How to Use Tulsi, Its Health Benefits, and Importance in Hinduism

Tulsi is a very useful medicinal plant found in India
Tulsi is a very useful medicinal plant found in India | Source

What is Tulsi?

Popularly known in the western world as Holy basil, the Latin name of tulsi is Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum sanctum. The tulsi plant is a heavily branched small shrub which is widely grown in India for medicinal as well as religious purposes.

The word "tulsi" means "the incomparable plant". The plant can grow up to a height of about 60 cm and has hairy stems with oval-shaped leaves of about 5 cm in length. There are two main varieties of the Holy basil, the one with the green leaves is called Rama or Shri tulsi and the one with the reddish leaves is called Krishna or Shyama tulsi.

Tulsi is used in many forms which includes in the form of a tulsi tea, juice, fresh leaves, and dried powdered form.

Health Benefits of Tulsi

Tulsi is widely used in Ayurveda for medicinal purposes. Eugenol, found in Ocimum sanctum, is believed to be the main constituent responsible for the medicinal properties of the Holy basil. The plant has also been found to have antimicrobial properties, thanks to the ursolic acid and carvacrol constituents found in it.

Along with antimicrobial properties, the phytochemicals present in tulsi offer antioxidant as well as immune-enhancing qualities. It also has adaptogenic properties, that is, it enhances the body's ability to adapt to stress.

Let's take a look at some of the medicinal uses of the Holy basil leaves.

Respiratory benefits of tulsi

For asthma and bronchitis

The leaves of the Tulsi are effective expectorants and promote the release of mucus in bronchitis and asthma, thus, facilitating breathing. A decoction made of tulsi leaves, honey and ginger is effective for asthma, bronchitis and influenza.

For cold and flu

Chewing the leaves of the Holy basil helps relieve symptoms of cold and flu.

For sore throat

Boil a few leaves of Tulsi in about half a liter of water. Drink this tulsi tea or use it as a gargle at least three times a day. You can also add cloves to this decoction for more benefits.

Relieves fever

The antimicrobial properties of the tulsi leaves make it an excellent treatment for fever. As we know, fever is not a disease by itself. In fact, it is caused by infections caused due to viruses, bacteria, fungus, protozoa or due to allergens.

Tulsi is quite effective in bringing down temperature and can safely be used with children too. It also protects an individual from malarial and dengue fever, which are caused due to mosquito bites.

The leaves can be boiled in half a liter of water and mixed with honey and milk. Tulsi extract added to water can also be given every 2-3 hours for bringing down the fever.

Beneficial for the kidneys

Tulsi juice and honey taken regularly for 6 months may help in expelling a kidney stone that is smaller than 5mm through the urinary tract. Regular intake of tulsi leaves may also reduce uric acid levels and promote proper cleansing of the kidneys through urination.

Effective for skin disorders

The juice of the tulsi plant may help in the treatment of skin diseases such as ringworm and leucoderma.

Tulsi leaves can be applied as poultice on the infected area to cure skin diseases. You can also add a decoction of tulsi leaves to your bathwater to cure infections as well as prevent their occurrence.

It is also effective for insect as well as snake and scorpion bites. It can be taken internally as well as applied on the infected area. Take a teaspoon of the tulsi extract every 3 hours. Apply the extract on the affected area as and when required.

Cardiovascular benefits

It may reduce blood cholesterol levels and have benefits for the heart. Its antioxidant properties protect the heart from free radical damage. Regular intake of tulsi tea also reduces high blood pressure.

Beneficial for the nerves and brain

Tulsi acts a nerve tonic and improves brain functioning. It improves concentration and sharpens memory.

Oral and dental Benefits

The antibacterial properties of the Holy basil keep your mouth and teeth free from bacteria. Tulsi juice works as an excellent mouth freshener, prevents bad breath, and cures ulcers in the mouth.

It also prevents the occurrence of dental cavities, tartar and plaque. Tulsi is also beneficial for strengthening gums and preventing tooth decay.

Instead of chewing the leaves, use tulsi tea for promoting oral and dental health since the mercury in the leaves may damage your teeth. You can also use the dried and powdered leaves as toothpaste for curing dental and gum diseases such as pyorrhea.

Beneficial as an eye wash

Regular consumption of tulsi may protect your eyes from various diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. It also soothes the eyes and reduces strain caused due to constant computer use.

