Medicinal uses of Tulsi
Tulsi often called the “Sacred basil” has been widely used in religious rites by Hindus, since Vedic times. Even now virtually, every Indian home has a Tulsi plant right in front of it and people usually start their daily chores after worshipping it. Besides it has been a veritable drug used as a household remedy for a variety of ailments.
There are two main types of Tulsi: white and blackish-purple types. The white type, also known as Van Tulsi (O. americanam linn.) has greenish leaves and white flowers, while the black type also known as Krishna Tulsi (O. sanctum linn.) has a blackish purple stem, leaves and flowers (as described above). Besides these two, the third type commonly known as subja or Barbari or Babuyee Tulsi, sweet basil (O. basilicum Linn.) is smaller than the two mentioned above. It has blackish purple leaves and a reddish tinged flower. The forth type is known as Karpuri Tulsi (O. kilmandscharicum Guerke.) which has greenish leaves that produce a camphor-like smell. All these types occur in India .
Tulsi is an aromatic, carminative, antipyretic, diaphoretic and expectorant. Leaves, flowers and occasionally the whole plant are used in medicine. Leaf juice is domestic remedy for infantile, cough, cold, bronchitis, catarrh, dysentery and diarrhea. Infusion of leaves is given in malaria fever, as a stomachic in gastric disease of children and hepatic affection. It improves appetite, affliction of the ear, destroys, intestinal worms and cures skin diseases such as itches, ringworm, leprosy, ulcer, antibacterial, antiasthmatic & broncialasthama and poisonous affection. In Ayurveda, Tulsi is widely used specifically for all kinds of fevers. It forms an ingredient of preparation like Tulsyaditai lam, Monasamitravata kam, sitajvarari kasayam, vilvadigulika, Balal tailam etc.
Tulsi plant is believed to be very sacred among almost all the tribes in each and every pocket of both study areas. In some parts of Khatana forest, it is also known as Haripriya, which means very much dear to Lord Vishnu. Some tribal folk of Karanjveri and Kanfi villages of Khatana forest, and Waghasi forest in Rambhas and Vanarchond villages believe that the evil spirit cannot haunt a place where this plant is planted. Hindus of both study areas worship this plant during dawn as well as dusk by pacing an oil and ghee lamp in front of it. According to Hindu tradition, a dead body is placed before a Tulsi plant or the plant is carried with the corpse up to the cremation ground and planted at the funeral place in remembrance by any of the Hindu tribes.