb, pharmacy researchers found that holy basil extract was effective at protecting against free radicals - cancer-causing chemicals which can attack key organs such as the heart, liver and brain and damage genes and nerve cells.
The researchers, led by Dr Vaibhav Shinde from Poona College of Pharmacy, Maharashtra, India, studied the herb for anti-oxidant and anti-ageing properties. They presented their findings at the British Pharmaceutical Conference in Manchester.
Dr Shinde said: "The study validates the traditional use of herb as a youth-promoting substance in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. It also helps describe how the herb acts at a cellular level." He added: "We have had some very exciting results. I am now using holy basil in my own cooking and I hope it will be beneficial."
The herb, whose Latin name is Latin name Ocimum sanctum, is also known as tulsi and is traditionally grown in an earthenware pot in homes and gardens in India.
In the past it has been used to treat a variety of disorders including fevers, colds, malaria and diabetes.
Basil is new anti-ageing star
From: Marie Claire, September 8, 2008
Holy Basil could be the latest weapon in the war against wrinkles, according to new research.
A study has found that holy basil - a close relative of the herb commonly used in Western cooking - contained anti-ageing antioxidants that help to protect against free radicals, cancer-causing chemicals that attack organs like the heart, liver and brain and damage nerve cells.
Holy basil is native to India, and its people have long recognized its rejuvenating qualities, harnessing its extract in their ancient system of Ayurvedic medicine to treat disorders like fevers, colds, malaria and diabetes.
The researchers, led by Dr Vaibhav Shinde from Poona College of Pharmacy, Maharashtra, studied the herb for anti-ageing and antioxidant properties, and presented their findings at the British Pharmaceutical Conference in Manchester.
According to the Telegraph [UK], Dr Shinde said: 'The study validates the traditional use of herb as a youth-promoting substance in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. It also helps describe how the herb acts at a cellular level.'
He added: 'I am now using holy basil in my own cooking and hope it will be beneficial.'
Tulsi: Introduction to the Legend
From: Tulsipeople.com (blog from India), November 12, 2007, by Prashanti (copyright)
Sri Tulsi ji: The Incomparable Queen of Herbs -
For over five millennia, the esteem that Tulsi has earned makes it one of the most cherished and truly legendary of India's healing herbs. From general well-being to acute critical imbalances, Tulsi's magnanimous healing nature is used and honored daily by millions. Modern research has confirmed dozens of Tulsi's traditionally known actions and therapeutic uses including its remarkable adaptogenic and anti-stress activities, as well as its powerful support for the immune system.
The most sacred herbs of India are likely Soma, Tulsi and Lotus, and of these Tulsi, no doubt, inspires the most personal devotion. Where most herbs are considered to be forms of the Goddess, Tulsi is a considered to be a Goddess herself. One legend is that a Goddess incarnated as Binda and, after spending a lifetime as a very close devotee of Krishna, serves to this day as the herb Tulsi, which leads to one of Tulsi's many names, Vishnupriya, the beloved one of Vishnu. Most traditional homes and Temples in India will have at least one Tulsi plant, the care of which is a form of bhakti yoga, a beautiful ritual that usually melts the person into a union with nature. This ritual is especially focused on Tulsi Jayanti, the birthday of Tulsi on Karttika Shukla Dwadasi, the 12th day of the bright half of the moon during mid-October to mid-November, as well as every Shukla Dwadasi during the year. How many herbs do you know that have a birthday?
Wearing a Tulsi mala, a necklace of 108 beads carved from Tulsi's woody stems and worn around the neck or wrist, is a common way to benefit from the power of her presence which includes psychic protection and spiritual nourishment. In the Padmapurana Lord Shiva tells the sage Narada about this power:
"Oh Narada, wherever Tulsi grows there is no misery. She is the holiest of the holy. Wherever the breeze blows her fragrance there is purity. Vishnu showers blessing on those who worship and grow Tulsi. Tulsi is sacred because Brahma resides in the roots, Vishnu resides in the stems and leaves and Rudra resides in the flowering tops."
Tulsi is a very friendly herb and consistently lends herself well in all sorts of therapies. Tulsi tea, simply a hot infusion of dried leaves, must be one of the more enjoyable forms of medicine we can experience as well as an excellent anupana for other botanicals and treatments. Tulsi is both a 'first-reach' herb in most cases of cough, colds, flu and fever, as well as a 'last-resort' when nothing else seems to work. Tulsi is a warm blessing that can be enjoyed by most people throughout the year for a vast array of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits. In ensuing articles we will explore many of these benefits.
