There are three main varieties of Tulsi, primarily Ocimum sanctum (Rama and Krishna varieties), and recently Ocimum tenuiflorum, and Ocimum gratissimum (Vana variety). They all belong to the Lamiaceae/Labiatae mint family and these and other closely related varieties are cousins of the sweet basil we all know as a cooking herb (Ocimum basilicum). It is a bushy perennial shrub growing to a meter or more in height.
The leaves of the Tulsi range from light green (Vana) to (Krishna) dark purple and the flowers range from white to reddish purple. It is a highly aromatic plant, just like our common sweet basil, and has a range of tastes and scents across the varieties.
Basils are native to tropical Asia and some believe it originated in India. Tulsi is a very important and strong symbol of the Hindu community and is interwoven with their beliefs and mythology. It is believed to be revered by Brahma and Shiva and one grows in most Indian homes or gardens. Tulsi is believed to open the mind and heart, and bestow compassion, love and devotion.
Tulsi is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil, and the health and medicinal benefits of Tulsi have been known to the Indian people for centuries. For the health benefits the leaves of Tulsi are most commonly used. Culturally all parts of the plant are used, and and beads are made from the woody stalks and made into jewellery, meditation malas and belts which are believed to have spiritual and protective benefits.
There is now substantial evidence that Tulsi, known for its antioxidant and adaptogenic properties, offers significant preventative and curative benefits for stress-related diseases so prevalent in industrialized societies.
The adaptogens in Tulsi Tea balancing different processes in the body, guard against physical, chemical, environmental, and emotional factors that produce the stresses that harm both physical and mental health.
Some of Tulsi’s health benefits are many and is used for the following:
To receive the benefits of Tulsi take in daily dosages of 1–2 grams of dried leaf (in capsules) or drink a few cups of Tulsi Tea (1 tsp/cup) per day.
As with any new substance introduced to your body, it is possible to develop an
adverse reaction to the herb. If you notice any side effects after
ingesting tulsi, you need to contact your health professional immediately. If you are taking medication, talk to a qualified herbalist before you begin taking herbs.