Soak the leaves of the Holy basil in a cup of water and let it stay overnight. Strain the water and use it as an eye wash. You can also dip cotton ball into this liquid and place it on your eyes. Blink a few times to get relief in eye strain and other eye diseases. You can also instill two drops of basil juice.

Good for headaches

Applying a poultice of pounded tulsi leaves on the forehead helps relieve headache caused due to heat, stress and eye strain. You can also drink tulsi tea to relieve migraine and other stress headaches.

Anti-ageing properties

Its antioxidant properties prevent the body from damages caused due to free radicals, thus, delaying the aging process and the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging.

More benefits of tulsi

Chemicals found in tulsi may decrease pain and inflammation. It may lower blood sugar in diabetics. Although more studies are needed, preliminary research has revealed that the antioxidant properties of tulsi seed oil may slow down the progression of certain types of cancer.

The Holy basil may be beneficial for the treatment of tuberculosis as well. Tulsi extracts may also help in weight loss because of its ability to reduce cortisol levels.

Other Uses of Tulsi

If you are in a country like India, you need to use something that keeps the mosquitoes away from you. Rub tulsi oil on the exposed areas of your body to keep mosquitoes and other insects away from you.

Beads made of this plant are considered to have medicinal as well as divine properties. It is believed that tulsi protects one from negative influences.

Tulsi vivah is a ceremonial marriage of the tulsi with Lord Vishnu in Hinduism
Tulsi vivah is a ceremonial marriage of the tulsi with Lord Vishnu in Hinduism | Source

Tulsi in Hinduism

As mentioned above, the Holy basil possesses excellent medicinal properties. This is probably one of the main reasons why this plant is so revered in Hinduism. Hindus consider their house as incomplete if they don't have a tulsi plant within the place itself.

In Hindu mythology, tulsi is very dear to Lord Vishnu. On the 11th bright day of the month of Kartika (around mid-October) in the Hindu calendar, tulsi is ceremonially married to Lord Vishnu in what is called tulsi vivah. This symbolic marriage denotes the beginning of one of the most auspicious periods for marriage in Hindu culture.

It is usually the woman of the household who take care of the plant. They water it, light the diya (small earthen lamp), and worship the plant after taking a bath in the morning. It is considered to be auspicious to have the Holy basil as it is believed to promote longevity and happiness for the residents of the household.

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Make Tulsi an Integral Part of Your Life

The tulsi plant can be used to cure most of your common diseases. It may also offer anti-aging benefits as well as be useful for diabetics and people with heart disorders. You can easily grow the Holy basil in a small pot. If it is not possible to grow the plant, keep a bottle of tulsi juice or oil or dried tulsi powder in your home for treating common illnesses such as cold and flu and insect bites.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

© 2013 BetterAlive

Comments 58 comments

ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

Very nice and useful hub! Tulsi indeed is a wonder hub, nature has provided us.

Well written, thanks for sharing and welcome to HubPages!

BetterAlive 3 years ago Author

Thanks Chitrangada!

Indeed, not many people know about the medicinal benefits of tulsi or Holy basil as it is often called. The best part is that it is so easy to grow it in a pot in your own home.

Easy to grow, wonderful health benefits, what more can you ask from this herb.

Velayutham Pillai 3 years ago

The best part is that it is so easy to grow it in a pot in your own home.

BetterAlive 3 years ago Author

Hi Velayutham Pillai,

You are absolutely right. Tulsi is easy to grow and it has numerous health benefits.

Thanks for going through the article!

BetterAlive 2 years ago Author


If you are chewing 500 tulsi leaves daily, then you need to take steps to stop doing this. Tulsi itself is not addictive.

Please consult a doctor and get help.

seema 2 years ago

sir what is the benefits of tulsi leaves

BetterAlive 2 years ago Author

Hi Seema,

Thanks for stopping by!

The benefits given in the article are about tulsi leaves. Please take a look and you will realize that tulsi leaves are indeed great for your health.

All the best!

swechha 2 years ago

very good

BetterAlive 2 years ago Author

Hi DP,

Tulsi seeds are considered to be good for digestion as well as for respiratory disorders. They are also anti-inflammatory and may help reduce joint pain and swelling.

All the best!

BetterAlive 2 years ago Author

Thank you, swechha!

I am glad you found it useful.

surendra singh 2 years ago

tulsi is hot by nature .so 500 leaves daily is very big amount.only 4-5 leaves are enough.

joseph Peesa 2 years ago

This is a wonder drug which everyone should have in a homestead.

