15 Benefits of the Holy Basil (Tulsi)
http://hinduism.about.com/od/ayurveda/a/tulsibenefits.htm

- MP Bhattathiry  (Retd. Chief Technical Examiner to the Govt. of Kerala, India)

The tulsi or holy basil is an important symbol in the Hindu religious tradition and is worshipped in the morning and evening by Hindus at large. The holy basil is also a herbal remedy for a lot of common ailments. Here're top fifteen medicinal uses of tulsi.

1. Healing Power: The tulsi plant has many medicinal properties. The leaves are a nerve tonic and also sharpen memory. They promote the removal of the catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tube. The leaves strengthen the stomach and induce copious perspiration. The seed of the plant are mucilaginous.

2. Fever & Common Cold: The leaves of basil are specific for many fevers. During the rainy season, when malaria and dengue fever are widely prevalent, tender leaves, boiled with tea, act as preventive against theses diseases. In case of acute fevers, a decoction of the leaves boiled with powdered cardamom in half a liter of water and mixed with sugar and milk brings down the temperature. The juice of tulsi leaves can be used to bring down fever. Extract of tulsi leaves in fresh water should be given every 2 to 3 hours. In between one can keep giving sips of cold water. In children, it is every effective in bringing down the temperature.

3. Coughs: Tulsi is an important constituent of many Ayurvedic cough syrups and expectorants. It helps to mobilize mucus in bronchitis and asthma. Chewing tulsi leaves relieves cold and flu.

4. Sore Throat: Water boiled with basil leaves can be taken as drink in case of sore throat. This water can also be used as a gargle.

5. Respiratory Disorder: The herb is useful in the treatment of respiratory system disorder. A decoction of the leaves, with honey and ginger is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, influenza, cough and cold. A decoction of the leaves, cloves and common salt also gives immediate relief in case of influenza. They should be boiled in half a liter of water till only half the water is left and add then taken.

6. Kidney Stone: Basil has strengthening effect on the kidney. In case of renal stone the juice of basil leaves and honey, if taken regularly for 6 months it will expel them via the urinary tract.

7. Heart Disorder: Basil has a beneficial effect in cardiac disease and the weakness resulting from them. It reduces the level of blood cholesterol.

8. Children's Ailments: Common pediatric problems like cough cold, fever, diarrhea and vomiting respond favorably to the juice of basil leaves. If pustules of chicken pox delay their appearance, basil leaves taken with saffron will hasten them.

9. Stress: Basil leaves are regarded as an 'adaptogen' or anti-stress agent. Recent studies have shown that the leaves afford significant protection against stress. Even healthy persons can chew 12 leaves of basil, twice a day, to prevent stress. It purifies blood and helps prevent several common elements.

10. Mouth Infections: The leaves are quit effective for the ulcer and infections in the mouth. A few leaves chewed will cure these conditions.

11. Insect Bites: The herb is a prophylactic or preventive and curative for insect stings or bites. A teaspoonful of the juice of the leaves is taken and is repeated after a few hours. Fresh juice must also be applied to the affected parts. A paste of fresh roots is also effective in case of bites of insects and leeches.

12. Skin Disorders: Applied locally, basil juice is beneficial in the treatment of ringworm and other skin diseases. It has also been tried successfully by some naturopaths in the treatment of leucoderma.

13. Teeth Disorder: The herb is useful in teeth disorders. Its leaves, dried in the sun and powdered, can be used for brushing teeth. It can also be mixed with mustered oil to make a paste and used as toothpaste. This is very good for maintaining dental health, counteracting bad breath and for massaging the gums. It is also useful in pyorrhea and other teeth disorders.

14. Headaches: Basil makes a good medicine for headache. A decoction of the leaves can be given for this disorder. Pounded leaves mixed with sandalwood paste can also be applied on the forehead for getting relief from heat, headache, and for providing coolness in general.

15. Eye Disorders: Basil juice is an effective remedy for sore eyes and night-blindness, which is generally caused by deficiency of vitamin A. Two drops of black basil juice are put into the eyes daily at bedtime.

DISCLAIMER: These are only general guidelines as a first aid. It is always better to see a doctor depending upon the intensity of the case. The views expressed above are entirely those of the author.
 

Suggested Reading
Tulsi - the Holy Basil @
http://hinduism.about.com/library/weekly/aa062000a.htm



>>> BLESSINGS TULASI DEVI WILL BESTOW <<<

Lord Narayana said:
"The sanctifying Tulasi tree will grow in Goloka, on the coast of the Viraja River, on the rasa-dance site, in the forests of Vrindavana, Bhandira, Campaka, Candana, and in the groves of Madhavi, Ketaki, Kunda, Mallika and Malati. You will live in sacred places and bestow the highest religious merit. All the holy spots will converge and reside at the root of the Tulasi tree, and thus spiritual merits will accrue to all. O fair one, all the demigods and I will wait there to gather the falling Tulasi leaves.

"Whoever will be moistened or anointed with the water that has been sanctified by Tulasi leaves, will reap the benefits of having bathed in all the sacred rivers and performed all kinds of sacrifices.
"Lord Hari will not be as pleased with the gift of a thousand jars of honey as with one Tulasi leaf.

"Offering one such leaf as a gift will bring the same reward obtained by offering millions of cows.
"If one offers Tulasi leaves during the month of Karttika, he gets the same rewards as those just mentioned.
"If, at the time of death, one drinks or gets the Tulasi-leaf water, one will be freed of all his sins and proceed to Vaikuntha.
"Whoever drinks the Tulasi-leaf water daily will be redeemed in his lifetime and receive the benefit of a dip in the Ganges.

"Anyone who worships Me with this leaf daily will reap the blessings of a hundred thousand horse sacrifices.
"Anyone who leaves his body holding a Tulasi leaf in his hands will be saved from all sins.
"Anyone who wears a necklace composed of Tulasi wood, will surely, at every step, get the reward of a horse sacrifice.
"Whoever at the time of death drinks or gets a little Tulasi-leaf water will certainly proceed to Vaikuntha, leaving in a jeweled airplane.
 

>>> BLESSINGS OF THE SALAGRAMA SILA <<<

Lord Hari continued...
"As for Me, by your curse, I will become a stone and remain close to the bank of the Gandaki River. Millions of vajrakita worms, with their sharp teeth, will make convolutions or rings in the stones there, representing Me. These will be known as Shalagramas or sacred stones.

"Wherever there are Shalagrama stones, Lord Hari Himself exists. And wherever Lord Hari is, Goddess Lakshmi and all the holy places also exist.
"By worshiping the Shalagrama-shila (stone), one destroys the sin of having killed a brahmana and any other type of sin.

"By worshiping Shalagrama stones of the following shapes, the following effects take place:
"If one worships the Shalagrama-shila, one acquires the merits of bathing in all the tirthas (holy rivers) and being initiated into all the Vedic sacrifices.

"Furthermore, one acquires all the merits acquired by performing all the Vedic sacrifices by visiting all the holy places, by fulfilling vows, by practicing all austerities and by reading all the Vedas.
"Anyone who, while dying, drinks the Shalagrama-shila water, will be freed from all his sins and go to Vaikuntha. He becomes completely freed from the effects of karma (material action and reaction) and, without a doubt, becomes forever absorbed in the vision of Lord Vishnu's feet.
"He who maintains the Shalagrama-shila, the Tulasi, and the conch in one place, becomes very dear to Lord Narayana.

--extracts from the book Tulasi Worship by Amala Bhakta Das (chapters 17-18)