Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) uses

Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) is one of the precious medicinal plant. It is beleivedthat the Tulsi plant is related to God Vishnu and offered special pujason some auspicious days. "The Queen of Herbs" -is the most sacred herb of India

 


DESCRIPTION OF THE PLANT

Kingdom :PlantaeDivisionMagnoliophytaClass:MagnoliopsidaOrder :LamialesFamily :LamiaceaeGenus :Ocimum.Tulsi is a heavy branched having hair all over. It attains the height of about 75 –90 cm. It has round oval shaped leaves which are up to 5 cm long. The leaves are 2-4 cm in length. Its seeds are flat. Its flowers are purple –creamish in colour. The Tulsi with the green leaves is called the Shri Tulsi and one with the reddish leaves is called the Krishna Tulsi. Its seeds are yellow to reddish in colour. Leaves of Tulsi contains very essential oil.

 

 

FLOWER OF OCIMUM

THE FLOWERS ARE GENERALLY PURPLE AND HELPS IN THE REPRODUCTION OF THE PLANT.THE FLOWER COLOUR IS DUE TO THE PRESENCE OF ANTHOCYANIN(A NATURAL PIGMENT FOUND IN COLOURED PART OF APLANT TISSUE).THE FLOWERS CONTAIN ESSENTIAL OILS IN THEM AND FOR THAT REASON THEY ARE AROMATIC.THE MAJOR COMPOUNDS THAT LEADS TO THE AROMA ARE ESTRAGOLE ,LIMONENE and p-CYMENE.IN CASE OF LEMON BASIL THE LEMON AROMA IS CAUSED BY CITRAL.THE ANTHOCYANIN FROM THE FLOWERS USED AS ORGANIC DYE AND ESSENTIAL OIL AS THERAPEUTIC AGENT.

 

  DIFFERENT SPECIES OF TULSI HAVE DIFFERENT LEAVES AND  LEAF MORPHOLOGY .THE LEAVES OF A TULSI PLANT IS THE MOST USEFUL PART  BOTH PHYSIOLOGICALLY AND ECONOMICALLY.AS LIKE FLOWERS THE LEAVES ALSO CONTAIN COMPOUNDS LIKE EUGENOL,p-CYMENE,LIMONENE,CITRAL etc.THE LEAVES OF OCIMUM TENUIFLORUM AND OCIMUM BASILUM CONTAINS MAJOR AMMOUNT OF ANTHOCYANIN IN THEM.FOR THIS COMPOUNDS TULSI LEAVES SHOW MEDICINAL,ANTIMICROBIAL,ANTIFUNGAL PROPERTIES.LEMON BASIL LEAVES PRODUCE LEMON ODOUR DUE TO CITRAL THAT IS ALSO FOUND IN LEMON.THE CLOVE SCENT OF SWEET BASIL IS DERIVED FROM EUGENOL.IN OUR COUNTRY RAMA TULSI,KRISHNA TULSI,VANA TULSI AND AMRITA TULSI ARE WIDELY DISTRIBUTED.

 

 

 

SCHEMATIC DIAGRAM OF THE FORMATION OF SILVER NANOPARTICLES(AgNPs) FROM THE LEAVES OF OCIMUM .SILVER NANOPARTICLES KILL BACTERIAS BY THE LYSIS OF BACTERIAL CELLS AND SHOWS ITS ANTIBACTERIAL EFFECTS ON BOTH GRAM-NEGETIVE AND GRAM-POSITIVE BACTERIAS LIKE E.coli,KLEBSIELLA,STREPTOCOCCUSAND INHIBIT THE FORMATION OF BACTERIAL BIOFILM.THE FLAVONOID QUECERTIN  IS THE MAJOR COMPONENT IN THAT PROCESS.QUECERTIN IS BITTER IN TASTE AND USED

 

