|A Tulsi, Holy Basil plant in the author's home|
While all trees, plants and herbs are regarded as carbon breathing life forms that exist in conjunction with oxygen breathing life such as humans, there is a herb amongst them that is not just regarded as a life form but also as a goddess and it is the holy basil known in the Himalayan belt as Tulasi/ Tulsi. It belongs in the basil genus, and as one would expect there is also much ancient mythology associated with this plant.
Being a goddess it is not just some of its components such as leaves and seeds that have highly beneficial health giving properties but its mere presence in a home is regarded as auspicious in South Asia and elsewhere in ancient parts of the world. It keeps away evil influences from the home in which it grows. Therefore it is not surprising that many in South Asia treat this plant with much respect and reverence. For example it is not fed dirty water and its leaves etc. that fall off are pruned deposited in a safe location where they may not be defiled. Its leaves are taken only after asking the plant for permission and with clean hands while thanking this goddess for them. Being a sensitive plant it will not grow in homes with any substantial evil owner or resident and every attempt to do so shall fail. However it grows easily in others and it has to be grown in a safe corner or a raised bed made especially just for it. Several grow in our home against an old stone wall that this author built with his own hands and help of masons 33 years ago. One has been shown in the picture. The plant is a future generation of a plant that I had brought from the home of my parents in 1993. The words on it in Hindi posted by this blogger translate as – Hail the goddess mother Tulsi, Praise the Lord – for at all times this blogger expresses gratefulness to wonderful aspects of creation as well as the Lord Universe that created them.
Beads made from the wood of demised plants sown in a rosary can be worn to ward off evil influences or used as a rosary for meditation and chanting. For medicinal use a few leaves of the plant, less than ten can be consumed after preparing tea either by itself or mixed with conventional tea. It improves immune system, reduces stress, promotes calmness, focus in thoughts and promotes quick healing of common conditions such as flu and colds. Its regular use promotes a long healthy life free of any major diseases perhaps because at the root of many diseases are microbes that this herb helps a body to ward off. In our home we dry the leaves of the plant add/ mix it in tea so that daily consumption is ensured. We use dried Tulsi leaves to spice food too but ensure that it is done only with lovegan food i.e foods that do not involve violence in their procurement, to both plants and animals, do not be surprised that there is lots of food on the planet from both plant and animal sources like that and it is what some of the healthiest, longest lived humans consume most time. On the other hand some of the vegan food although it does not perpetuate violence on animals does so to some plants (see here).
Some scientists have tried to extract active ingredients of Tulsi and used that but it caused adverse effects that way as proof that a whole plant with its many balancing components appears to be superior to extracts that modern medicine often relies upon in very many cases. In the opinion of this author, far worse is the case with intoxicating plants such as cannabis and opium whose extracts become highly dangerous as compared to the whole plant with at the most mild natural extraction that preserves several other components too such as when wherever legal, cannabis is smoked or extracted by simmering in milk rather than an extreme and costly industrial process isolation such as super-critical solvent extraction that attempts to isolate individual organic chemical components to use them in isolation rather than a group of chemicals nature thought was necessary for life. A doctor recommended taking instead an extract that contains three of the chemicals from this plant together, but why not the whole leaf?
It perhaps satisfies greed and ego of manufacturers, traders and researchers but defies imagination when expensive extracts are recommended instead of the whole natural plant available for near free. It is perhaps the blinding desire for profits by some in this and other areas that has led to rising inequalities in the world for more than three decades now (see here)?
Hail Mother Tulsi and Praise the Lord who placed it amongst humans! May He and she grant more love, truth and sense to humans.