It's starting to be that time of year where the plants feel like they are jumping out of the ground...in Virginia my world is LUSH...with plants and happiness. I'm in my best right before spring turns to summer...It's like the whole world bustles with the energy of getting out on the trail, rushing around with summer schedules, harvesting and harvesting all the good spring herbs, kids out of school, things to do, things to do...I've been feeling it too.
Then things go really off kilter by me not carving out my sacred space time, not organizing my day, doing one to many things and feeling that my patience has been stretched from all the above. I've lost my shoes 3 times this week... Anyone in the same boat?
When this happens, I automatically reach for one of my saving grace herbs, Holy Basil or Tulsi. It's botanical name is Ocimum Sanctum or Gratissimum. Just typing that name, Sanctum or Gratissimum makes the peace that I've been craving start to wash over me.
A lil history about Tulsi came to our world through the Indian healing tradition of Ayurveda, and in herbalism it is considered one of the all powerful Wizard of Oz like Adaptogens. I know “Adaptogens” is a “thing” right now in the health community and I'm really pumped that it is.
David Winston, one of my favorite herbalists and medicine men, writes in his book on Adaptogens:
"Adapotgens are remarkable natural substances that help the body adapt to stress, support normal metabolic functions, and help restore balance. They INCREASE the body's resistance to physical, biological, emotional and environmental stressors and provide a defense response to acute or chronic stress."
Too good to be true right? Adaptogens are truly a powerful class of herbs that often have multiple functions. Although adaptogens aren’t necessarily a one size fits all situation, adding an adaptogen or two to your daily health ritual can really create a pathway for your body to heal and maintain health. Tulsi and other adaptogens definitely saved my patootie when I was in full adrenal fatigue about 10 years ago and helped me find my path in herbalism.
Tulsi is more than just a super-powered stress reliever, it has antibacterial, antidepressant, antioxidant and antiviral properties, as well as serves as an effective carminative (relieves gas), diuretic, expectorant and effective immunomodulator.
Holy Basil is such a nourishing herb, supporting longevity, cardiovascular circulatory health, pain relief, digestive issues, and respiratory strength. This magical herb can be extremely neuro-protective when combined with other herbs, helps with menopausal cloudy thinking, heals and supports gastric ulcers, and is good for daily use to strengthen the immune system.
One of my personal favorite uses of this herb is to curb my 3pm I wanna cookie or a latte -- sugar cravings.
On a spiritual level, Tulsi helps me think outside of the box on reaching my deepest desires and holding strong to the foundations I've built. She also adds a giggly gentleness to my spirit, to take life less seriously and be child-like.
In the Garden:
If you are so lucky to have a Holy Basil plant or two in your yard (in my climate they self seed), it can be harvested a few times each summer by cutting the top ⅓ of the plant and drying a bundle or two. I do have a few left at the shop...
In the Kitchen:
Since it is in the basil family, fresh Holy Basil can be added to any culinary creations as a flavoring and a nutritional boost. I particularly like adding Tulsi to my Asian inspired dishes!
As Nourishing Infusion for Max Health benefits:
3 tablespoons of dried Tulsi Basil
1.5 cups boiling water
Add the ingredients to a quart jar and let sit, covered, for at least 20 minutes or up to 4 hours. Strain out the herbs and sip on this tea infusion daily for herbal benefits.
One of my first teas I made for my clients and still one favorites is tulsi with calendula flowers, milky oats and anise hyssop or Deep Ahh Tea.
Or our stress relieving, Last Nerve Tonic which has a beautiful base of Tulsi along with a few other of my favorite stress relieving heart centered herbal products.
Getting on board with an adaptogen like Holy Basil or Tulsi has so many long term health benefits. I encourage you to explore how to incorporate this powerful and very accessible adaptogen into your life.
Just an FYI on contraindications with Tulsi:
It is important to note the contraindications of an herb before incorporating it into your herbal medicine cabinet. Tulsi may have an antifertility effect on both men and women, so do not take it if your thinking about having babies (there are other herbs to help for that!). Tulsi should also not be taken when pregnant or breastfeeding. It has slight blood thinning properties, so it should not be taken in combination with blood thinning medications. If you have diabetes, Tulsi may affect your insulin, so be sure to consult your doctor before taking Tulsi.