Welcome to day seven of my 30 Days of Ayurveda series! Throughout these blogs and videos, I will be sharing some upbeat thoughts and wellness tips, as well as some Ayurvedic tricks and food recommendations to help you lead a balanced life.
Basil, Tulsi, Uses and Benefits
Basil is one of my favourite plants and has many uses and benefits. In Ayurveda, we use something called Tulsi, also known as Ocimum Sanctum, which translates as ‘the incomparable one’. It is often referred to as ‘Holy Basil’, a nod to its longstanding title as a spiritual herb. In fact, the ancient Vedic Puranas (sacred Indian texts) say that Tulsi is the most sacred plant on earth! If you prefer watching to reading see below, otherwise please continue on.
In European culture, both the Italians and the Greeks understood the special properties that basil and some of its relatives possess. Its powerful essential oils, including the eugenol present in its leaves, help lower inflammation through their enzyme inhibiting properties. Furthermore, its anti-inflammatory properties can also help lower the risk of heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as soothing fevers, headaches and sore throats. Basil plants thrive on sunny windowsills and can be purchased from here.
Research on Basil
There is even research that shows using basil can help manage Type 2 diabetes. Consuming basil causes the slow release of sugar into the blood, which is essential for diabetics. What’s more, its essential oils also reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Basil is a really good herb to be using, particularly in the spring.
As I mentioned in my previous blogs, there are many benefits to using honey or ginger to help remove mucus (or Kapha) from the chest, as well as to boost the digestive system. Basil also has the affinity to help keep your chest nice and clear, and pairs well with these two items.
One such example is to make a nice warm drink with some fresh lemon juice, chopped ginger, and a little bit of honey (stirred in once it’s cooled below 50 degrees). Add three or four leaves of basil, allow them to steep until all their volatile oils are released, and then drink.
Basil in Food
Another example is to use dried basil. From an Ayurvedic perspective, basil is predominantly pungent (Katu) in taste, although it can be bitter (Tikta) as well. It is a lovely warming spice that you can liberally use in cooking, adding a heaped teaspoon to a tablespoon depending on how many you are cooking for.
Basil for Toenail Infections
Finally, we have the fresh basil plant, whose juice works really well to help treat toenail fungal infections – I’ve used it to good effect many times with various people.
Take three or four of the big, fat, juicy basil leaves and roll them between your fingers. The more you roll them, the more they will mash down, and slowly, slowly, the juice will appear on your fingers. Squeeze that onto a teaspoon, and you should be able to get three or four drops.
Tip the juice onto your manky toenail, and then stuff the mashed up leaf on top as well. If you wish, use a bit of medical tape to secure the basil. Repeat this every day for about two weeks and, hopefully, this will clear up any fungal infections!
Over the next 30 days, I will be sharing even more tips and tricks to help you build some great Ayurvedic routines. Hopefully, they will soon be imbedded in your life and you can progress with them. Be sure to let me know how you’re getting on, and why not share how basil has helped you? Find me on Instagram @anneheigham and on YouTube.