BetterAlive 2 years ago Author


You are absolutely right! Tulsi is indeed a wonder drug and plant which can easily be grown in a small pot at any home and it has so many medicinal benefits.

Thanks for stopping by!

subhashree 2 years ago

sir please tell how many leaves should be chewwed by a asthma patient in a day ?

BetterAlive 2 years ago Author

Hi Subhashree.

As mentioned in the article, chewing tulsi leaves can damage your teeth since it contains mercury. For asthma, you must be planning on taking it continuously, so chewing it may not be a good idea. Instead, make tulsi tea with ginger and honey. 5-7 tulsi leaves should be enough for one cup.

All the best!

Falguni 2 years ago

How to take tulsi leaves for high uric acid

BetterAlive 2 years ago Author

Hi Falguni,

Uric acid is the main reason for kidney stones. If you have kidney stone and high uric acid, you should take the juice of tulsi. You can extract it at home or buy it from the market.

2 tablespoon taken empty stomach in the morning is the recommended way of taking it.

You should, however, try to consult a doctor or an ayurvedic practitioner before taking it for a particular health problem, especially if you are taking a medicine for high uric acid or kidney problems.

All the best!

Mohibul Islam 23 months ago

My father have a high blood sugar and urinary infection, some time may come blood in urine.

How many chewing fresh tulsi leaves in daily? And when ?

BetterAlive 23 months ago Author

Hi Mohibul Islam,

Your father must be taking medication for high blood sugar and urinary infection, so it won't be advisable to use tulsi along with it.

Keep a gap of at least 4 hours between taking tulsi and the medication.

The safest way to take tulsi for diabetes is take it as tea. Just boil 8-10 leaves in water. Allow it to remain in the hot water for about 10-15 minutes. Drink it early in the morning.

Again, be very careful using tulsi along with medications for diabetes. It may lead to an excessive drop in blood sugar levels, when used with medications for lowering blood sugar levels.

If you want to use it for urinary tract infection, use the same tulsi tea for about 5-7 days. It may help. You can also use the seeds of the tulsi plant for this.

All the best!

Mohibul Islam 23 months ago

Thanks for useful advice,

But Here fresh tulsi leaves not available in my area. So I use which product? for my father.

Tulsi honey chamomile tea

Tulsi green tea

Tulsi oil

Davidson's tea

Tulsi holy basil

BetterAlive 23 months ago Author

Hi Mohibul,

Look for pure dried tulsi powder. "Tulsi holy basil" is just tulsi powder. But please check the label or ingredients list when you buy it.

You can also buy the dried leaves sold by Davidson. You will find links to these products above in the article as well.

The idea is to buy pure tulsi, whether powder or dried leaves, and then use it to make the tea.

You can also add fenugreek seeds or methi daana in the tea to get extra benefits. About 5 grams of these seeds added to meals or in tea is helpful.

You can read about methi here:

All the best!

BetterAlive 23 months ago Author

Hi Mohibul,

Look for pure dried tulsi powder. I am guessing that "Tulsi holy basil" is just tulsi powder. You will need to check it yourself. Just check the label for ingredients and you will know for sure.

You can also buy the dried leaves sold by Davidson. You will find links to these products above in the article as well.

The idea is to buy pure tulsi, whether powder or dried leaves, and then use it to make the tea.

You can also add fenugreek seeds or methi daana in the tea to get extra benefits. About 5 grams of these seeds added to meals or in tea is helpful. You can read about methi here:

All the best!

Bruce 22 months ago


I'm interested in taking Holy Basil in dry powder in capsules I make myself. I want to try this form as a matter of economics and convenience as I don't drink much tea. The information I'm trying to find is what amount or dosage is good to start with. Can you suggest how many grams or, milligrams of powdered leaf based on a given body weight would be a good place to start? There is a lot of info out there about how much to use of extracts but most don't clarify how those extract are, how they can be obtained or produced at home without buying them pre-made. Thanks for any help you can give.


BetterAlive 22 months ago Author

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for your comment.

1-2 tulsi capsules a day works for most people. This is for general health. If you plan on taking it for a specific problem, the dosage would depend on it.

Mostly, tulsi is consumed in the form of tea at home. You don't have to make a tea as such. Just boil the leaves in plain water, let it steep in the water for about 10 to 15 minutes and then drink it.

If you are planning on using tulsi powder, you can just take 1-2 teaspoon of it. That works for most people. If you want to make tulsi powder from fresh leaves, just let them dry in the sun and crush them, your powder would be ready.

