What is Tulsi Tea?
Some teas, such as matcha, are praised for their ability…
…to increase energy levels. Others, such as ginger, are kept on hand to soothe an upset stomach. Tulsi, commonly known as holy basil, is a tea type that you may not have in your tea cabinet. Tulsi is a plant that is frequently utilized in Ayurveda, an Indian holistic medical tradition, but is less well-known in the United States. It is one of India’s most holy plants and has been used medicinally for thousands of years in various forms. But what we’re interested in today is tulsi tea, which is made by drying the leaves of the tulsi plant and steeping them in hot water.
How It Grows
Tulsi is also known as holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum sanctum). “Holy” because of its holy and spiritual importance, and “basil” because it is a perennial herb and shrub in the same family as regular culinary basil. Tulsi is a member of the Lamiaceae family, which also includes mint, sage, oregano, rosemary, and lavender.
Tulsi is an Indian subcontinent native that thrives in humid, tropical conditions. It is widely planted and farmed across the tropics of Southeast Asia. It grows as an upright branching shrub up to 60cm tall, with hairy stems, aromatic purple or green leaves, and tiny white to purplish flowers that sprout from the tips of the branches. Its leaves are grown, harvested, and dried for use in herbal teas. The tulsi plant comes in three primary types, each with its own set of characteristics:
This plant, also known as purple leaf tulsi because of its purple leaves and flowers, combines the spicy scent of cloves and the sharp, crisp tastes of pepper. It is abundantly cultivated in India and is frequently used to decorate private houses and gardens.
This green leaf tulsi features green leaves and white or light purple flowers, as well as a clove-like fragrance. It is more pleasant and mellow in flavor than purple leaf tulsi. It is grown across India, but also in China, Nepal, Bengal, and Brazil.
This tulsi with wild leaves is native to Asia and parts of Africa. It may be found growing both wild and farmed in the Himalayas and across India’s plains. The plant has light green leaves and a refreshing citrus aroma and flavor, as opposed to its spicy cousins.
What Are The Health Benefits of Tulsi Tea?
It Could Help Lower Anxiety
A review of studies published in the journal Evidence Based Complement Alternative Medicine says that tulsi has been associated in multiple studies with an improvement in mood and reduced anxiety levels. “One reason for this could be that the flavonoids in tulsi tea could help reduce the body’s cortisol levels, which is widely known as the’stress hormone,'” Zhu says. “There is some evidence that suggests that tulsi extracts might improve sleep quality,” says Dr. Andrew Weill, director of integrative medicine at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He explains that while there isn’t much scientific data available yet, his clinical experience shows that people who drink tulsi tea report feeling calmer after sleeping.
It’s Good for Brain Health
The Journal of Ethnopharmacology conducted a study looking into how tulsi tea affects cognitive function among older adults. Researchers divided participants into two groups—one group received tulsi extract daily, while the other got placebo pills. After eight weeks, those taking tulsi showed significant improvements in memory performance compared to the control group, according to Science Daily. These results indicate that tulsi tea may offer protection against age-related decline in cognition, especially when taken over an extended period of time. “I think if you start drinking now, then I would say maybe every day, you can see improvements,” said Dr. Michael Miller, lead author of the study and associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.
Tulsi Tea is Hydrating
This benefit may seem obvious, but since many people don’t drink enough water throughout the day, it’s definitely worth noting. “Tulsi tea is not only hydrating, but because it does not contain caffeine, it can be drunk at any time of the day, even at night,” says Zhu. If you drink tea regularly throughout the day, caffeinated tea can cause a headache, but since it does not contain caffeine, you will experience it much less frequently while drinking tulsi tea.
It has trace amounts of calcium, vitamin C, iron, and zinc
Although tulsi tea should not be considered the main source of nutrients, it does contain small amounts of various nutrients, including calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and zinc. Think of it as the icing on the cake among the other health benefits it brings.