Tulsi also known as Holy Basil and Basil are from the same family however they are different species.
The main difference is the way they are used as they have different properties. Basil does have medicinal properties however it is the preferred taste for culinary use.
Holy Basil has been used traditionally by Indians in their Aryuvedic Medicine system for thousands of years. Aryuvedic Medicine encompasses a variety of approaches with the goal of cleansing the body to restore balance to the mind body and spirit. It uses many methods including mediation, exercise, diet and herbal medicine to name a few.
While it is native to the Indian Continent it does grow here in Southland. For a couple of years now I have grown my own Tulsi while In warmer climates it can grow as a perennial, here it will only ever grow as an annual and die off over Winter. I've tried to keep a few alive over Winter inside where it is warmer and they still didn't make it but I have heard it can be done and it is a lovely plant to have inside because it smells beautiful!
What is Tulsi used for?
High in Vitamins and Minerals
Tulsi is high in: Vitamin A & C
Which give it a medicinal properties in several aspects
Tulsi is classified as an Adaptogen.
An Adaptogen is an herb that works to help your body adapt to stress, anxiety and general mental balance.
In fact this study goes as far as proving that Tulsi is such an effective anti-anxiety and anti-depressant that it is comparable to diazepam and other anti depressant medication.
Tulsi has been shown to be anti-bacterial, anti fungal and anti-inflammatory.
There have even been claims on its pain relieving qualities but I was unable to find any conclusive studies to verify those claims.
That aside being anti-bacterial and helping inflammation goes a long way in helping your wounds heal faster and without infection.
This study tested the effects of Tulsi using two different methods to show its effect on inflammation in comparison to Sodium salicylate which is the active compound in Asprin and found them to be just as good.
And this study while unfortunately was done on mice also showed that Tulsi contains anti-inflammatory compounds.
There are 2 different types of cholesterol, HDL which is the good cholesterol as it absorbs the bad cholesterol from your blood and carries it to your liver to have it filtered out and the bad cholesterol LDL which just builds up inside your arteries causing blockages which lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Tulsi has been shown in this study to significantly lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and higher levels of the good cholesterol (HDL)
Lowers Blood Sugar
If you suffer from Type 2 or prediabetes the good news is that Tulsi may help reduce your blood sugar.
In this study it showed a 26.4% decrease in blood sugar levels when it was taken for a month.
This being said if you take medication for diabetes you should not stop taking it without your GP's approval and talk to them about taking Tulsi before you start.
Who shouldn't take Tulsi?
As with everything just because its natural doesn't mean its good for everyone to consume.
While it has many health benefits it should not be taken at all by anyone who takes blood thinners or has issues with blood clotting.
What do I use it in?
Anti-Inflammatory Tea, wouldn't I be silly not too when Tulse has such amazing anti-inflammatory compounds?