The healing benefits of Tulsi ( Holy basil ) plant

The last time my in laws came to visit, my father in law  gave us  the best gift possible-the gift of health and well being!  He planted this holy basil plant in our yard. Holy basil also known as Tulsi in Sanskrit, is the most revered plant in India, enjoying an exalted status as the consort of Lord Vishnu. The plant has been attributed to have various medicinal properties so much so that having a Tulsi plant in your yard is considered akin to having a second medicine chest in your house.  I remember as a child, my mother giving us a herbal decoction with Tulsi leaves and other herbs at a the slightest hint of a cold, and more recently, when my own little girl was down with a bad cough my MIL plucked a few leaves from the Tulsi plant, extracted their juice, mixed it with a bit of honey and gave it to her for soothing relief.
Also having a Tulsi in the yard is a bonus beauty booster as it comes in handy to fight dandruff or fix that pesky pimple!!
So here are some home remedies that use Tulsi, that me and my family swear by.

Some homemade and hometested remedies using Tulsi leaves
(Disclaimer: Please use discretion before trying any of these recipes. These remedies have worked for us, but may not work for everyone. Please consult a doctor if symptoms persist, and please avoid using if you are allergic to any of the ingredients)

Tulsi leaves herbal decoction for cold and cough

1 cup water
18 Tulsi leaves
1/2 inch piece of ginger
10 pepper corns
A pinch of turmeric
Indian Molasses/gur or honey as required

Boil the Tulsi leaves, along with ginger, turmeric and pepper corns. Simmer until the quantity reduces to half. Sweeten with molasses or honey. Strain and drink two times a day for quick soothing relief.

Fast relief from coughs

Take about 8 or 9 Tulsi leaves and rub them vigorously between your palms. This will cause the leaves to crumble in your hands and release their juice. Squeexe out as much juice as possible (6-8 drops is more than sufficient) mix with equal parts honey and administer for fast relief from cough

Tulsi and hibiscus leaves pack for healthy dandruff free hair
Soak 8-10 Tulsi leaves alongwith 20-25 hibiscus leaves for an hour. Grind to a paste and apply evenly to hair from scalp downward. Make sure you coat every strand. Leave in for half an hour and rinse off with a mild shampoo.

Tulsi leaves spot treatment for acne
Make a paste of 6-8 Tulsi leaves and apply to affected spot. Leave on till it dries and wash off.

Growing Tulsi plant at home
Tulsi plant can easily be grown in your yard or in potted plants in a patio. Tulsi grows best in warm Mediterranean or sub tropical climates with mild winters
Tulsi can be grown from seeds directly or from saplings. If growing from seeds in a pot, fill a pot with good quality potting soil till 1/3 full. Water soil till it feels springy to touch but is not flooded. Dig holes 0.5 cms deep and one inch apart. Plant seeds and cover lightly with soil.
You can expect to see sprouts in 7to 8 days. Maintain the tulsi plant by watering daily and that if you live in a climate where winters are harsh, then it is advisable to bring the plant indoors and place it by a window if temperature falls below 40 degrees fareinheit
This, of course is my personal experience in growing the Tulsi in India. For more info on how to grow Tulsi in your location consult a local nursery or the internet.
And lastly remember your Tulsi is more than a plant. she has a revered status in many homes. Treat her with the respect she deserves and she will definitely bless you with both material and spiritual well being.