Tulsi (holy basil) has so many medicinal uses and benefits that it has been traditionally worshipped in India. Modern research has revealed that it has several medicinal benefits, apart from helping to purify the air. It has been extensively used since the ancient times as a home remedy for common ailments. Tulsi has many healing properties and has been traditionally used to relieve cold and cough, sore throat and respiratory ailments. Its leaves are crushed and taken with honey for cough, cold and bronchitis. It is also used as a digestive aid.
Tulsi is said to be rich in vitamins A and C as well as iron, calcium and zinc. It also contains antioxidants which have many health and beauty benefits. We have used tulsi extensively to treat skin and scalp problems like pimples, acne, rashes, dandruff and other eruptive conditions. It has powerful antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It has a cleansing effect and helps remove toxins and wastes. It is a powerful astringent and helps close the pores and reduces oiliness of the skin. Thus, it can be added to formulations that are astringent-toners.
Tulsi has been used in skin and hair products for long. It helps in protecting and maintaining healthy skin and shiny hair. If you skin is very oily and prone to pimples and acne, you can crush tulsi leaves and add them to boiling water. Then allow it to stand for a few hours so that the water cools. Strain the water. Add equal quantity of rosewater to make your own skin lotion. Dip cotton wool pads and use it to wipe the face.
The juice of tulsi leaves can also be applied locally for skin conditions, like ringworm and eczema. Soak tulsi leaves in hot water overnight. Next morning, when it is cool, strain the water and make a paste of the leaves. Apply it on the face or scalp for acne or scalp eruptions. Wash it off after 20 minutes with plain water. Tulsi paste can be added to face packs for oily and pimple-prone skin. Mix multani mitti, sandalwood paste, paste of tulsi leaves and rosewater into a paste and apply on the face, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. Wash after 20 minutes. It helps oily and pimple-prone skin. Besan (gram flour) with curd and tulsi leaves paste makes a good cleansing pack. Dried and powdered tulsi leaves can also be added to facial scrubs to exfoliate the skin and make it glow.
Tulsi is also said to reduce stress due to a soothing effect on the nerves. This helps both health and beauty. In fact, problems like acne and hair loss are related to stress. Due to its anti-stress properties, tulsi has been used to help people to quit smoking as it reduces withdrawal symptoms. Chewing tulsi leaves helps reduce the urge to smoke. Tulsi tea, taken daily, can also help.
Recent research has revealed that it is beneficial for kidneys and helps reduce uric acid levels in the blood. Thus, it is said to prevent and relieve the problem of kidney stones. Ayurvedic prescriptions state that the juice of tulsi leaves when taken with honey daily for six months helps remove kidney stones.