EUGENOL IN TULSI LEAVES

EUGENOL IN TULSI LEAVES SHOWS ANTIOXIDATING ACTIVITY BY THE DELETION OF FREE RADICALS THAT ARE IMPLICATED IN VARIOUS HUMAN DISEASES.EUGENOL ALSO DECREASES LIPID PEROXIDATION AND THE ANTIOXIDATING ACTIVITY OF EUGENOL IS FIVE FOLD HIGHER THAN THAT OF ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL.EUGENOL ALSO SHOWS ANTI-INFLAMATORY EFFECT BY SUPPRESSING THE IMPRESSION OF CYCLOOXYGENASE-2ENZYME.EUGENOL SHOWS ANTIBACTERIAL EFFECT AGAINST BACILLUS  CEREUS,BACILLUS Sp,E.COLI,STREPTOCOCCUS AUREUS etc.OVEREATING OF EUGENOL IS BAD FOR HEALTH AS IT CAUSES CYTOTOXICITY,GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS AND PROMOTES  THE FORMATION OF REACTIVE OXYGEN SPECIES SO TOO MUCH EATING OF RAW OR POWDERED TULSI LEAVES MAY CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS.EUGENOL ALSO HAS ANTIFUNGAL

 

CARVACROL IS A NATURALLY OCCURING MONOTERPINOID PHENOL FOUND IN THE LEAVES.THIS COMPOUND HAS A PUNGENT ODOUR AND ACTIVATES THE TRPV3 RECEPTOR THAT GIVES SENSATION OF WARMTH SO TULSI LEAVES SOMETIMES CAUSE BURNING SENSATION IN A MEAGRE AMMOUNT.CARVACROL SHOWS ITS HUGE ACTIVITIES ON HEALTH,REDUCES THE GROWTH OF BACTERIAS.p-CYMENE IS AROMATIC COMPUND AND RELATED TO MONOTERPINOIDS AND IT IS A COMPONENT OF ESSENTIAL OILS OF TULSI LEAVES. DUE TO THE PRESENCE OF THIS COMPOUND TULSI LEAVES SHOWS DIFFERENT HEALTH PROMOTING ACTIVITIES.CARVACROL RUPTURES THE CELL MEMBRANE OF PSEUDOMONUS AERUGINOSA,IT ALSO INHIBIT THE GROWTH OF BACILLUS CEREUS.CARVACROL SHOWS ANTIOXIDATING ACTIVITY BY SCAVENGING PEROXIDE IONS AND REACTIVE OXYGEN SPECIES.EXPERIMENTS HAVE SHOWN THAT THE COMPOUND HAS LOW CYTOTOXIC EFFECTS AND THEREFORE CAN BE USED AS FOOD.

 

 

LINALOOL AND ROSAMARINIC ACID

THIS TWO COMPOUNDS ARE PRESENT IN TULSI LEAVES.ROSAMARINIC ACID SHOWS  ANTIOXIDATING ACTIVITIES AND IT PROTECTS OUR SKIN FROM  UV RADIATION OF THE SUN.LINALOOL IS USED WIDELY IN SCENT,PERFUME AND SOAPS FOR PRODUCING AROMAS.SOME STUDIES SHOWS THAT LINALOOL CAN BE USED AS MOSQUITO REPELLENT.STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT LINALOOL HAS A DOSE DEPENDENT SEDATIVE EFFECT ON THE BRAIN IN MICE.LINALOOL CAN BE USED AS A PROTECTIVE AGENT AGAINST FLEAS AND TICKS.

 

 

 

TULSI OR OCIMUM SANCTUM HAS NATURAL BIO-ABSORBENT PROPERTIES, THAT IS, THE LEAVES AND STEM OF THIS INDIAN HERB SERVE AS A NATURAL MAGNET TO ADSORB (ATTACH) FLUORIDE MOLECULES IN THE WATER. ALL ONE HAS TO DO IS DIP THE LEAVES OR STEM OF THE TULSI IN A GLASS OF WATER FOR 20 MINUTES, REMOVE THE PLANT PIECES AND DRINK THE WATER. WITH INITIAL FLUORIDE CONCENTRATION OF 5 PPM, IT WAS OBSERVED THAT MAXIMUM 94 PER CENT OF FLUORIDE CAN BE REMOVED AT A DOSE OF 75 MG OF FRESH BASIL LEAVES FOR A SAMPLE OF

 

 

TULSI PLANT IN COMBATING POLLUTION

TULSI PLANT PRODUCES ANTI-INFLAMMATORY ANDANTIBACTERIAL COMPOUNDS THAT HELP IN LOWERING THE POLLUTION LEVELS IN THE AIR AND ALSO MINIMISE THE EFFECT OF AIR POLLUTION ON THE OVERALL WELL BEING. NOT ONLY THIS, THIS PLANT HAS BEEN KNOWN TO PROTECT THE ORGANS AND TISSUES AGAINSTCHEMICAL STRESS FROM INDUSTRIAL POLLUTANTS AND HEAVY METALS. IT ALSO HELPS YOU TO COUNTER-EFFECT THE PHYSICAL STRESSCAUSED DUE TO PROLONGED PHYSICAL EXERTION, EXPOSURE TO COLD AND EXCESSIVEPOLLUTION.THUS THE PLANTING OF TULSI TREE IN HOUSES REDUCES THE EFFECT OF POLLUTION IN THE HOUSE.