The Organic Way
From:Tulsipeople.com (blog from India), September 30, 2007, by Nayantaraa Lama
An Israeli-American couple have set up a thriving business in India, exporting millions of dollars worth of Tulsi to Europe and the US --
They came to India, as many Western backpackers have been doing for decades, in search of spirituality and salvation about 15 years ago. They came across a guru, who guided them to a fascinating way of life, introducing them to Ayurveda. He also made them realize the importance of Tulsi (Holy Basil) in everyday life. They fell in love with the land (and with each other), got married, and decided to stay back. Over the years, they discovered the phenomenal properties of Tulsi, and decided to popularize it in the West. Yoav Lev, an Israeli, and his wife, Holly-scion of the wealthy Bronfman family (and daughter of Edgar Miles Bronfman, former chairman of Seagram’s and MGM) - are today running a successful enterprise out of Lucknow, exporting millions of dollars worth of Tulsi to the US, Europe and other parts of the world. Amongst the few things that are common in rural and urban India is the presence of a Tulsi plant in many households. It is important both in terms of performing rituals and also for its therapeutic qualities. Yoav Lev (now chairman and president of Organic India) came along with Holly to India over 15 years back to meet their guru H.W.L. Poonja (whom they addressed as Papaji) in Lucknow. He introduced them to ayurveda and the importance of Tulsi. Influenced by their guru, the Levs began their journey of cultivating Tulsi the organic way (without the use of chemicals and fertilizers) by getting together hundreds of farmers in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Organic cultivation not just improves yields but also benefits the crop as it fetches more value. It was these factors that attracted the Israeli-American couple to farm Tulsi for commercial purposes organically. They subsequently setup a company called the Indo Israel Trading Corporation (IITC), which has now been rechristened Organic India. “Tulsi is regarded as an elixir of life,” points out Lev. “Amongst other things it is believed to promote longevity and significantly reduce stress. Besides, it is a pillar of traditional Ayurvedic holistic healing system known as ‘adaptogen’ (which helps out bodies adapt to different forms of stress – environmental, physical, mental and emotional). All these factors, besides encouragement from our guru, made us take this initiative”. Theirs is the first company in India to offer herbs and other medicines in vegetable capsules made from plant cellulose, which is what vegetarians prefer, says Lev, who shuttles between his head office in Lucknow, and Delhi and also travels frequently to Israel and the US. Holly too came to India in search of salvation and it was here that she met her husband and their guru. Thereafter began the journey of interacting with farmers and giving them the option of cultivation Tulsi. Their efforts bore fruit and now they celebrate their coming together with the farming community every year by inviting the farmers to Azamgarh (in Uttar Pradesh) by giving away awards and organizing a lot of cultural activities. It’s their way of thanks giving. “I love interacting with the farming community and it is their love and support which inspires us to have a Tulsi Mahotsav in Azamgarh every year”, explains Holly. “Hundreds of farmers who work for us come and join us in celebrating the importance of Tulsi.”The farmers too have nothing to complain as their cash registers have started ringing. “I have been cultivating Tulsi for over five years and we have benefited greatly from the crop”, points out Lalita Devi from Haripur in UP. “Our revenues last year were to the tune of Rs. 100,000″. Devi, who cultivates Tulsi for organic India, got an award at last year’s Mahotsav for her contribution to the company. Similar is the experience of 35-year-old farmer Kishore Kumar Rajpurohit, from Jhalwar in Rajasthan. “I have also been growing husk along with Tulsi and for the past few years our average profits are in the range of Rs. 50,000,” he notes.Over the past few years, the company has been test marketing its complete range of health products in Lucknow and Delhi. It has also been supplying Ayurvedic herbs to select healthcare practitioners and supplement manufacturers in the US, France, Germany, Korea, Israel, Netherland and Australia.The firm launched its product range comprising 15 premium quality Ayurvedic herbal formulations like Ashwagandha, Amalaki, Brahmi, Bowelcare, Breathe Free, Flexibility, Immunity, Herbal Antibiotic, Liver-Kidney Care, Sugar Balance, Triphala, Tulsi, Weight Balance, Women’s Well Being, along with five different blends of Tulsi Teas such as Tulsi Original, Ginger, Green, and Tulsi Chai Masala.According to a company spokesperson, these blends are being prepared by using Rama, Krishna and Vana Tulsi leaves and is the first tea of its kind to be offered in the Indian market. It saw a successful foray in the international markets as well, especially in the US , the UK, Germany, Israel, Korea and Australia. “Natural food products, such as organic food grains, legumes, dairy products, healthy snacks and condiments will soon be added to the Organic India product line,” says Holly.Tulsi works differently for each person depending on one’s body’s needs. The chemistry of Tulsi is highly complex as it contains hundreds of beneficial compounds known as phyto-chemicals. Working together, these compounds possess strong antioxidant, antibacterial and immune-enhancing properties that lead to overall wellness.“Drinking Tulsi tea promotes a sense of well being and relieves stress,” says the company spokesperson. Organic India has introduced Tulsi to the Western world as a tea with six flavors.