Whether you call it Holy Basil or The Queen of Herbs, as they do in India, tulsi leaves used in tea are renowned in Ayurvedic medicine as an “elixir of life.” Ayurvedic medicine is native to India and practiced in some other countries as a form of alternative medicine. Tulsi is mentioned in the central teachings of ayurvedic medicine, written at least 2,000 years ago, but tulsi tea has been used in India and tropical regions of Asia for more than 5,000 years.
The tulsi herb is rich in antioxidants and it is also considered an “adaptogen.” Adaptogens are herbs which appear to increase the body’s ability to adapt to stress and changing situations. Tulsi tea is said to have a calming effect on the drinker as well as to strengthen the body’s immune system and promote mental clarity. In order for an herb to be considered an adaptogen, it must be nontoxic to the user, it must generate a nonspecific response, meaning that it does not target a specific region of the body, but rather benefits the body as a whole, and it must help to create a state of balance or normalization in the body.
When prepared as a tea, tulsi has a mild flavor with a sweet, spicy twist and can be imbibed hot or cold and can be mixed with other herbs, teas and spices. It’s caffeine-free and safe for all ages. Tulsi tea is sold at many health food stores as well as online.
For hot tea, pour eight ounces of hot water over a tulsi teabag and steep for three minutes or more. Drink it as is or add organic milk or sugar or both as desired. For iced tea, pour two cups of hot water over eight tea bags and steep for 20 minutes. Remove tea bags and add two more cups of cold water. Refrigerate and serve over ice.
Jackie Silver is the founder and president of AgingBackwards.com <http://AgingBackwards.com> and author of “Aging Backwards: Secrets to Staying Young.” Sign up for her free newsletter at: http://agingbackwards.com/ and connect her on Twitter, @AgingBackwards, Facebook, http://on.fb.me/AgingBackwardsJackieSilver and Pinterest, http://pinterest.com/agingbackwards/.