Ocimum tenuiflorum (also tulsi, tulasi, or Holy Basil) is an aromatic plant in the family Lamiaceae which is native throughout the Old World tropics and widespread as a cultivated plant and an escaped weed.
Tulsi is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil. It is widely known across South Asia as a medicinal plant and an herbal tea, commonly used in Ayurveda, and has an important role within the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving tulsi plants or leaves.
Recent studies suggest that tulsi may be a COX-2 inhibitor, like many modern painkillers, due to its high concentration of eugenol (1-hydroxy-2-methoxy-4-allylbenzene). One study showed Tulsi to be an effective treatment for diabetes by reducing blood glucose levels. The same study showed significant reduction in total cholesterol levels with tulsi. Another study showed that tulsi's beneficial effect on blood glucose levels is due to its antioxidant properties. Tulsi also shows some promise for protection from radiation poisoning and cataracts. The fixed oil has demonstrated anti-hyperlipidemic and cardioprotective effects in rats fed a high fat diet.
Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for its diverse healing properties. It is mentioned in the Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text. Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress.
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