All the best!

Mohibul 21 months ago

My brother have a lot of allergy problem from childhood, now he 25 years old. Sometime big irration in his eyes, we are also visited Dr. P.S Hardia, (Indore,Madhypradesh) but no result when my brother use hardia's medicine then eyes was so irrated and getting red. In that case how does tulsi leaves work for his eyes. And how to use? Already we are plant tulsi tree in my home.

Pls help

BetterAlive 21 months ago Author

Hi Mohibul,

If the irritation in eyes is due to respiratory allergies, take tulsi tea twice or thrice a day when the symptoms occur. Add 6-7 leaves in water and boil for 5-10 minutes and drink.

If the problem is only related to eyes, then boil tulsi in water. Let it cool down. Strain the water and wash eyes with the same. Regular consumption of tulsi leaves in the form of tea will help boost immunity and protect the eyes.

All the best!

Mohibul 21 months ago

Many many thanks to hubpage form us for useful suggestion

Ketan 20 months ago

Hi, I wanted to know that can tulsi be taken by a healthy individual permanently for a lifetime? I want to use pure tulsi powder because being a strict vegetarian,I don't like it in capsule form as it contains gelatin which is non vegetarian. Kindly guide me as to how much tulsi powder should I consume in a day to maintain all round good health. Thank you in advance.

BetterAlive 20 months ago Author

Hi Ketan,

Tulsi can be taken continuously by a healthy individual. It is quite beneficial. It doesn't seem to have side-effects. Do remember though that chewing on tulsi leaves can be harmful for the teeth, so it is not advisable.

Tulsi powder should be safe. You can make it at home too, just would need to be slightly careful about proper preservation. Of course, you can buy it from the market too.

Generally, a teaspoon of tulsi powder should be safe to take.

If you are actually looking for a supplement to take for a life time, I would really advise amla in some form since it is the most nutritious thing you can take. There is a link given to an article on amla in the above article. Do read it and consider taking it.

All the best!

BetterAlive 19 months ago Author

Hi Apna Bihar,

If your mother is using a medication for diabetes, it is always a better idea to consult your doctor first because tulsi also works in lowering blood sugar. The best way to use tulsi for diabetes is to use dried or fresh leaves and make a tea. Drink twice a day. This also helps with joint pain.

For joint pain, tulsi oil can be massaged into the painful joint twice a day. Tie a crepe bandage to keep the area warm and avoid pressure on the joint.

All the best!

kavis 16 months ago

can non vegetrian eat tulsi leaves

BetterAlive 16 months ago Author

Hi Kavis,

There is no problem in eating tulsi leaves and it doesn't matter whether you are vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

All the best!

ha 15 months ago

Thanks for the wonderful information.please advice on daiky usage of tulsi powder for much can i give my children aged 2 to 9 and can i give it in milk? Please advice as my kids have low immunity.

BetterAlive 15 months ago Author

Hi Ha,

If you want to use something to boost the immune system of your children, use chyawanprash. You can read about it here:

But it seems your children are quite young. Avoid giving anything, whether tulsi or chyawanprash regularly to children aged below 5 years.

You can, however, give your child tulsi if he or she gets a cold or a flu for a few days. If possible, try making a tea by just boiling about 10-15 leaves of tulsi and giving it to your child during a flu. Add honey to make the taste slightly sweeter. If your child doesn't take it, give them about half a teaspoon of tusli powder once or twice a day.

All the best!

Alisha 10 months ago


I just want to know that due to lack of time in early morning, i boil water with 3-4 tulsi leaves,keep in flask and drink with honey in morning.just want to know that overnight kept tulsi water works or not?

BetterAlive 10 months ago Author

Hi Alisha,

If you want to boil the leaves at night before going to bed so that they are ready in the morning for you to drink, it is perfectly fine.

All the best

Ketan Doshi 6 months ago

I wanted to know whether I can take two Tulsi Ghana tablets daily for a life time for maintaining general health?

BetterAlive 6 months ago Author

Hi Ketan,

Ideally, don't take these tablets for a lifetime. If you want to take it as a help for some health problem, take it for 3 months and that's all. If you have a health problem that you want help with, best is to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner.

All the best!

akshay 5 months ago

Is the mercury content of tulsi harmful to eye when applying

BetterAlive 5 months ago Author

Hi Akshay,

If you plan on putting tulsi eye drops regularly, it is probably a good idea to consult a doctor first. If you are using it occasionally, it should be safe to use.

