Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Latin: Krishna type: Ocimum tenuiflorum. Rama type: Ocimum sanctum. Vana: Ocimum gratissimum
Parts Used: Leaves and flowers
Properties: Antimicrobial, expectorant, anxiolytic, adaptogenic, restorative, anti-inflammatory, carminative, antispasmodic, analgesic, circulatory stimulant
Actions: Holy Basil is revered as one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda. It has alternately been named things like “The Queen of Herbs” or “The Elixir of Life.” Holy Basil is considered a “rasayana”, a supreme tonic used to treat colds, flu, ulcers, poor digestion, inflammation, diabetes chronic fatigue, depression, arthritis, respiratory distress, bronchitis, asthma, infections, eczema and psoriasis amongst other conditions. It is rightfully seen as a panacea and beyond that it is a delightful tea to drink.
There are actually several distinct types of holy basil. The Krishna species has purple tinged leaves and is seen as the most potent and strengthening of the three. The Rama species is more short and heavily flowered and is often grown here in the States. The Vana species is known as the “Forest type”, is highly aromatic, grows taller than the others and has similar stress busting, immune enhancing properties.
In terms of mental health, holy basil is one of the premier herbs to offer to those who are deeply stressed, overwhelmed, anxious and often shut down, tired and anxious. Holy Basil helps lift the spirits, calms anxiety, improves resiliency, vitality and raises energy levels. The taste and smell of it is is therapeutic as well and I highly recommend taking this herb as a warm tea.
Dosage: Holy Basil is best drunk as a tea or added to meals and dishes such as in Thai and Indian cooking. 1-2 tsp to cup of hot water infused for 10 mins.
Contraindications: Potentially not to be taken with anticoagulants
Tulsi monograph by Rosalee de la Foret
Tulsi monograph by Krystal Thompson (Herb Rally)