“We were inspired by the ancient spiritual and healing tradition of India,” remarks Yoav. “Our vision was to combine ancient Ayurvedic wisdom with modern science and technology to produce safe and effective products that meets the highest international standards.”After probing existing Ayurvedic products, raw material suppliers and manufacturers, the couple realised that to ensure a reliable, premium quality and hygienic product, they would have grow, process and package their own herbs.It became apparent that there was a real need and growing demand for organically grown Ayurvedic herbs, not only in India but throughout the world. The couple committed themselves to establishing a company and line of products that would set new standards of quality and integrity for Ayurvedic and natural food industry.The turnover of the company has been rising steadily. Last year, it was expected to cross Rs. 100 million, and by 2010, the projected turnover is expected to be Rs. 1 billion.The company promoted by the Levs represents the frontier of a growing global movement, promoting healthy living, sustainable organic agriculture and socially responsible business practices. There are about 300 employees and their mission is to help people enjoy healthier and happier lives and to preserve and protect the natural environment.“While ours is a commercial venture, it fully embodies the spirit of service,” explains the company spokesperson. “In this way Organic India serves as a model and catalyst for a new way of doing business that empowers and respects traditional farmers and tribal people, honors nature and provides superior products that are truly beneficial for the consumer”. The dedicated team includes farmers, scientists, health practitioners, business professionals and a host of support workers.While the company gets to make its millions, there are millions of people across India who continue to revere and savour this plant in many ways. It is ironic, nonetheless, that it took an Israeli- US couple to realize the importance of this plant and introduce its benefits to the West.The ‘Incomparable’ plantTulsi literally translates as ‘incomparable’ and its therapeutic qualities prove just that.Also referred as the Holy Basil, Tulsi finds mention in most rituals across a myriad of cultures all over India. Some devout Hindus worship the Tulsi in the morning and evening.It’s easy to grow the plant especially in the tropics. The two main varieties of this plant are the Dark or Shyama (Krishna) Tulsi and light or Rama Tulsi. The former possesses greater medicinal value and is commonly used for worship.This plant finds a strong mention in Ayurveda. It was mentioned by Acharya Charak, in the Charak Samhita, the central teaching of Ayurvedic medicine written at least 2,000 years ago, and in the Rigveda.Tulsi is considered to be an ‘adaptogen,’ balancing different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress. Marked by its strong aroma and astringent taste, Tulsi is regarded as a kind of ‘elixir of life’ and believed to promote longevity.Its aroma is distinctively different from its close cousin, the Thai Basil which is sometimes wrongly called Holy Basil (at some shops and on the internet). But they can be distinguished by their aroma and flavour. Holy Basil is slightly hairy, whereas Thai Basil is smooth and hairless; Holy Basil does not have the strong aniseed or licorice smell of Thai Basil, and it has a hot, spicy flavour sometimes compared to cloves.Tulsi’s extracts are used in Ayurvedic remedies for common colds, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, and malaria. Traditionally, Tulsi is taken in many forms: as herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf, or mixed with ghee. Essential oil extracted from Karpoora Tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes and in herbal toiletry. For centuries, the dried leaves of Tulsi have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects.
Here's what holy basil may do for you
From: The Hamilton Spectator (Ontario, Canada), August 22, 2007
Dr. Herb: ...many herbs have also been credited with healing powers... Here's what [holy basil] may do for you.
Your arsenal of home remedies is about to get a lot spicier. Though herbs have been used for hundreds of years to heal, scientists are finally starting to substantiate these plants' abilities to alleviate arthritis pain, reduce high blood sugar and cholesterol and help with many other conditions. They're even looking at the possibility of amazing new powers in some herbs, such as the ability to kill cancer cells and help problem drinkers curb their alcohol intake.
"Herbs and other natural remedies can be as effective as traditional treatments, often without the same negative side-effects," says Dr. Roberta Lee, medical director of the Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.
So here are 10 super-healers you'll want to add to the all-natural section of your medicine cabinet -- and even to your favourite recipes. Folding one or two of them into your cooking everyday might yield big benefits.
... Holy Basil: Combat stress
Several animal studies back holy basil, a special variety of the plant you use in your pesto sauce, as effective at reducing stress by increasing adrenalin and noradrenalin and decreasing serotonin. This is no surprise to Pratima Nangia-Makker, a researcher at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, whose mother and grandmother relied on a tea made from the leaves of holy basil to relieve indigestion and headaches.
It might also inhibit breast cancer. First in test tubes and then in mice, a tea made of holy basil shrunk tumours, reduced their blood supply, and stopped their spread, found Nangia-Makker, who plans to study the effects in humans.
