Tulsi / Holy Basil TeaWikipedia: Ocimum_tenuiflorum | Teaviews: holy-basil-tea
Updated: Aug. 15, 2013
About Tulsi / Holy Basil Teaherbal tea made from the tulsi or holy basil plant, Ocimum tenuiflorum, sometimes named Ocimum sanctum, a close relative of sweet basil.
Tulsi is important in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, and the plant also has spiritual significance in Hinduism. The leaf is used both as a seasoning and in herbal tea, both on its own and in blends.
Tulsi is usually classified into two varieties, Rama tulsi, which has green leaves, and Krishna Tulsi, with red or purple leaves. Each of these varieties is named for a Hindu avatar, Krishna, and Rama. Another variety of this species is also used as a seasoning in Thai food; this variety is called Thai holy basil or kha phrao (กะเพรา), and is not the same species as the usual "Thai basil" which is a variety of the sweet basil plant Ocimum basilicum.
vana tulsi. Although sometimes described as a third variety of "holy basil" or "tulsi", Vana tulsi is more closely related to African basil and the (non-native) "wild" basil of Hawaii.
Tulsi is easy to grow and has requirements similar to sweet basil; it likes sun, and can be grown as a perennial in tropical climates and an annual in colder climates.
Medicinal uses and health benefitsTulsi has been studied for a wide variety of health uses and purposes; although the research is young and some of it is not fully conclusive, there is evidence that the plant has a wide variety of potential health benefits. Many aspects of its traditional use in Ayurvedic medicine are starting to be validated by studies on rats and mice, and a few on humans. Herbalists classify tulsi as an adaptogen, an herb that is non-toxic and safe for general use, and that has a normalizing effect on physiology. There are, however, a few potential concerns with the use of this particular plant.
Holy basil has been used to treat depression and anxiety. A recent human clinical study found that the plant extract had significant effects at treating both depression and generalized anxiety disorders. The plant has also been found in studies on mice to have nootropic properties, aiding memory and preventing dementia and Alzheimer's disease. There is also evidence from studies on rats that the plant can significantly lower blood sugar, both in normal and diabetic rats, justifying its traditional use for treating diabetes. An alcohol extract of holy basil was compared to the drug Tolbutamide, and showed about 70-90% of the same blood-sugar-lowering effect as this drug.
Side effects, health risks, and cautions
Chromium can damage the liver and kidneys. Tulsi grown in polluted areas is thus not safe for human consumption. You can avoid this problem by buying organic tulsi and being familiar with the source of the herb, or by growing your own herb in soil that you are familiar with.
When dealing with the pure plant itself, when contamination is not an issue, the main side-effect associated with tulsi is that it functions as a blood thinner. There is some evidence that tulsi can slow blood clotting, with an effect comparable to that of aspirin; it should be used with caution in situations where slowed blood clotting could be harmful, such as before surgery or childbirth, or in people who are taking prescription blood thinning medications such as the drug Warfarin.
This effect is relatively common among other herbs; chamomile is another herb with similar properties.
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Varieties, Kinds, or Types of Tulsi / Holy Basil Tea
Best Tulsi / Holy Basil Tea
The notion of the "best" Tulsi / Holy Basil Tea is subjective, because different people have different tastes. We present the most often-rated and highest-rated teas in this category, and allow you to draw your own conclusions.
Most Often-Rated Teas: