Holy Basil—Medicinal Uses


Posted by admin | Posted in Holy Basil | Posted on 20-05-2010

The Ayurvedic Energetics are:
Rasa: pungent, bitter; Veerya: heating; Vipaka: pungent; Guna: light, sharp, dry. And the Doshas: VK -; P+

The Pharmacological Action: demulcent, expectorant, anticatarrhal, antispasmodic, anthelminthic

The Constituents: The leaves contain an essential oil which contains eugenol, eugenal carvacrol, methyl chavicol, limatol and caryophylline. The presence of flavones apigenin and luteolin, the flavone-7-O-glycoside, luteolin-7-O-glucuronide, the flavone C-glucosides orientin and molludistin and ursolic acid have been reported. Furthermore, gallic acid, gallic acid methyl ester, gallic acid ethyl ester, protocatechuic acid, vanillic acid, 4-hydroxy benzoic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, 4-hydroxy benzaldehyde, caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid were also reported. Many phenyl propane glucosides have been reported viz. 4-ally-1-O-b-D-glucopyranosyl-2-hydroxybenzene (1) and 4-allyl-1-O-b-D-glucopyranosyl-2-methoxybenzene (2) (eugenyl-b-D-glucoside).

Uses: An infusion of the leaves is a quick remedy for bronchitis and colds and an infusion of the seeds is an excellent diuretic. A decoction of the roots is thought to relieve malarial fever. Leaves are diaphoretic, antiperiodic, bronchitis, gastric & hepatic disorders etc. A tea prepared with the leaves of O. sanctum is commonly used in cough, cold, mild, indigestion, diminished appetite and malaise. Anthelmintic, deodorant, stimulant, anti-inflammatory, cardiotonic, blood purifier, useful in skin diseases, antipyretic particularly in malarial fevers. Externally applied on chronic non healing ulcers, inflammation, skin disorders, useful in nausea, pain in abdomen, worms, allergic rhinitis, all types of cough, respiratory disorders. It acts as a powerful mosquito repellent.
Holy basil treats diabetes, normalizing both blood sugar and blood fats, including cholesterol and triglycerides. A significant placebo-controlled, crossover study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics showed a 17.6% reduction in blood sugar and led scientists to conclude that holy basil was of value in mild to moderate diabetes. Try a dose of 1 teaspoon of dry herbs, brewed into 1 cup of water, in a dose of 3 cups daily.

Postpartum tonic: 1 part blessed thistle, 2 parts vitex berries, 1 part dong quai root, 2 parts false unicorn root, 1 part St. Johns Wort, 1 part holy basil

As a tincture, take 25-50 drops, three to four times a day for two to four weeks. As a tea, simmer 3-6 tablespoons of the roots and berries, covered in 1 quart of water. Take off the heat, add in 2-3 tablespoons of the leaves and flowers, and steep, covered, another five to fifteen minutes

Active principle : Ursolic acid

Traditional Uses: The leaf infusion or fresh leaf juice is commonly used in cough, mild upper respiratory infections, bronchospasm, stress-related skin disorders and indigestion. It is combined with ginger and maricha (black pepper) in bronchial asthma. It is given with honey in bronchitis and cough. The leaf juice is taken internally and also applied directly on cutaneous lesions in ringworm. The essential oil has been used in ear infections. The seeds are considered a general nutritious tonic.

Indications: bronchospasm, cough, indigestion, catarrh

Formulations and Dosage: fresh leaf juice : 15-20 ml with honey tid; leaf infusion : 2-3 oz tid
For renal calculi: 50 ml. of juice of Raihan(Ocimum sanctum,Linn) mixed with 5 ml. of honey taken regularly for 3 months helps in dissolving the stone and cleaning the passage.

Since the ages elders have always worshipped the Tulsi plant. Special containers are made to keep this holy plant. On a certain day after Diwali people perform Tulsi Pooja. According to Ayurveda, plants have been found to have several medicinal properties. This leaves, seeds and roots of the Tulsi plants are used a variety of disease. 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. It 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. For earache a few drops of tulsi extract, if instilled, relieves the symptoms promptly. The extracts are also helpful in digestive disorders. The juice of fresh leaves, flower tops and slender roots is a very god antidote for snake and scorpion bite. Its oil is rich in vitamin C, carotene, calcium and phosphorus. Besides, it has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Ayurvedic tulsi preparations have significantly reduced the symptoms of viral hepatitis. In diabetics it helps in lowering the blood sugar level. Its anti-spasmodic property can be utilized to relieve abdominal colics. In olden days tulsi leaves were used to treat tuberculosis (TB). It has an action similar to the currently available anti-TB drugs like Streptomycin and Isoniazide. However, tulsi leaves alone are not adequate but should be used as supplement to these drugs. Oil of tulsi has been used as a potent anti-malarial drug. It also has mosquito repellent properties. It raises the human body immunity by increasing the antibody production. Experimental studies on animals have shown anti-stress activity with tulsi extract. Tulsi has anti-fertility effect by reducing the estrogen hormone levels in females and decreasing the sperm count in men. It is also used to treat ringworm of the skin.

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