Maximize the benefits: For stress relief, try holy basil extract from New Chapter or Om Organics, widely available in health food stores. To aid in breast cancer treatment, Nangia-Makker advises drinking this tea daily: Pour 2 cups (500 mL) boiling water over 10 to 15 fresh holy basil leaves -- other varieties of basil won't work -- and steep five minutes. Remove the leaves before consuming. If you are being treated for breast cancer, be sure to check with your doctor. You're unlikely to find the plants at your local nursery, but you can order them and organic holy basil seeds from horizonherbs.com.
Tulsi - the versatile therapeutic herb
From: DailyIndia.com, New Delhi, December 1, 2006
Tulsi or Holy Basil is the most common herb grown in the Indian kitchen gardens.
Also revered among all the household plants in India, tulsi has innumerable medicinal properties the most common one being for cough and cold.
Botanically named Ocimum sanctum, tulsi leaves boiled in water can be taken to cure sore throat. This water is also an ideal medium for gargle.
Decoction of tulsi leaves, honey and ginger is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma and influenza.
Tulsi leaves, besides being added to tea for taste, can also help in preventing feverishness. In acute fever, a decoction of tulsi leaves boiled with powdered cardamom, sugar and milk can lower and control the temperature.
Basil is useful in reducing blood cholesterol as well as purification of blood.
The leaves are good for nerves and to sharpen memory. Basil leaves are regarded as an adaptogen, anti-stress agent. Twelve basil leaves can be chewed twice a day to prevent stress. Chewing of basil leaves also cures ulcers and infections in mouth.
Juice of basil leaves and honey taken regularly for six months can be useful in expelling renal stones.
Tulsi is known for its antiseptic property to destroy bacteria and insects. A teaspoon of tulsi leaves juice can be taken at an interval of few hours in case of insect bite. Also fresh juice must be applied to the affected parts.
Basil juice is an effective remedy for sore eyes and night blindness. Two drops of black basil juice should be put into the eyes daily at bedtime to cure this.
Powder of dried tulsi leaves mixed with mustard oil can be used as toothpaste for maintaining dental health, countering bad breath and for massaging gums.
Pounded leaves mixed with sandalwood paste can be applied on forehead to get relief from headache.
A few drops of juice can be put in the ear to treat earache and dullness of hearing.
The seeds of the plant are useful in treating diarrhea, chronic dysentery and constipation.
Watch Tower: Tulsi - The courtyard plant
From: Central Chronicle, India - Jan 16, 2006
It offers a herbal remedy for serious ailments like inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, malaria, diabetes, hepatitis and psychosomatic stress disorders, points out Aparna Chatterjee
Tulsi - the Indian Basil plant often grown in the courtyards of Hindu families, is a revered symbol of worship in the Hindu religious tradition. The name 'Tulsi' connotes "the incomparable one". Traditional Hindus worship this holy plant every morning and evening as a diurnal ritual.
Tulsi grows wild in the tropics and warm regions. It is a branched, fragrant and erect herb plant attaining a height of about 75 to 90 cm when mature. Its aromatic leaves are round-shaped, growing up to 5 cms long with the margin being entire or toothed. The Tulsi flowers are small, reddish-purple in color, present in small compact clusters on cylindrical spikes. The fruits are small and the seeds are reddish-yellow in color.
The Tulsi plant with light green leaves is called Shri / Rama Tulsi and the plant variety with dark red leaves is called Krishna or Shyama /Manjari Tulsi. The extracts (juice/oil) of the Shri / Shyama Tulsi plant is widely used for its Ayurvedic medicinal value. The juice of leaves, or a concoction, called Jushanda, is a kind of tea, giving relief in common cold, fever, bronchitis, cough, digestive complaints, etc. Marked by its strong aroma and astringent taste, Tulsi is also known as "the elixir of life" as it promotes longevity. The plant's extracts can be used to prevent and cure many illnesses and everyday ailments like common cold, headaches, cough, flu, ear-ache, fever, colic pain, digestive disorders, etc.
This sacred Basil, Ocimum Sanctum, is a fragrant, medicinal plant that also keeps away mosquitoes and flies. It offers a herbal remedy for serious ailments like inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, malaria, diabetes, hepatitis and psychosomatic stress disorders because of its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
The Krishna / Shyama Tulsi plant is widely used for everyday worship in all Hindu Brahmin families. Many Hindu households have a Tulsi plant in the courtyard, grown in a specially built structure, having 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 Tulsi-Vrindavan - 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.
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 Rukmini 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 Kartika 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.
Hindu Mythological Tales narrate that Tulsi, a destitute woman, was accused of infidelity and shunned by all. Finding no shelter in the world, she turned to Vishnu for help. But the gates of Vaikuntha (Vishnu's Abode) were shut on her as Vishnu's Consort Lakshmi refused to let her in.
