The Top Superfood You Probably Haven’t Heard Of
Written by: Anusha Rajan
In the midst of the juicing revolution, nutrition experts strongly recommend that we supplement our food and beverages with “superfoods” from ancient cultures. These “superfoods” play important roles to fight and prevent chronic disease.
For example, the Maca Root from Peru and Ashwagandha, or Indian Ginseng (Withania Somnifera), from India are popular herbs that are readily available in health stores across the Western world. They are known to boost memory, energy and vitality, balance hormones, reduce cortisol levels and stress and promote sexual health.
India’s Turmeric is considered to be a strong anti-inflammatory agent and Clove is well known to enhance teeth and gum health. Japanese Matcha Tea is known to provide antioxidant protection, regulate blood sugar levels, boost metabolism and support weight loss programs.
But those are not the only superstars of the superfood world…
I would like to now introduce you to this amazing herb, Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum).
I consider Tulsi “The Elixir of Life.” It is revered as one of the most sacred plants in Indian culture for its remarkable healing properties. I have a lot of nostalgia associated with Tulsi from my childhood in India. We used to grow this herb on our patio and eat the leaves regularly. My mom used to give us a homemade Tulsi tonic when we caught a cold or came down with the flu and guess what? It was the most delicious tonic I had ever tasted.
Tulsi has maintained a low profile while other herbs such as Ashwagandha, Turmeric, Clove, Goji Berries and Indian Gooseberry (or Amla) have received all the limelight. It is now time to give Tulsi its duly deserved credit.
Tulsi is part of the Holy Basil family and has been used in ancient Indian medicine (Ayurveda) for thousands of years. According to Indian Mythology, Divine Mother had manifested on Earth as the Holy Tulsi for the benefit of all creation.
Tulsi contains important nutrients such as Vitamin A and C, calcium, zinc, iron and many phytonutrients. It has so many medicinal benefits, which makes it one of India’s prominent “superfoods.” It’s been shown to reduce stress, increase stamina, increase endurance, used as an efficient source of oxygen, boosts immunity, acts as an anti-aging agent and provides antioxidant protection. Tulsi is used in the treatment of many degenerative disorders such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and neurological dementia. Tulsi leaves can also help to treat acne and rejuvenate the skin.
Tulsi has adaptogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used to treat common cold, cough, flu, fever, headaches and disorders related to the eye, ear, teeth, skin and stomach. It improves digestion and freshens breath. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. It is so versatile that it can also be used as an insect repellant!
I hope by now the Tulsi has piqued your interest. You must be wondering where you can get hold of this amazing herb and how you can tap into its versatile benefits.
Tulsi plants are readily available in local Indian grocery stores or online at Amazon. It can make an excellent addition to your patio garden. Tulsi (in large quantities) can be used to create therapeutic essential oils. Tulsi Oils are available in local wholesome health stores. You can experience a positive transformation in your body, mind and spirit just by inhaling the oil. The oil can also be used as part of the steam inhalation procedure, a common home remedy for sinuses.
I have included a few home remedies for common ailments using this amazing herb – Tulsi to the rescue!
- Tulsi Tonic helps to clear respiratory problems such as common cold, cough or congestion.
Instructions: In a mortar and pestle, take 4-5 Tulsi leaves, 1 teaspoon organic honey and 1/4 teaspoon dry ginger powder. Pound well and consume immediately.
- Tulsi Tea stimulates the immune and digestive systems.
Instructions: In a glass of hot water, add a few Tulsi leaves. Cover for 15-20 minutes so that the healing properties of Tulsi can get infused into the water. Add a teaspoon of organic honey just before consumption.
- Headache Relief can be achieved with a proper mixture of Tulsi and honey.
Instructions: Drink a spoon of Tulsi juice mixed with honey. A paste of Tulsi leaves and sandalwood powder when applied on the forehead also provides relief from headaches.
- Homemade Tulsi Face Pack helps to remove marks and scars left by skin breakouts.
Instructions: In a mortar and pestle, add 10-12 Tulsi leaves, 1 tablespoon tomato juice and pound well. Apply this mixture onto the face, leave for 15 minutes and rinse-off with cold water.
As you can see, Tulsi is pretty awesome! I hope you find it as useful and beneficial as I have! Let me know how everything goes in the comments below and if you’ve found any other uses for it. I’d love to hear about your personal experiences.
Anusha Rajan is the founder of BerriesGreensnMore.com, a cutting edge online resource with healthy recipes with a twist and simple action steps for a healthy lifestyle. Her passion for Nutrition and Fitness led her to leave a lucrative banking career to pursue her dreams. She is known in her circle as a fitness freak, sports junkie and an innovative culinary genius. She is in the process of getting certified as a licensed Nutrition & Wellness Consultant to pursue her passion further. Her goal is to help people gain a better understanding of nutrition in their pursuit for sustained health.
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