Anyone who has traveled through a traditional village in India has seen Tulsi tea, because nearly every family grows it in their home garden, traditionally in an earthenware pot. For more than five millennia, it has been regarded to be one of the most sacred herbs because of its legendary spiritual and healing powers.
Also called “Holy Basil”, the Latin botanical name is Ocimum sanctum, a name which echoes its holiness. In Hindu legend, the god Krishna once measured his power on a set of scales. Although no amount of gold piled on the scale could outweigh his power, one single leaf of Tulsi tea, placed on the scale with loving devotion, tipped the scale.
Even today, the leaves of this plant are used to brew a tea that is not only has a delicious and refreshing flavor, but it also delivers health benefits. Herbalists refer to it as an adaptogenic herb, used for thousands of years to promote wellness, as it has been shown to relieve stress, support natural immune functions, and restore balance to the system.
Tulsi is also taken for increased stamina and endurance, as well as for its abundance of antioxidants. In the teachings of Hindu Ayurvedic Medicine, it was written up more than two thousand years ago as an herb to combat colds and flu. Because of its reputation for promoting mental clarity, Yogis use it to enhance their practices of meditation.
More recently, Tulsi is being promoted as having benefits for a more healthy heart, as it is said to tone the heart muscle, improve circulation, modulate blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol and cortisol. It is even believed to improve digestion and burn belly fat!
One word of warning must be given: Tulsi tea is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women as it is known to be an anti-galactogogue, and it may also have an anti-fertility effect, so women who wish to become pregnant should also avoid it.