Tulsi stood in the courtyard of Vishnu's abode, under the open sky, helpless and humiliated. Her feet turned into roots, her arms sprouted leaves, and she turned into a delicate yet wild plant, her fragrance spreading all around.
Lord Vishnu said: "By not abandoning her devotion to me, despite all odds, Tulsi has become my beloved, 'Vishnupriya'. She should be treated with dignity at all times - not as an unchaste woman, but as a venerable housewife, a 'Sumangali'. No worship of Vishnu is complete without an offering of Tulsi sprigs.
And so the Tulsi plant is nurtured in the courtyard of every house, and is identified as Vishnu's Vrinda or Krishna's Radha, women whose devotion for the Lord, though unrequited, never waned. Thus, Tulsi is seen as Lakshmi's co-wife for her unconditional devotion to Vishnu, but as Laksmi is very jealous of her, she resides in the home whereas Tulsi remains in the courtyard.
Another story goes that Tulsi was the paramour of Lord Vishnu. Out of Jealousy, Lakshmi cursed her into becoming a plant and the Lord transformed himself into the sacred Shalagrama Stone to keep her company. The Shalagrama is a small stone, an ammonite, a fossil genus of marine cephalopod, considered to be a natural representation of Lord Vishnu. Shalagramas are found in the Gandak river of Nepal. They are usually black or dark green coloured, round or oval in shape, striated with tree-like markings. The curves of the striations signify the various forms / reincarnations of Vishnu. The worship of Shalagrama doesn't involve elaborate prayer rituals. It is kept wrapped in a cloth, often bathed and perfumed. Its very presence in a home bestows health, wealth and happiness on its inhabitants.
By convention, the Tulsi Leaf is not offered to Shiva, just as Bel Leaves, dear to Shiva, are not offered to Vishnu. Tulsi leaves are also not offered to Goddess Lakshmi as she was once annoyed during her lovesport with Vishnu, when his attention got diverted towards Tulsi.
Necklaces of Tulsi Beads are used as Rosaries while chanting the name of Lord Vishnu. These are kept in special cloth bags to prevent their contamination.
Thus, Tulsi - The Courtyard Plant is not only a symbol of sacred virtue in Hindu religion, it is also well-known and well-used as a medicinal herb for curing human ailments, as an alternative therapy in Ayurveda.
Columbia University Study Suggests Benefits of Zyflamend in the Early Treatment of Prostate Cancer
From: Business Wire, November 7, 2005
NEW YORK -- Data from the Columbia University Department of Urology demonstrates that Zyflamend, a unique herbal extract preparation, suppresses the growth of prostate cancer cells and induces prostate cancer cells to self-destruct via a process called "apoptosis."
The data, published in the October edition of Nutrition and Cancer, showed Zyflamend, a patented formulation from New Chapter, has the ability, in vitro, to reduce prostate cancer cell proliferation by as much as 78 percent and to induce cancer cell death or apoptosis.
The research confirms Zyflamend has COX-1 and COX-2 anti-inflammatory effects, although its anti-cancer affects against prostate cancer were independent of COX-2 inhibition, supporting the postulation that some prostate cancer cells are not affected by COX-2 inflammation.
"These results were particularly surprising and show great promise in the fight against prostate cancer," said researcher Dr. Debra L. Bemis of the Columbia University Department of Urology. "We hope that the magnitude of benefits shown in this research will be confirmed in the larger scale trial already in progress."
Based on this research, Zyflamend shows value in early therapy for prostate cancer patients. COX inhibitors have also shown value for prostate cancer patients, but data from recent trials of selective COX-2 inhibitors such as sulindac (Clinoril) and celecoxib (Celebrex), suggest that use of these drugs might have adverse cardiovascular effects. The more widely utilized general COX inhibitor, aspirin, is not associated with these negative side effects and, instead, has well-established beneficial effects for individuals with cardiovascular disease. Zyflamend has a biochemical action profile that resembles aspirin more than these selective COX-2 inhibitors.
Dr. Bemis added: "Zyflamend is derived from natural herbal sources and is readily available in health food and nutritional supplement stores. Given the impressive data we're reporting, Zyflamend is a potentially more convenient and desirable means to target the enormous population that is susceptible to prostate cancer."
On the strength of this laboratory research, Columbia University's Department of Urology has commenced a Phase 1 human clinical trial testing Zyflamend's ability to prevent prostate cancer in patients with prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN).
PIN is a clinical precursor for prostate cancer. Without intervention, men diagnosed with PIN have a 50 to 70 percent likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Although there are tools that detect the early signs of prostate cancer, such as PIN or elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, there is no consensus as to the optimal therapy for these patients.
