As people become interested in wellness and herbal medicine, treatments that have been used for thousands of years in India are becoming more widely available in the United States. One of these herbal medicines is tulsi tea.
Tulsi tea is an herbal tea that is brewed from the leaves of the tulsi plant, also known as holy basil. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine and is an important religious symbol in Hinduism.
Tulsi tea has many health benefits and is easy to brew. If you are interested in how this herbal tea might help you with your health concerns, we have all the information to need.
Tulsi Tea is an Herbal Tea
The leaves that are used to make tulsi tea do not come from a tea plant. Rather, they are from the tulsi plant (Ocimum sanctum). This plant is also known as holy basil and is related to the basil that you use in your cooking. It is called holy basil because it is connected to the Hindu goddess Lakshmi and is used in religious ceremonies.
Native to India, the tulsi plant thrives in hot, tropical environments. It is grown throughout India and Southeast Asia. There are three main varieties of tulsi:
- Vana: The Vana variety is also called the “forest type.” It grows wildly in Asia and Africa and is cultivated in India and the Himalayas. This variety has a citrus aroma and flavor.
- Krishna: This variety is also known as “purple leaf tulsi” because of its distinctive purple leaves and blossoms. It is named after the Hindu god Krishna, whose blue skin resembles the color of the leaves. This variety is grown across India and can be found in many private gardens. Krishna tulsi has a peppery flavor with the aroma of cloves.
- Rama: Less peppery than Krishna tulsi, Rama has a cool, mellow flavor. Popular in India, it is also grown in Nepal, Bengal, China, and even Brazil.
Tulsi is part of the Lamiaceae family and is related to mint, sage, lavender, rosemary, and oregano. As the leaves used to make tulsi tea are not tea leaves, it is considered an herbal tea.
Consumed on its own, it is caffeine-free.
How is Tulsi Tea Used?
Tulsi has been cultivated for thousands of years and has become a part of Indian religious and medicinal practices. It is becoming more popular in the West and is often found in herbal medicine and as an essential oil.
Tulsi is Important for Hindu Worship
In the Hindu religion, tulsi is a sacred plant and the stuff of legends. Worshippers regard tulsi as the manifestation of the goddess Lakshmi on earth. Lakshmi is the principal consort of the god Vishnu as well as the goddess of wealth.
According to legend, Vishnu’s other wives were so jealous of her, they cursed her to be born on earth as a plant.
Worshippers of Vishnu incorporate tulsi into many of the ceremonies. They wear beaded necklaces made from tulsi stems. Water mixed with tulsi petals is given to the dying to help their souls reach heaven.
At the end of the monsoon season and beginning of the Hindu wedding season, devotees celebrate Tulsi Vivah, when homes and temples ceremonially wed tulsi and Vishnu.
It is an Integral Part of Ayurvedic Medicine
Ayurveda was developed in India over 3,000 years ago and is one of the oldest holistic healing forms. Holistic healing is a type of healing that focuses on the whole body rather than one specific part.
The main theory behind holistic healing is that all the parts of the body work together, and there needs to be a balance between body, mind, and spirit.
Ayurvedic medicine practitioners believe that everyone is made up of five elements found in the universe:
These elements combine to form three life forces that control the way your body works. Health problems are linked to the balance of these life forces. Practitioners will create a treatment plan to resolve any issues. Herbs such as tulsi are often used to regulate the elements.
Benefits of Tulsi Tea
Tulsi is a remedy for several ailments. It is an adaptogen or a natural herb that helps the body with outside stressors.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Tulsi has properties that treat and cure many ailments. It can lower inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants fight free radicals, compounds that can cause your body to develop illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Tulsi has two antioxidants that strengthen the immune system and help protect your cells.
- Cold Fighter: Tulsi is a good preventative for respiratory illnesses like colds, bronchitis, and asthma. It boosts your immunity and reduces fevers while also relieving coughs and clearing phlegm. Oils in the leaves can help with congestion.
- Reduces Stress and Blood Pressure: Regularly consuming tulsi can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. This lowers the risk of stroke and heart attack. For some people, tulsi can decrease headaches and lessen depression and anxiety. It has been shown to lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Regulates Blood Sugar: Drinking tulsi tea every day helps your body metabolize carbs and fats. This will ensure that the sugar in your blood is used for energy.
Side Effects of Tulsi Tea
Consult your doctor if you are on prescription medications, as tulsi can interfere with pharmaceutical drugs.
Although tulsi tea is safe for most people to drink every day, it may decrease fertility in women and men. If you are trying to conceive, you should stop drinking tulsi tea. Women who are breastfeeding are recommended to avoid tulsi as well.
Tulsi can slow blood clotting. If you are planning on having surgery, you should let your doctor know. The general medical recommendation is to stop drinking at least two weeks before and after surgery.
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How To Make Tulsi Tea
Tulsi tea is simple to make. Make sure to use filtered water to avoid contamination from chemicals and minerals in tap water. Tulsi comes in several different forms which can easily be found online if you don’t want to grow your own Tulsi plant:
- Fresh tulsi leaves: Steep 1 teaspoon of fresh tulsi leaves in 1 cup of boiling water.
- Dried tulsi leaves: Steep ½ teaspoon of dried tulsi leaves in 1 cup of boiling water.
- Tulsi Powder: Steep ⅓ teaspoon of tulsi powder in 1 cup of boiling water.
Cover the pot or mug you are using and let the tulsi steep for 20 minutes—strain before drinking.
Some tulsi tea leaves are blended with black or green tea leaves, so check the packaging. These teas will have the same health benefits but won’t be caffeine-free.
Each tea will have its own brewing instructions, so check the packaging.
How To Store Tulsi Tea
Most tulsi tea comes in loose-leaf form. You can find it online and in health food stores. Dried tulsi won’t ever go bad, but it can become stale. To keep your tea as fresh as possible, store it in an airtight container.
Keep it in a cool, dark location. To get the most health benefits, use it within a year.
The Takeaway: Tulsi is an Herbal Tea with Benefits
Plants have been used for medicinal purposes since the beginning of human history. Many of the pharmaceuticals people use every day were developed using chemicals derived from plants.
It is no surprise that tulsi tea has become more popular as people find out more about alternative wellness ideas. If you suffer from any of the health concerns mentioned, start drinking tulsi tea, and you may soon see positive results.