Holy Basil! The Stress Busting Power of Tulsi Tea
Have you ever looked up from your life and wondered at your own resilience?
Do you associate certain self-care habits with your ability to thrive in this modern life? This past year was one of the most personally challenging I’ve yet experienced. Looking back, I’m astonished that the stress of it just sort of bounced right off of me, and I credit some of my seemingly innocuous daily habits with playing a big role in my resistance to stress and its nasty affects.
I’ve been drinking tea made from the tulsi herb for the last year, and I believe this tea has had a significant affect on my well-being. I was looking for a peppermint tea when I found Organic India’s Tulsi Peppermint Tea. The information on the box described tulsi as a sacred, healing herb that fights stress, and the little herbalist in me got excited. Before I get to the health benefits, let me say that this tea is truly delicious. Tulsi has a touch of sweetness that peeks through the true peppermint flavor. The taste and scent are relaxing and refreshing. I’ve been through countless boxes of it now and drink it several times a day.
Tulsi is sometimes called holy basil because it’s part of the basil genus and has spiritual significance in India. It’s widely used in Ayurvedic medicine as a healing herb that clears the body of toxins and restores balance. It lifts spirits (true!) and acts as a serious nerve tonic. Tulsi contains loads of anti-oxidants and phytochemicals that boost the immune system and assist the body’s natural process of healing. Tulsi’s anti-inflammatory properties also make it good for digestive disorders, as does the peppermint in this blend.
But if you ask me, the coolest thing about tulsi is that it’s an adaptogen.
An adaptogen is any herb that supports a systemic resistance to stress and stressors and has a normalizing affect on the body. For example, Asparagus racemosus, or Shatavari in Ayurvedic medicine, is a rejuvenating adaptogen that tends to lower estrogen levels when they are too high and raise estrogen levels when they are too low. Adaptogens help create a state of balance in the body. They are innocuous and do not influence the body more than necessary.
But how can plants be so smart? Well, when all of an herb’s hundreds of molecules are present, they work synergistically to offer long-term balance. This is the opposite of a pharmaceutical drug, which has no way to balance itself or remain innocuous. The tulsi tea I drink uses the whole herb, which allows it to reach its full potential as an adaptogen. I put a lot of stock into this herb and tea. I felt the affects of tulsi long before I actually researched the power of this plant. My body intuitively craved it, which is the true test of efficacy in my book.
Have you tried tulsi? What herbal teas have improved your health?
*This post first appeared in August 2013