"We are very encouraged about the early results of this phase 1 trial," said Aaron E. Katz, M.D., associate professor of urology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Director of the Center of Holistic Urology at Columbia University Medical Center and principal investigator of the study.
"We are encouraged that this study provides additional scientific evidence that specific herbal preparations can produce a positive impact on prostate health," said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the non-profit American Botanical Council. "With so many people using herbal supplements for their health, new research documenting their safety and benefits is encouraged and welcomed."
About New Chapter, Inc.: New Chapter is a widely respected producer, formulator, packager and distributor of organic probiotic nutrients and herbal formulations selling over 90 products to approximately 3000 retail locations. Its three main categories include Probiotic Nutrients, Supercritical Therapy and MycoMedicinals. Bear Growth Capital Partners recently provided equity capital to support the company's anticipated growth plans. More information about New Chapter can be found at http://www.newchapter.info
The Herbal Supplement
Zyflamend is a patented formulation from New Chapter, Inc. of Brattleboro, VT. It includes proprietary extracts of rosemary, turmeric, ginger, holy basil, green tea, hu zhang, Chinese goldthread, barberry, oregano, and Baikal skullcap.
Tulsi The Wonder Drug
From: The Times of India, March 3, 2005, By Neetu Shukla
SINCE TIME immemorial, Tuisi Is not only renowned but also praised for its health promoting and disease preventing properties. Tulsi the sacred basil (Ocimum Sanctum) has captivated the Imagination of man, from before the times of Rigveda lbr its good health and environment.
Tulsi is the plant that has made important costribution to the field of science from ancient times as also to modern research due to its large number of medicinal properties. Tulsi is one herb that possesses the anti-stress, anti-bacterial, anti viral, anti fungal, anti protozoal, anti oxidant and anti carcinogenic properties.
As sacred as Rama and Shyama, third type, of Tulsi, the ‘Van Tulsi' (botanically know as Ocimum Gratissimum) is termed as the ‘very grateful basil.' Though the knowledge of this type of Tulsi variety is constrained, it can be used in the same manner as Rama and Shyama. Himalayas is the place where the Van Tulsi is mainly found but they are found in large abundance in North India .
Though with time, a number of herbal medicines have developed, the role of Tulsi cannot be ignored since it has played an important role in maintaining its doctrine and value in every household. Chemically, Tulsi contains alkaloids, carbohydrates, proteins glycosides, phenols, spooning, tannins and terrene.
Consumption of Tulsi in its raw form is more effective as, then, instead of providing selective ingredients, it provides us with its entire constitution. The Padampuranas and Tulsi Kavachan describe Tulsi as a protector of life accompanying the human being form birth till death.
Even in faults that according to Ayurveda have vatta, pitta and kapha, literally meaning ‘wind, bile and phlegm', Tulsi plays a very important role, as Ayurveda looks at disease with a holistic views- point and disturbance of normal physiological functions of the body.
Tulsi contains multiple bioactive substances as well as minerals and vitamins, normalizing the disturbed physiological functions of the body by harmonizing the different imbalance that is confirmed with the an dent Ayurvedic concepts of Tridoshas.
Tulsi possesses anti- stress or adaptogenic properties having a staminator effect. The extracts of Tulsi leaf also helps in inhibiting the enzyme of filarial worm, anti-tubercular, anti-funngal, anti-viral function as It possess the hypocholoestromic activity.
The most dreaded disease AIDS can also be regulated with its anti-AIDS properties. Tulsi is useful In AIDS and it markedly reduces cell-mediated Immunity. Tulsi also affects the Central Nervous System by prolonging the time of lost reflex.
Not only this, ancient texts like Susruta Samhita, Padampurana and Garudpurana, after centuries of observation in humans, also describes Tulsi as a ‘child giver' and great spermatogenic agent. They report Tulsi as a fertility Improver and enhance the chances of woman bearing progeny.
Tulsi is rightly termed as a ‘wonder drug' and if one wants to learn more about it, one may talk to Dr Narendra Singh of International Institute of Herbal Medicine Who has done a lot of work on this ‘sacred basil'.
All You Want to Know About Tulsi
From: The Hindu, September 23, 2002, By K. Kannan
AMALGAMATING MYTHOLOGY, ancient Ayurvedic practices and modern experimental and clinical research, Narendra Singh has for the past 37 years been conducting an unusual investigation into some of the medicinal herbs which Indians have known for years. And it is "Tulsi" -- the mother medicine of nature -- that has formed the nucleus of his research work.
Condensing his years of labour into a 100-page book, therefore, has not been easy. But that is what Dr. Singh has attempted to do now with a well-researched book on Tulsi brought out recently. Along with his co-authors, Yamuna Hoiette and Ralph Miller, he argues forcefully that Tulsi -- the pillar of the traditional Ayurvedic holistic health system -- will emerge as a forerunner in the growing field of herbal supplements and medicines worldwide.
