گياه شگفت انگيز ريحان - Tulsi
ريحان گياه مقدسي است كه داراي خواص چندگانه مي باشد و در بسياري از بيماريها استفاده مي شود. از زمانهاي قديم، پشينان و اجداد ما اعتقاد به قدست و خواص داروي آن داشته اند.
مطالعه وتحقيقات ثابت كرده است، مصرف مداوم ريحان به مدت 3 ماه، باعث درمان بيماريهايي مانند سرما خوردگي، سرفه، سردرد، خستگي چشم، ضعف، اسهال، فشار خون بالا با پايين، مشكلات قلبي، چاقي، ترشي معده، يبوست، مشكلات كليوي، سنگهاي مثانه و دردهاي نقريسي مي شود.
اين گياه براي افزايش مقاومت و استحكام بدن در برابر بيماريها كه در نتيجه كمبود ويتامين هاي A, Cهستند نقش عمده اي دارد.
مصرف مدوام ريحان مي تواند باعث بهبود چين و چروكهاي دست و صورت شود. هم چنين در بيماريهاي زنان، مشكلات پوستي و تب نيز كاربرد دارد. براي بيماران مبتلا به سرطان نيز مصرف اين گياه توصيه مي شود.
روش تهيه آن:
- سي يا چهل عدد برگ ريحان (تولسي) را خرد كنيد.
- يك قاشق غذا خوري ماست شيرين به برگهاي ريحان كه قبلا خرد كرده ايد اضافه كنيد. به جاي ماست از يك يا دو قاشق عسل نيز مي توان استفاده كرد.
اين مخطوط دارويي را صبحها ناشتا به مدت سه ماه مصرف كنيد.
به خاطر داشته باشيد بايد يك ساعت بعد از مصرف دارو، صبحانه خورده شود.
مصرف اين دارو هر روز يك مرتبه به مدت سه ماه مي باشد. اما در مورد سرطان و سايربيماريهاي مزمن دو يا سه بار در روز نيز مي توان توصيه كرد.
ماستي كه به ريحان اضافه مي شود نبايد ترش باشد و بايد از ماست شيرين استفاده كرد.
در مورد كودكان، يك چهارم قاشق چاي خوري برگ خردو له شده ريحان را بامقداري عسل مخلوط كنيد. در اين مورد از مصرف ماست بايد خودداري شود. مصرف شير نيز توصيه نمي شود.
سعيد رجب نژاد
دانشجوي سال سوم داروسازي دانشگاه همدرد در کشور هندوستان
TULSI ~ HOLY BASIL
Sri Tulsi ji: The Incomparable Queen of Herbs
Published in “Light on Ayurveda” (loaj.com)
©by Prashanti de Jager
For over five millennia, the esteem that Tulsi ~ Holy Basil has earned makes it one of the most cherished and truly legendary of India’s healing herbs. From general well-being to acute critical imbalances, Tulsi’s magnanimous healing nature is used and honored daily by millions. As shown below, modern research has confirmed dozens of Tulsi’s traditionally known actions and therapeutic uses including its remarkable adaptogenic and anti-stress activities, as well as its powerful support for the immune system.
The most sacred herbs of India are likely Soma, Tulsi and Lotus, and of these Tulsi, no doubt, inspires the most personal devotion. Where most herbs are considered to be forms of the Goddess, Tulsi is a considered to be a Goddess herself. One legend is that a Goddess incarnated as Binda and, after spending a lifetime as a very close devotee of Krishna, serves to this day as the herb Tulsi, which leads to one of Tulsi’s many names, Vishnupriya, the beloved one of Vishnu. There are some followers of Krishna that have such a high regard for Tulsi that they would never dream of actively consuming Tulsi as a medicine, but rather choose to passively receive her healing power from her presence alone, which in India is ubiquitous. Most traditional homes and Temples in India will have at least one Tulsi plant, the care of which is a form of bhakti yoga, a beautiful ritual that usually melts the person into a union with nature. This ritual is especially focused on Tulsi Jayanti, the birthday of Tulsi on Karttika Shukla Dwadasi, the 12th day of the bright half of the moon during mid-October to mid-November, as well as every Shukla Dwadasi during the year. How many herbs do you know that have a birthday?
Wearing a Tulsi mala, a necklace of 108 beads carved from Tulsi’s woody stems and worn around the neck or wrist, is a common way to benefit from the power of her presence which includes psychic protection and spiritual nourishment. In the Padmapurana Lord Shiva tells the sage Narada about this power:
“Oh Narada, wherever Tulsi grows there is no misery. She is the holiest of the holy. Wherever the breeze blows her fragrance there is purity. Vishnu showers blessing on those who worship and grow Tulsi. Tulsi is sacred because Brahma resides in the roots, Vishnu resides in the stems and leaves and Rudra resides in the flowering tops.”
