Likely, you’ve heard of (or even tried) one of today's most buzzed-about natural health remedies: adaptogens. Tulsi, along with other adaptogenic herbs, is making waves in the wellness community, contributing to health and healing for many. Adaptogenic herbs are those that help strengthen the immune system to protect the body from physical, emotional and mental stress. Tulsi is a powerful adaptogenic herb, and for thousands of years, it has been considered an immunity and health booster.
The “Holy Basil”
Tulsi, often referred to as “Holy Basil,” is believed to have multiple health benefits. Reportedly, the herb assists in reducing stress and increasing energy, while balancing the body, supporting the immune system, improving mood, and supporting cognitive function and decision-making. Tulsi is also reported to have anti-inflammatory qualities and is high in antioxidants.
According to the experts at Organic India, a tea line that includes many tulsi-based teas, a clean system is a happy system. Tulsi is the natural way to cleanse the liver and kidneys to eliminate toxins.
“It’s a sacred plant,” explains Olivia Esquivel, founder of Wildcrafted Collection, an adaptogenic collection of so-called “superherbs” and mushrooms to boost the body and mind. “In India, where the tulsi plant grows, it is known as the “Queen of Herbs,” or the “Incomparable One,” and is often used in religious ceremonies,” explains Esquivel.
Types of Tulsi
A native of India, the tulsi plant (ocimum sanctum L. or ocimum tenuiflorum L.) is a relative of culinary basil (ocimum basilicum), but it has medicinal properties and certain physical attributes. There are three main types of tulsi plants. Rama, or green leaf tulsi, is a green tulsi with light purple flowers and an aromatic, clove-like scent. Krishna, or purple leaf tulsi, is a purple plant with a clove-like aroma and peppery flavor. Vana, or wild leaf tulsi, is a bright, light green tulsi plant that grows wild in Asia and Northeast Africa, which has a lemon aroma and flavor.
Tulsi is most commonly utilized as an ingredient in teas or other elixirs, and supplements also are available.
Mood and Brain Booster
Tulsi is reported to improve the body’s stress response and supports cognitive function, decision-making abilities and can even improve mood. Adaptogens such as tulsi may help alleviate the negative effects of anxiety and stress while improving mental clarity.
Some Ayurvedic experts advise against ingesting tulsi via chewing it. Tulsi contains high levels of iron and mercury, which are activated and released by the act of chewing. These can also damage tooth enamel and/or cause discoloration. For this reason, experts suggest that you consume tulsi either by swallowing the leaves whole or drinking tulsi-infused teas.
“It is not unusual to feel the calming effects of our Wildcrafted Brain product within minutes of adding just 1/4 teaspoon to food or drink.... It helps restore balance in the body and clears brain fog. It’s a tremendous healer,” Esquivel reports.
So, Does Tulsi Actually Work?
Practitioners of Ayurvedic healing have utilized tulsi in the form of teas for years, particularly as a means of combating colds and allergies. Sipping tulsi tea has proved beneficial with respiratory issues as well as helping those who drink it feel calmer and more balanced.
Tame tension the natural way by taking tulsi for a test-drive and you may never go back to “traditional” medicine again.
Crystal is a certified yoga instructor and freelance writer, covering wellness, health, lifestyle, beauty and fitness.