Here in the Capital recently, Dr. Singh recalled how as a young doctor in the Army, he was drawn to investigating the properties of Tulsi and Ashwagandha -- two of the plants which were part and parcel of the domestic environment in which he grew up. "People call me the father of Tulsi abroad. But I am not much known in my own country," he points out, adding that "modern science has been accumulating evidence in support of the traditional health promotion and disease treatment uses of Tulsi". Joining the King George's Medical College, Lucknow, in the early Sixties, Dr. Singh conducted systematic research on the various properties of Tulsi, confirming many of the observations made by ancient seers. "Our research has shown that Tulsi protects against and reduces stress, enhances stamina and endurance, increases the body's efficient use of oxygen, boosts the immune system, slows down aging and provides a rich supply of anti-oxidants and other nutrients."
Dr. Singh, who himself has been using Tulsi and other herbs in treating persons afflicted with various ailments, says Ayurveda and modern medicine were complimentary in nature. "I use Tulsi and Ashwagandha to enhance the immune system of my patients," he says, adding it was also being grown organically in farms in and around Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh which has been his experimental bed all these years. Currently the director of the International Institute of Herbal Medicine, Dr. Singh has also been the driving force behind the launch of "Tulsi Tea", which is being exported by a Lucknow based pharmaceutical firm. "Tulsi can readily be brewed and taken as a particularly good-tasting herbal tea," says Dr. Singh, who has as many as 28 patents against his name. "We have also confirmed the anti-radiation effect of Tulsi. In the event of a nuclear holocaust, it will be the only saviour."
Holy Herb in the Garden
From: UK Newsquest Regional Press, September 26, 2002, By Dr. Milind Jani
Tulsi, or holy basil (ocimum sanctum), is considered to be a spiritual herb bestowed with great healing powers. It holds a position of sanctity and importance in the Hindu religion and tradition. In every home in India, Hindus grow tulsi in the front courtyard and each morning women say their prayers before it for good health and happiness. It is an essential ingredient in all rituals of Hindu worship.
Tulsi is said to have been grown profusely in Vrindavana, the ancient city of Lord Krishna, God of the Hindus, to purify the air. Perhaps we could all grow holy basil, along with other herbs such as rosemary, lavender and lemon balm, in our front gardens and city parks to purify the polluted air we breathe. Interestingly, holy basil has also held a special place in many parts of Europe, including Britain, from ancient times. It was used to pay obeisance and devotion to the Lord in the Greek (Eastern) church and every year, on the birth anniversary of St. Basil, women would sanctify their homes by scattering blessed leaves for the good fortune and health of the family.
Holy basil is said to build immunity and is used in the treatment of many common conditions in Ayurvedic medicine. It is excellent for treating respiratory disorders such as coughs, flu, colds, asthma and chest infections.
To make basil tea, take five leaves of basil or half a teaspoon if using dried and some grated ginger. Steep in a glass of hot water. Add a teaspoon of honey and lemon juice. Drink this three to four times a day to relieve cough and infection.
Basil is also an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety herb which works best as tea. It can also be mixed with chamomile and ginger. For children, one or two leaves steeped in hot water with honey is enough to help fever.
Basil leaves or juice can help digestion and flatulence. It is also said to help relieve migraine headaches, fatigue, insomnia and arthritis.
Basil tea can also be helpful to nursing mothers in improving lactation or for easing backache. Essential oil of basil is excellent for headaches, mental fatigue, migraines and fever.
In Ayurveda, holy basil restores mental function and spirit by rebalancing the vata, or air and ether element, which controls the nervous energy.
It is one of the ingredients of Asmita's Vata-Balance Ayurvedic Aromatherapy oil. When massaged on the forehead and temple, the vata oil helps relieve migraines, headaches, mental fatigue and disperses depressive moods. When massaged on feet in reflexology, it helps relieve body-ache, fatigue and promotes good sleep. By massaging it in to the calves and legs, it helps circulation, aches and cramps. Above all, holy basil promotes a beautiful skin and heals acne and other skin conditions.
Tulsi: A Wonderful Home Remedy for Many Ailments
From: The Tribune, India, September 19, 2000, by Dr. R. Vatsyayan
TULSI (Ocimum sanctum) is a wellknown sacred plant of India grown in houses, temples and gardens all over the country. A small plant, with about 5 cm long leaves, it gains a maximum height of 1 metre. Its leaves having a peculiar smell, have small hair on their upper and lower surfaces. The flowers are in small compact clusters on slender spikes. Tulsi is of two types – white and black. Both have medicinal value.