 

 

TULSI LEAVES IN TREATING GUM DISEASES.

TULSIIS AN EXCELLENT MOUTH FRESHENER AND ORAL DISINFECTANT AND ITS FRESHNESS LASTS LONGER IN THE MOUTH.TULSIDESTROYS MORE THAN 99% OF GERMS AND BACTERIA IN THE MOUTH THAT ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DENTAL CAVITIES, PLAQUE, TARTAR, BAD BREATH, ETC., AND PROTECTS THE TEETH. IT ALSO HAS ASTRINGENT PROPERTIES THAT MAKE THE GUMS HOLD THE TEETH TIGHTER, THEREBY PROTECTING THEM FROM FALLING. IT CURES ULCER IN THE MOUTH AND IS KNOWN TO HELP INHIBIT GROWTH OF ORAL CANCER CAUSED DUE TO CHEWING TOBACCO.

 

 

 

TULSI IN PREVENTION OF CANCERS.

TULSI ALSO HELPS TO PREVENT CANCERS CAUSED BY TOXIC COMPOUNDS BY REDUCING DNA DAMAGEAND INDUCING APOPTOSIS IN PRECANCEROUS AND CANCEROUS CELLS, THEREBY REDUCING THE GROWTH OF EXPERIMENTAL TUMORS AND ENHANCING SURVIVAL.FURTHERMORE, TULSI NOT ONLY PROTECTS AGAINST THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY TOXIC COMPOUNDS, BUT ALSO ENABLES THE BODY TO MORE EFFECTIVELY TRANSFORM AND ELIMINATE THEM BY ENHANCING THE ACTIVITY OF LIVER DETOXIFICATION ENZYMES SUCH AS THE CYTOCHROME P450 ENZYMES, WHICH DEACTIVATES TOXIC CHEMICALS AND ENABLES THEM TO BE SAFELY EXCRETED.

 

 

TULSI IN DIABETES MELLITUS

NUMEROUS TEST TUBE AND ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS AS WELL AS HUMAN CLINICAL TRIALS HAVE SHOWN THAT TULSI HAS ANTI-DIABETIC ACTIVITY. STUDIES USING DIABETIC LABORATORY ANIMALS HAVE SHOWN THAT TULSI CAN REDUCE BLOOD GLUCOSE, CORRECT ABNORMAL LIPID PROFILES AND PROTECT THE LIVER AND KIDNEYS FROM THE METABOLIC DAMAGE CAUSED BY HIGH GLUCOSE LEVELS. TULSI HAS ALSO BEEN SHOWN TO IMPROVE LIPID PROFILES, PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN, HYPERGLYCEMIA, HYPERINSULINEMIA, HYPERTRIGLYCERIDEMIA AND INSULIN RESISTANCE, AND PROTECT THE ORGANS AND BLOOD VESSELS FROM ATHEROSCLEROSIS IN LABORATORY ANIMALS FED HIGH-FAT DIETS. SIMILARLY, IN HUMAN CLINICAL TRIALS, TULSI HAS SHOWN TO DECREASE GLUCOSE LEVELS, IMPROVE BLOOD PRESSURE AND LIPID PROFILES AND REDUCE MANY DIABETIC SYMPTOMS IN PATIENTS WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES.

 

TULSI IN MENTAL HEALTH

THE PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC PROPERTIES OF TULSI HAVE BEEN EXPLORED IN VARIOUS ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS THAT REVEAL THAT TULSI HAS ANTI-ANXIETY AND ANTI-DEPRESSANT PROPERTIES, WITH EFFECTS COMPARABLE TO DIAZEPAM AND ANTIDEPRESSANTS DRUGS.ANIMAL STUDIES FURTHER REVEAL THAT TULSI ENHANCES MEMORY AND COGNITIVE FUNCTION,AND PROTECTS AGAINST AGING-INDUCED MEMORY DEFICITS. SIMILARLY, IN HUMAN STUDIES, TULSI HAS BEEN OBSERVED TO REDUCE STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.