Tulsi is a very friendly herb and consistently lends herself well in all sorts of therapies. Tulsi tea, simply a hot infusion of dried leaves, must be one of the more enjoyable forms of medicine we can experience as well as an excellent anupana for other botanicals and treatments. Tulsi is both a ‘first-reach’ herb in most cases of cough, colds, flu and fever, as well as a ‘last-resort’ when nothing else seems to work. Tulsi is a warm blessing that can be enjoyed by most people throughout the year for a vast array of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.
· Gana: Surasadi, Shvasahara, Shirovirechana
· Guna: Laghu (light) & Ruksha (rough)
· Rasa: Katu (pungent) & Tikta (bitter)
· Virya: Ushna (warming in the case of Tulsi, not hot)
· Vipaka: Katu (pungent)
· Dosha: Relieves Kapha & Vata
· Prabhava: Lowers fevers
· Manas Tri Guna: Sattva
Comparing the Incomparable
Though Tulsi literally means ‘The Incomparable One,’ I feel that to introduce her to Western practitioners it is useful to compare her to herbs typically known in the West. Tulsi is:
· An anti-stress adaptogen like Ginseng or Suma or Maca
· An Immune system booster like Echinacea
· An anti-biotic like Garlic or Clove
· An anti-viral like Turmeric or Elderberry
· A digestive like Ginger, Oregano or Thyme
· An anti-pyretic like Mint or Aspirin
· A smudging herb like Sage and Cedar
Differentiating between Rama, Krishna and Vana Tulsi
When using Tulsi one of the first questions people have is, ‘Which Tulsi should I use?’ Rama Tulsi, also known as Svet or Shukla, meaning white, and Krishna Tulsi, also known as Shyama, or black, are both varieties of Ocimum sanctum. Rama Tulsi is actually very green while Krishna Tulsi is deep magenta, often bordering on purple. Though Krishna is used more for its clearing action, as in clearing toxins out of the head, and Rama is used more for its dipana actions, to increase the digestive fire, for the most part the two varieties can be used interchangeably. The chemotypes of the two varieties can vary greatly depending on when and where they grow, which also supports Bhavamisra declaring them as having similar actions in Ayurveda’s main herbal, the Bhavaprakash.
In my wandering through India I have often heard Vaidyas say that the Krishna Tulsi is stronger. Personally I feel the Krishna is more fiery, yet I have felt more drawn to Rama Tulsi, which seems smoother and more congenial, which simply makes the point that the usage often depends on the taste of the person. Physically, Krishna Tulsi is a much larger plant. Where Rama Tulsi usually does not grow larger than 3 feet high with stems about 1/2 inch thick, I have had several Krishna Tulsi plants that grew over 6 feet tall and 5 feet across with stems over 2 inches thick, almost like a small tree. Those Tulsi ‘trees’ made quite the mala and gives more meaning to the term ‘Vana,’ which can mean a forest or grove. Vana Tulsi is Ocimum gratissimum and has many of the same properties as Rama and Krishna Tulsi, depending on what chemo-type it is.
So what is the answer to the question? For me a blend of Rama, Krishna and Vana, 2:2:1, works.
Tulsi’s Ganas (groups)
Using the synonym ‘Surasa,’ Bhavamisra puts Tulsi into its own group, or gana, the Surasadi gana, which also includes herbs like vidanga (Embelia ribes) and Bala (Sida cordifolia). He says that this class of herbs removes Kapha and are krimihar, they kill worms. Bhavamisra also keeps it in Puspa Varga group, the flower section of the Bhavaprakash, that includes hibiscus, rose, jasmine and lotus. Todaramalla, who might have worked with Bhavamisra in Oudh during the 16th century, also places Tulsi in the Surasadi group, a collection of herbs that he says treats kapha, parasitic infections, rhinitis, anorexia, asthma, cough and topical ulcers. Charaka places it in the Shvasahara group, those herbs that remove shvasa, or difficult breathing, as in cough and asthma. Sushruta places it in the Shirovirechana group, errhine herbs that can clear the head. In western Botany, Tulsi is considered to be in the Labiatae family, a gana that also includes other Ocimum species, like Basil, as well as coleus, yerba buena, oregano, marjoram, thyme and all the hyssops, sages and mints.
