Tulsi tea is a household staple among Indian families. In Hinduism, the tulsi plant is revered as a goddess. It is rare to find a Hindu household that does not have a sacred tulsi plant somewhere within it’s walls. This is because of the many medicinal benefits that this traditional Ayurvedic herb has to offer. (Learn about the other Top 5 Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants.)
Within Ayurveda, the tulsi plant is known as the “Queen of Herbs” and “Mother Medicine of Nature.” Tulsi is considered a sacred elixir of life, with mentions as far back as 5,000 years, as well as in the "Rig Veda." It’s penetrating spicy aroma and somewhat bitter taste is said to help normalize kapha and pitta dosha imbalances. (Learn The 3 Doshas of Ayurveda.)
Tulsi tea is actually made from holy basil (Ocimum sanctum Linn), an aromatic shrub native to southeast Asia. Drinking tulsi tea has many physical benefits, below is a list of some of the most compelling reasons you'll want to make tulsi tea a part of your daily wellness regime.
Holy basil contains the active ingredient, eugenol, a chemical compound that is found in clove oil, nature’s number one essential oil for fighting acne. Eugenol is a superstar at tackling bacteria because it is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial. This is one of the reasons why it is so effective against skin disorders. If you plan on using holy basil oil to treat you skin, be sure to mix it with a carrier oil before applying it to your face and body. Coconut oil makes an excellent carrier and is a good choice for this as it is easily absorbed into the skin. Use no more than three percent concentration of holy basil oil in your mix to avoid any irritation. (Need another skin fix? Learn about The Benefits of Ayurvedic Oil Pulling.)
Tulsi has been shown in several studies to be a powerful force against cancer. This is primarily due to it’s amazing ability to significantly boost immune system functioning and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Tulsi tea is rich in beneficial phytochemicals that stimulate the body’s natural ability to produce anti-oxidants, which work by reducing free radical damage in the body. In addition, recent studies have shown that tulsi can protect cellular DNA from toxic compounds, resulting in a reduction in precancerous cells. People who drink fresh tulsi tea on a regular basis are believed to be better protected against cancer thanks to holy basil's remarkable immune boosting abilities.
Tulsi tea has been shown to actively reduce and regulate both blood glucose and cholesterol. These results indicate that tulsi tea may be a powerful natural remedy for modulating blood sugar levels and helping patients treat type 2 diabetes. Tulsi tea also has significant nutritional value, being naturally rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, zinc and iron. Put all of these properties together and it's easy to see why drinking tulsi tea is beneficial for individuals suffering from hypothyroidism, diabetes or elevated cholesterol levels. (Learn more about why A Plant-Based Diet Makes Better Yogis.)
Holy basil is considered an adaptogen. Adaptogens help your body deal with stress and anxiety. Tulsi does this by helping to manage cortisol production in the body. Cortisol production is intimately linked with our stress response. When we get anxious, our body goes into a fight or flight response and as a result, it releases the hormone, adrenaline. When this happens on a regular basis, we begin to feel burned out. This is because when adrenaline is released, our body also releases cortisol to help bring our body back into homeostasis. Our body can only produce so much cortisol and when our stress response is habitually triggered, our adrenals become fatigued. Luckily, tulsi can help manage cortisol levels, leaving us feeling calmer and less stressed.
Extracts made from the holy basil plant are particularly beneficial for wound treatment and recovery from injury. This is due to the fact that holy basil is not only remarkably anti-inflammatory but also anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral! In other words, holy basil is a powerhouse of healing substances. As mentioned above, it is especially effective for healing skin disorders such as keloid scars, acne and mouth ulcers.
With all of these amazing pharmacological and stress-fighting properties, tulsi is a go-to tonic for both body and mind. Drinking tulsi tea daily can be compared to having a regular yoga practice as it works to promote physical well-being and has a calming effect on the mind. In fact, Ayurveda sometimes refers to tulsi tea as liquid yoga.Whenever possible, buy fair trade organic tulsi tea, as conventional varieties often contain toxins absorbed from surrounding pollution in the environment.