Tulsi is acrid and bitter in taste whereas in effect it is hot and dry. Ayurvedic texts describe it as destroyer of kapha and vata. It is anti-pyretic, anti-allergic, carminative, a blood-purifier and heart tonic. Besides, tulsi is also diuretic, anti-oxidant and kills abdominal worms. Its leaves contain a volatile oil whose odour resembles the odour of clove.
Since ancient times tulsi is respected in Indian homes. Religious beliefs apart, it is an easily available household remedy for many health problems. Due to its kapha removing properties, it is an excellent medicine for common cold. Tea made from leaves of tulsi controls nasal catarrh, cures body-ache and gives a refreshing feeling. Similarly, taking a few leaves mixed with a teaspoonful of ginger juice and honey immediately controls bouts of dry cough and removes any bronchial spasm.
In chronic dysentery when a patient passes stool mixed with mucous, tulsi leaves offer great help. Taking them twice a day after mixing with a pinch of rock salt and half a teaspoon of roasted jeera powder in a bowl of curd acts as a good digestive. This treatment if continued for a week or 10 days also helps to dispel persistent wind and abdominal distension.
Tusli seeds are known for their killer action on abdominal worms. Children suffering from roundworm infection can be safely given a quarter of a teaspoon of crushed tulsi seeds at bed time for at least three consecutive days.
For chronic fever ancient Ayurvedic texts have extolled the use of tulsi leaves and its seeds. Regular use of its leaves during the season of viral fever acts as a good preventive medicine. References are also found where the juice of tulsi leaves is be applied for minor skin infections and also has a cure ear-ache.
In a cup of tea around is five to 10 leaves can be added. The juice of its leaves can be taken up to 10 ml whereas the powder of its seeds can be taken in varying doses of 1 gram to 3 grams in a day.
Tulsi: Holy Healer
From: The Tribune, India, October 3, 2001, by Dr R. Vatsyayan
Tulsi is an important symbol of the Hindu religious tradition. Although the word ‘‘tulsi’’ gives the connotation of the incomparable one, its other name, Vishnupriya, means the one that pleases Lord Vishnu. Found in most of the Indian homes and worshipped, its legend has permeated Indian ethos down the ages. Tulsi has been adored in almost all ancient ayurvedic texts although for its extraordinary medicinal properties.
Known in English as Holy Basil and botanically called Ocimum sactum, Tulsi is pungent and bitter in taste and hot, light and dry in effect. Its seeds are considered to be cold in effect. It has been described as of two types — vanya (wild) and gramya (grown in homes). Although having identical usage, the former has darker leaves. Seeds, roots and leaves of the plant are medicinal.
Ayurvedic texts categorise Tulsi as stimulant, aromatic and antipyretic. While alleviating kapha and vata, it aggravates pitta. It has a wide range of action on the human body mainly as a cough alleviator, a sweat-inducer and a mitigator of indigestion and anorexia.
Tulsi also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anthelmentic and blood-purifying properties. Extensive research has found it to be an anabolic, adaptogenic and immuno-modulator drug. Its anti-tubercular activity is one-tenth of the potency of streptomycin and one-fourth of that of isonizid.
Tulsi is a popular home remedy for a number of ailments. Here are a few tips:
Fever — Tulsi leaves are specific for many fevers. In the case of malaria and of other tropical infections, a decoction of Tulsi leaves boiled with powdered cardamom in a cup of water and strengthened with sugar and milk brings down the temperature. Tea prepared with a little of ginger and leaves of Tulsi, while allaying bodyache, also gives a freshening feeling.
Respiratory disorders — In bronchitis and asthma, Tulsi juice is used as a medium of the intake of the medicine (anupana). In acute cough and cold, taking half a teaspoonful of dried leaves of Tulsi and black pepper, added with a little of honey, works well. Tulsi is also an important ingredient of many Ayurvedic cough syrups.
Stress management — Taking the lead from the recent studies that Tulsi has stress-busting and antioxidant properties, more and more pharmaceutical companies are coming up with its preparations. However, a healthy person can take up to 10 leaves of Tulsi in a day.
Skin diseases and headache — Applied locally, Tulsi juice is beneficial in the treatment of ringworm and other minor skin diseases. Its pounded leaves, mixed with sandalwood paste, is a famous home remedy for headache. Tulsi seeds are used in anti-leucoderma preparations.
Other diseases — A decoction of 10 to 20 leaves taken along with a pinch of rock salt abates digestive problems like flatulence and anorexia. Its seeds are given in chronic urinary infections and with their mucilagenous action they are also helpful in treating diarrhoea, habitual constipation and piles. The dose of Tulsi juice is 10 to 20 ml whereas the seed powder can be taken from one to three gm twice a day.
Dr R. Vatsyayan is an ayurvedic consultant based at Sanjivani Ayurvedic Centre (India).