Tulsi’s action on the respiratory system is famous and makes it one of the main herbs for coughs and colds, and especially asthma and bronchitis. Tulsi tea with honey is a good expectorant especially in cases where kapha and fever are involved. Kaphaja kasa, coughs of kapha nature, can be treated with fresh Krishna Tulsi juice with honey. Bhringaraja can be added to this. A strong tea of freshly dried Tulsi will also work wonders in both treatment and prevention. Using many markers including frequency of attacks, eosinophil count, sputum blood count and breath capacity, a clinical trial of 15 patients showed that Tulsi was very effective in the treatment of bronchial asthma.
Note that often with Tulsi the fresh juice, or swarasa, is recommended. Though this is an amazing and optimal way to use Tulsi (In India I juice the Tulsi in my wheat grass juicer), Sarngadhara reminds us that the dried herb placed in twice the amount of water for 24 hours and then filtered is also a ‘good swarasa.’ What I do is similar to making herbal oils: I put the herbs in a glass jar, add warm water, and then shake it several times over the course of Sarngadhara’s 24 hours. I always add mantra and usually add yantra by placing on the jar a copper plate embossed with the Sri Yantra.
Tulsi is an excellent heart tonic and can be combined with the colder Arjuna and slightly warm Hawthorne to make a tridoshic remedy that builds and purifies the heart. Drinking Tulsi tea one quickly feels what a friendly cordial herb this is, and indeed it is well known in the classic literature for its warming benefits for the heart, hrdhyoshna, as Bhavamisra describes. Tulsi also treats asra, general vitiation of the blood, and many other specific blood diseases. A double blind, placebo controlled study on stress related arterial hypertension indicated that in two weeks Tulsi powder was able to drop the blood pressure in 25 patients an average of 26 mm Hg.
A primary prabhava, or special action, of Tulsi is its ability to bring down fevers. Some warm herbs do relieve surface heat, and thereby can cool the body, but Tulsi’s febrifuge actions seem to work with a mechanism that focuses more on the core dynamics of the body, and can thus remove deep, old, mysterious and periodic fevers. In the 14th century Sarngadhara stated that the fresh juice of Tulsi taken with black pepper powder cures vishama jwara, periodic fevers such as malaria. A folk remedy for fever is to cook onion and Tulsi in coconut oil and apply this to the head of the person after the oil cools.
During a deadly outbreak of viral encephalitis in Northern India in 1978 a test was done comparing Tulsi with the standard Allopathic treatments. At a dose of only 2.5 grams of Tulsi powder taken 4 times daily there was survival and complete recovery in 60% of the patients using Tulsi and an unfortunate survival of none of those treated with Allopathy. For ethical purposes, no placebo was used. Anecdotally, I can offer a personal observation here. During the early 90’s while I lived in India it was common for many of my friends to come down with an intense viral flu at least twice a year, a flu that would totally knock out even the strong for two to three weeks. After Tulsi became our main chai in the mid 90’s, it became rare that one of us would get this flu and if someone did, the severity was significantly reduced. This makes Ma Tulsi a must when living in India with children.
Tulsi is a dipana, an herb that improves the digestive fire, and so acts as an appetizer and digestive. . Taking a decoction of the root or leaves of Rama Tulsi with dried ginger is a quick way to remove indigestion. Many digestives are downright hot, like powdered ginger, cloves and black pepper, and some are cooling, like the mints, but Tulsi is just warming and thus more tridoshic than the typical digestive. It is used in many digestive therapies including anorexia, emesis, abdominal pain, and to clear worms from the GI tract. Tulsi seeds soaked in water make a type of kheer or pudding that is useful in dysentery. In Germany you can buy yogurt with Ocimum seeds in it which would be excellent in many conditions.
Ayurveda recognizes that there is really only one digestive fire, one agni, that digests and transforms at all levels of being. Tulsi is one of the rare ‘digestives’ that stimulates and nourishes the agni at all the levels, from the ‘fire’ that digests our food to the agnis of prana, the agnis of the five senses, the agnis of the mind that digests sensory input into mental perceptions and further into intellectual constructs and belief systems. Tulsi works beyond the mind even as she stimulates the soul level agni, jiva agni. Her intimate relationship with agni is one of the keys to her great physical, emotional and spiritual value to anyone interested in attaining their greatest potential by optimizing the performance of this panchkoshic vehicle of consciousness we call the human being.
Tulsi as an Adaptogen
An adaptogen is an herb that improves the systemic response to stress and usually enables one to enjoy more stamina, less stress and a stronger immune system. In terms of Ayurveda, most herbs that increase Ojas could be called adaptogens, herbs like Ashwagandha and Guduchi. Dozens of studies have shown Tulsi to be a premier adaptogen. For instance a placebo controlled study with 20 patients showed that Tulsi significantly increased cell-mediated immunity, both in the number of immune defense cells and also in their activity. T-cell activity was shown to increase making Tulsi a candidate for further research in AIDS treatment, especially in light of Tulsi’s strong anti-viral activity. Another placebo controlled test with 27 males suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome showed excellent results from Tulsi at a dose of only 500 mg per day for three months.
