Tulsi ~ holy basil
The tulsi leaf has great medicinal value and is used to cure various ailments,including the common cold.
1) Kalyani - Normally poisonous snakes and mosquitos do not come close to it due to some smell that it emits. That explains why it is a must in every house. The leaves as well roots are a cure for several diseases like malaria, cold, fever. The wood of this plant is used for Mala, ie a rosary for worship of Lord Vishnu and when worn in the neck it prevents diseases of the throat.
2) Visnu Priye - Tulsi has been described as the beloved of Lord Vishnu since he is the creator and Tulsi helps the health of human beings and animals, prevents soil erosion.
3) Moksha - prada - By keeping the body healthy, it keeps the mind healthy and free of worries enabling us to concentrate on worship of the Ultimate Reality in comfort.
Tulsi, along with all other species of basil, possesses remarkable physical and spiritually healing properties, as author Stephen P. Huyler summarizes, "Aside from its religious merits, Tulsi has been praised in Indian scriptures and lore since the time of the early Vedas as a herb that cures blood and skin diseases.
Ancient treatises extol it as an antidote for poisons, a curative for kidney disease and arthritis, a preventative for mosquito and insect bites, and a purifier of polluted air. Generally prepared in medicinal teas and poultices, Tulsi's widespread contemporary use in India as an aid to internal and external organs suggests these traditions are based upon practical efficacy." One finds descriptions of basil's health benefits in any of the books on herbs and ayurveda readily available today.
Tulsi is also extensively used to maintain ritual purity, to purify if polluted and to ward off evil. A leaf is kept in the mouth of the dying to insure passage to heavenly realms. During an eclipse, leaves are ingested and also placed in cooked food and stored water to ward off psychic pollution. Funeral pyres often contain tulsi wood to protect the spirit of the dead--as Bhutagni, destroyer of demons. tulsi leaves and sprigs are hung in the entryways of homes to keep away troublesome spirits, and the mere presence of the Tulsi shrine is said to keep the entire home pure, peaceful and harmonious.