TULSI FOR KILLING DENGU MOSQUITO

WE CAN CONTROL DENGU MOSQUITOES WITH TULSI PLANT LEAVES,STEMS.THIS PART CONTAINS VARIOUS PHYTOCHEMICALS THAT CAN KILL MOSQUITOES LARVA AND THE ESSENTIAL OIL FROM THE PLANT HELP IN REPELLING MOSQUITOES.THUS WE CAN USE TULSI LEAVES AND PLANT FOR FIGHTING DENGU.EATING OF THE LEAVES ALSO PROTECT US INTERNALLY.

 

 

TULSI IN DERMATOLOGICAL INFECTIONS

TULSI LEAVES APPLIED TOPICALLY REDUCES MYCOLOGICAL AND BACTERIAL SKIN INFECTIONS LIKE RINGWORM,DERMATOMYCOSIS etc.STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT IT CAN BE USED TO PREVENT LEUKODERMA(THE ABOVE PICTURE IS OF A HAND WITH LEUCODERMA).THE HERB IS PROPHYLACTIC OR CURATIVE FOR INSECT STINGS AND BITES.THE FRESH JUICE FROM THE LEAVES CAN BE APPLIED TOPICALLY ON THE AFFECTED AREA.SOME STUDIES ALSO PROVES THAT IT HAS ANALGESIC EFFECT ,THUS REDUCING THE PAIN IN CASE OF STINGS AND BITES.

 

 

TULSI IN QUITING SMOKING

RESEARCHES SHOW THAT TULSI LEAVES CAN BE USED AS A QUITING

AGENT FOR SMOKING.

 

TULSI AND PROTECTION AGAINST COLD AND COUGH

TULSI LEAVES HELP IN COMBATING COUGH AND COLD BY ITS ANTIVIRAL EFFECT.IT ALSO BUILD IMMUNITY TO FIGHT AGAINST IT AND LOWERED THE FEVER CAUSED BY INFECTION.TULSI LEAVES WITH HONEY OR GINGER AND THE TEA OF TULSI WIDELY USED AS REMEDY IN FEVER,COUGH AND COLD.

 

 

 

CARCINOGENICITY OF THE COMPOUNDS IN TULSI

THOUGH TULSI LEAVES ARE ANTICARCINOGEN BUT TWO COMPOUNDS IN ITHE ESSENTIAL OIL AND LEAVES i.e-ESTRAGOLE AND METHYL EUGENOL ARE CARCINOGENS AND CAN CAUSE CANCER.BUT THIS TWO COMPOUNDS EFFECT IS COUNTERACTED BY  EUGENOL,CARVACROL etc.SO CONSUMING TULSI LEAVES BEYOND A LIMIT MAY BE INJURIOUS FOR HEALTH.

 

 

TULSI IN ASTHMA

A  STUDY OF ASTHMATIC PATIENTS FOUND THAT 500 MG OF DRIED TULSI LEAVES TAKEN THREE TIMES DAILY IMPROVED VITAL CAPACITY AND PROVIDED RELIEF OF ASTHMATIC SYMPTOMS WITHIN 3 DAYS .

 

 

CONCLUSION

DESPITE THE LACK OF LARGE-SCALE OR LONG TERM CLINICAL TRIALS ON THE EFFECT OF TULSI IN HUMANS, THE FINDINGS FROM  HUMAN STUDIES PUBLISHED TO DATE SUGGEST THAT THE TULSI IS A SAFE HERBAL INTERVENTION THAT MAY ASSIST IN NORMALISING GLUCOSE, BLOOD PRESSURE AND LIPID PROFILES, AND DEALING WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL AND IMMUNOLOGICAL STRESS. FURTHERMORE, THESE STUDIES INDICATE THE DAILY ADDITION OF TULSI TO THE DIET AND/OR AS ADJUNCT TO DRUG THERAPY CAN POTENTIALLY ASSIST IN PREVENTION OR REDUCTION OF VARIOUS HEALTH CONDITIONS AND WARRANTS FURTHER CLINICAL EVALUATION.

 

 

 

 

Medicinal plants of India ; Ayurveda

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