Ears, Eyes and Nose
Add fresh garlic juice after you cook Tulsi in mustard oil and then place this warm medicated oil in the ears to remove ear aches, especially kaphaja karna sula, ear aches of a Kapha nature. I like to make remedies like this a little on the hot side and then the cooling process allows time for the energetics to ‘unpack’ or ‘unfold’ and synthesize, so that by the time you are using it you are using a single entity, not several things mixed together.
To treat conjunctivitis the juice of Tulsi mixed with honey is used as a collyrium to either wash the eyes or spread on the tender skin below the eye. A cosmetic side benefit of this toning treatment will be fewer wrinkles. In the cases of acute conjunctivitis in children, Kashyapa recommends a three day treatment with eye drops made from Tulsi juice, Jasmine leaves, Licorice and other herbs. For painful eyes Tulsi juice in goats milk is applied. Tulsi is also used for pratisyaya, rhinitis.
What Modern Ayurvedic Experts Say
Many of the people most responsible for bringing Yoga to America were disciples of Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, who was also quite an Ayurvedic Doctor. He feels that Krishna Tulsi is stronger medicinally and that Tulsi in general is useful in any disease that involves Kapha. After spending time in his Forest Acadamy on the hill above Muni-ki-reti I can attest to the number of mosquitoes and snakes that can detract one from one’s Sadhana, and indeed he recommends meditation amongst Tulsi plants to minimize these buzzing distractions. He also treats snake and scorpion bites, common in Rishikesh monsoons, internally with a tablespoon of Tulsi juice, and externally with poultice of Tulsi leaves after rubbing Tulsi juice into the wound.
In what might be the best Ayurvedic herb book for Westerners to date, ‘The Yoga of Herbs,’ Dr David Frawley and Dr Vasant Lad say about Tulsi, and I paraphrase: “Its quality is pure sattva…opens the heart and the mind…clears the aura and strengthens the immune system…contains natural mercury, which, as the semen of Shiva, gives the seed-power of pure awareness…increases prana and sensory acuity…removes Kapha from the lungs and Vata from the colon…Tulsi tea with honey promotes clarity of mind.”
In his chapter on the alchemy of sacrifice in the book ‘Prakruti,’ Robert Svoboda shows us the relationships between plants and principles of cosmic forces, otherwise known as gods and goddesses. He describes the Satya Narayana Puja in which 1000 Tulsi leaves are ‘processed’ by the ‘device’ of mantra alone, and then offered to Vishnu, the cosmic principle of preservation. Shira, basically wheat berries cooked in ghee, is then taken with these leaves. After igniting all the agnis with this specially potentized Tulsi, these same agnis are then nourished by the Shira, and a deep process of life-extending rejuvantion ensues.
Classically, a typical dose is 10-20 ml of the fresh leaf juice. However, most people in the West do not have the pleasure of having Tulsi plants growing around their homes, so I would recommend the following herb decoction and dose in most cases; an ounce of dried herb in 16 ounces of water and gently simmered for 30 minutes, then taken three times a day in 5 ounce quantities. One of the world’s main Tulsi scientist, Dr Narendra Singh of Lucknow, recommends a much lower dose, about 2 grams of the freshly dried herb twice daily for several months. A cup of Tulsi tea simply from an infused tea bag is an excellent prophylactic and a good direct medicine for many mild therapies. As mentioned earlier, Tulsi tea is an excellent supportive herb as an anupana, a vehicle, for many other herbs and therapies.
Tulsi was recognized thousands of years ago by the ancient rishis to be one of India's greatest healing herbs. They saw that this herb is so good for health and healing that they declared that it was God herself. Where most herbs are used for two or three diseases, Tulsi is recommended for hundreds of serious disorders and is actually highly recommended as a daily prophylactic to prevent disease. They established Tulsi as one of the eight indispensable items an any Vedic worship ritual to ensure that every house and temple had at least one Tulsi bush in its proximity, thus allowing everybody easy access to her outstanding healing power. Still today Tulsi, which can be found planted around most homes in India, is the most respected and honored herb there due to its continuing importance in healing, religion, spirituality, culture, and in decorative aesthetics. It is so readily found, now even in the West, that one of its names is Sulabha, 'the easily obtainable one.'
Read more about Tulsi -
Tulsi Queen of Herbs: Holy Basil (pdf)