Tulsi (Holy Basil): How this Potent Ayurvedic Herb Promotes Health
Tulsi is a slightly sweet plant that features violet flowers and blossoms; the stems are green but sometimes boast a hint of purple hues. It is often referred to as Holy Basil and sometimes "hot basil" because of its peppery taste. All parts of the Tulsi plant - from the leaves, stems, and even the seeds can be consumed.
While Tulsi might be getting mainstream recognition in modern wellness circles, it has been revered for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. In Ayurveda, it was discovered to offer a profound ability to promote a well-balanced and healthy body, mind, and spirit by combating the adverse effects of stress in the body, maintaining stable blood sugar levels, and promoting longevity.
In a large-scale study of Holy Basil using chloroplast genome sequences, researchers found that the plant originates from North-Central India. Indian medicine has used Tulsi to treat many conditions, from eye diseases to ringworms, throughout history. The herb is considered a sacred plant within the Hindu religion. It is commonly found around shrines, temples, and in many Hindu homes, often given an area of prominence - preferably in a central courtyard area. The name Tulsi means "The Incomparable One" and is believed to be the physical manifestation of Lord Vishnu. It is said that those who wish to have a prosperous and peaceful life must keep Tulsi in the household.
So what gives this dynamic herb such reverence within religion as well as both ancient and modern society? In addition to being high in vitamin A and C, calcium, zinc, iron, and chlorophyll, Tulsi also modulates the stress response system. This modulation effect increases energy while elevating and nourishing what is referred to in Ayurveda as the "Vital Spirit. Below we will break down the benefits of Tulsi and how it works.
Normalizes Stress Response
Tulsi helps normalize the stress response in the body by supporting healthy cortisol levels so that over time the body becomes more stable, peaceful, and calm. Lowered cortisol levels can also help to promote a more beneficial sleep cycle.
Tulsi can help to facilitate the digestion process by addressing issues of flatulence, bloating, and bowel movements. Holy Basil can also balance acid refluxes and PH levels which can be thrown off balance after consuming particular food and drinks.
One study concluded that Tulsi might contain substances that act alone or synergistically to help inhibit inflammation. The study suggests that Tulsi has multiple bioactive secondary metabolites that inhibit inflammatory pathways. Holy Basil's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may even prove to be helpful to people who have fibromyalgia or arthritis.
Tulsi contains high levels of Vitamin C and Zinc. These essential micronutrients provide a natural immunity boost and help ward off infections with it's antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. The extract from Tulsi's leaves increases Natural Killer (NK) and T-helper cells, which can in turn provide increased levels of immunity.
Tulsi has been documented to possess neuroprotective and cognition-enhancing properties. Holy Basil can enhance acetylcholine (ACh) neurotransmission by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks it down, thus increasing the total amount of ACh in the brain. This increase can result in a corresponding increase in the ability to sustain attention, enhance memory, promote REM sleep and boost overall cognition.
The benefits above only scratch the surface of Holy Basil's potential to heal the body and mind. Holy Basil has also been used throughout history to treat diabetes, colds, fevers, headaches, and earaches - it can even be used as an effective mosquito repellent. With its myriad of benefits, it's no wonder Tulsi is widely known as the "Queen of Herbs."
As with all adaptogens, the benefits become more pronounced if they are consumed daily as a part of a regular wellness routine. We think that the effects that Tulsi can have on the body are pretty powerful, which is why we chose to include it in our Immunity blend. Shop all our blends of Adaptogenic Super Tea here.