Tulsi is the Sanskrit name for an herb closely related to the common culinary herb basil. It's also called luole in Chinese and holy basil in English. People have used this herb all over the world for many centuries, in cooking and for medicinal purposes. It's easy to grow on a windowsill, so it can be used fresh or it can be bought dried in capsules or as tea. The leaves are the useful portion of the plant.
The traditional use for tulsi is to help digestion and the organs associated with it. A tea made with tulsi is used to relieve stomachache, excessive acidity in the stomach and constipation. The herb is also a remedy for nausea, especially when combined with ginger in a tea. Even though tulsi has been used to help relieve morning sickness, its use is absolutely not recommended for pregnant women.
Holy basil is categorized as an adaptogenic herb. This type of herb is used to counteract a person's physical reaction to stress. This herb is also given to rejuvenate and restore a person to good health when exposed to excess emotional or environmental stress.
Tea made with tulsi and cloves is used to relieve the symptoms of a cold, respiratory infection, or a cough. Tulsi can also be made into a tea with a few drops of honey added to help calm a persistent cough. The holy basil is used to boost the immune system.
Ancient Egyptians thought tulsi was a treatment for snakebites or stings from scorpions, but if you encounter either of these, seek treatment from a doctor instead. Many people also use fresh tulsi leaves to rub on mosquito bites to relieve discomfort. A tea made with tulsi combined with peppercorns is given as a treatment to reduce fever. The leaves of holy basil are used all over the world in cooking as a seasoning.