Ah yes, I’ve been enjoying me some fresh Tulsi tea a whole lot lately and it’s been something to sing about.
Tulsi, aka Holy Basil, (Ocimum sanctum/Ocimum tenuiflorum) Family: Lamiaceae
I have to say the time I’ve spent with Tulsi has been eye opening. Sometimes you can know about a plant but haven’t quite discovered its real magic yet. Like the difference between knowledge and the beginning of true wisdom.
Here are some of the bits of Tulsi information….
In typical herby speak it is considered to be: diaphoretic, febrifuge, nervine, antispasmodic, antibacterial, analgesic, adaptogenic and antioxidant
Toning down the polysyllabic addiction problem some herbalists have you can think of it as by what it has been seen as traditionally:
- Helping with stress
- Improving memory and concentration
- Good for respiratory problems
- Aiding with balancing blood sugar levels and cholesterol
- Easing IBS and gastrointestinal issues
- Soothing minor aches and pains including headaches
- Helping fight infections and such
- Potentially lowering blood pressure
You can also use the juice externally for insect stings and skin diseases as well as rashes and fungal problems. And as ear drops for ear infections.
(Which is actually pretty similar to a lot of the Mint family and especially many of the herbs we think of as culinary, or Italian seasonings, like Basil proper, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme for some examples.)
But Tulsi special magic is something more complex…
The Spiritual Side of Tulsi
In Ayurveda, it is not just thought of as an herb aimed at improving physical health and vitality but also valued for aura cleaning and helping to balance the chakras. It is said to be sacred to Vishnu and often used in daily prayers.
As well as considered to be a potent dream herb to increase the vividness of dreams as well as your recall of them. Which is not often mentioned as such but I’d consider it a nice shamanistic dreaming aid myself.
Three are One
Recently, I saw some folks online discussing how they had used Tulsi to aid with emotional issues but how they hadn’t really appreciated it for the ability to help with more physical problems (like insomnia in that case) until recently and how impressed they were by it.
That is one of the interesting things about herbalism is how different plants have different strengths and affinities. Not only for particular physical aspects but in a more broader philosophic sense of physically, emotionally and/or spiritually supportive and healing.
And that is where I had the realization of what it is that made Tulsi special once I truly got it and connected to it. There may be many herbs better at any one of those aspects, but I find Tulsi to be very evenly balanced and supportive across all three. The physical, spiritual and emotional aspects are all connected powerfully in this plant.
For example, it is an important part of a blend I use in retuning my nervous system. You know how when life seeming gets out of way and you react too strongly to simple things? I see that as times when you need to re-tune a bit and I use a blend of Passionflower (classic Nervine), Tulsi (to harmonize and apply cross the three aspects of physical, emotional and spiritual self), Eleuthero (classic Adaptogen) and Licorice (another Adaptogen and formula harmonize) that call Harmonizer Blend. Then I have a cup a couple of times of day, each day until I feel more settled.
It’s that subtle cross support of three aspects in one herb which makes Tulsi such a marvel.
And, of course, something to sing about….
“Tulsi” (to the tune of Maria from West Side Story and with apologies to Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, et. al.)
“I’ve just drank a tea made from Tulsi,
And suddenly I’ve found
How wonderful a sound
Say it loud and there’s music playing,
Say it soft and it’s almost like praying. “
Tulsi, love ya babe!