All the best!

Rahul Grover 5 months ago

How much quantity take in tulsi ark at the time

BetterAlive 5 months ago Author

Hi Rahul,

Please look at the packaging of the product you are using. It will provide an idea of the dosage.

All the best!

vipin 5 months ago

can we take tulsi drops in simple milk.and is there any difference in tulsi drops and tulsi juice available in market.

BetterAlive 5 months ago Author

Hi Vipin,

Generally, tulsi should not be used with milk. If you find it difficult to take due to the taste, just mix a few drops of honey and consume it.

Juice and drops are generally the same thing. But please do check the label of the product you are using carefully. In some cases, the drops may be just for external use and not for consuming. But this is not usually the case.

All the best!

CHAKRAPANI M S 4 months ago

Sir, I am planning to gift invitees in my son's marriage with Tulasi saplings. I feel it would be effective if I give a simple article on Tulasi. Could you kingly suggest an article.

soumen 3 months ago

I want to use tulsi leaves in a water of pH8 & make commercial production for use as drinking water in bottled form.

Pls.suggest your opinion & thanks for the same

soumen 3 months ago

I would like to add Tulsi as an ingredient to a drinking water of pH8 & manufacture bottled water for public consumption, pls.offer your opinion.


sina 3 months ago

my husbend has bloatingness prolem in stomach with gas and much qunity tulsi leaves i should give him in morning? plz anyone suggest me. m giving around 30 leaves juice....m i ryt?? waiting for response :(

Tina 2 months ago

Can I give tulsi tea made from 10 tulsi leaves in a glass of water to my 10 year old son regularly.I am not too sure about it after reading all the articles.Please guide a proper way to use for children.or can I use it on alternative weeks say I stop tulsi water for a week..n then start next week..Please suggest can it be consumed regularly

BetterAlive 2 months ago Author

Hi Sina,

Use about 8-10 leaves max to make the juice. Tulsi can be useful for your husband, but more than that Triphala would be helpful.

Please check this article and it will surely be helpful:

All the best!

BetterAlive 2 months ago Author

Hi Tina,

Is there a reason you want to give your child tulsi tea?

Ideally, use it once or twice a week. If there is a specific problem that you are targeting, try it for a few days (max. 7 days) or stop as soon as the problem is gone.

If you are doing it for building immunity, there are other products also. You can use a combination. For example, you can give tulsi tea on Monday, Triphala on Tuesday, and so on.

All the best!

fathima 2 months ago

Can i use the tulsi paste to face to fair the skin

BetterAlive 2 months ago Author

Hi Fathima,

Tulsi face pack is good for the skin, especially for acne prone skin. If your skin has marks, acne, pimples, blemishes, add tulsi paste or powder in your usual face packs.

It will make your skin clearer and give you a good complexion, but it doesn't make the skin fair.

Also, use any face pack maximum 2-3 times a week. Give a gap of 2 days.

All the best!

Priya 4 weeks ago


My Immunity is very low due to which frequently i face problem of Cold and cough , eye watering , itching .. Jolly Tulsi 51 drops will be good option .. ?? if yes how long shall i continue ?? or any other alternative please suggest ..

BetterAlive 4 weeks ago Author

Hi Priya,

Tulsi is a good option to take for colds and coughs.

You could also try out Chyawanprash since this provides your body with all the ingredients that you need to boost your immunity. You can read about it by clicking the link below:

Besides this, watch what you eat. Eat lots of fruits, drink lots of water, and avoid fried fast foods. Exercise to strengthen your immunity as well. Breath control or pranayama is a good option for this.

All the best!

BetterAlive 4 weeks ago Author

Hi Priya,

Tulsi is a good option to take for colds and coughs.

You could also try out Chyawanprash since this provides your body with all the ingredients that you need to boost your immunity. You can read about it by clicking the link below:

Besides this, watch what you eat. Eat lots of fruits, drink lots of water, and avoid fried fast foods. Exercise to strengthen your immunity as well. Breath control or pranayama is a good option for this.

All the best!

sujatha 29 hours ago

i used to give tulisi powder to 4years 6 months.can you say is it right or not

BetterAlive 25 hours ago Author

Hi Sujatha,

If you give tulsi for 1-2 weeks to a 4 year old, it is fine. But avoid giving it regularly.

All the best!

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