Spring Essentials: Tulsi (Holy Basil) for Healthy Lungs, Heart & Spirit
The bright, sunny weather that signals spring often brings with it renewed motivation, energy and ambition. As the flowers start to bloom and the days get longer, the stagnation that characterizes winter gives way to a fresh spring vitality. You may find yourself excited to start a new project or ready to recommit to your previous resolutions. However, the excitement and motivation that characterizes spring may be stilted by an over-accumulation of Kapha during the winter months, which in turn might leave you feeling heavy, sluggish or fatigued. Fortunately, Ayurveda offers a number of natural solutions for alleviating such imbalances.
One such solution is by incorporating tulsi, or holy basil, into your diet. In the ancient Ayurvedic texts of the Vedic Puranis, tulsi is considered to be the most sacred plant in the world. It is believed to promote ojas, a force that represents our spiritual and physical health, and prana, the vital life force that is linked to communication and intelligence. Its health benefits are immense—from promoting heart health to supporting weight loss. Research has shown that it protects the body from physical and chemical stress, improves memory and cognitive function, heals wounds and more. Also known as “liquid yoga,” a cup of tulsi tea is known to relax the mind, soothe anxiety and promote focus, tranquility and calm.
These immense benefits make tulsi the perfect adaptogenic herb to incorporate into your routine this spring. It can help both the mind and the body to recenter and reset, leaving you feeling empowered to approach the spring with energy and motivation. Curious to learn more about this superstar herb? Here’s a breakdown of tulsi’s benefits, along with ways to incorporate it into your diet.
Benefits of Tulsi
It provides adaptogenic support
Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb, which means that it naturally adapts to your body’s specific needs, making it a safe, all-natural resource for boosting overall health and immunity. As an adaptogen, tulsi can alleviate stress, boost metabolism and more.
It boosts overall immunity and wellbeing
Tulsi is known to promote improved control over glucose and cortisol levels. This in turn allows it to support wound healing, reduce stress, promote thyroid health, strengthen the gastrointestinal system and more. Furthermore, research has shown that tulsi promotes the production of antibodies and T-helper cells, which play crucial roles in maintaining a strong immune system and fighting off infection.
It improves circulation
Tulsi also strengthens the plasma tissue layer, which in turn promotes healthy circulation and overall heart health. As an added bonus, strong circulation also promotes a radiant, glowing complexion.
It improves mood and relieves mild depression
Tulsi is known as “liquid yoga” for good reason: research has shown that it can alleviate depression and anxiety and boost one’s mood. Incorporating it into your daily routine can thus promote overall mental and spiritual well-being.
It boosts cognitive function
As an adaptogen, tulsi also has the capacity to improve our mental functioning. Several studies have also confirmed that tulsi boosts cognitive function, improves memory, alleviates brain fog and more.
How to Incorporate Tulsi into Your Diet
There are a number of ways to incorporate tulsi into your diet depending on your preferences. You can take tulsi as a supplement, drink it in the form of herbal tea, or use a massage or wellness oil that incorporates it as a key ingredient.
In terms of tea, you can buy tulsi tea bags online—or, if you’re fortunate enough to have access to a tulsi plant, you can boil a few leaves in water and mix with lemon, honey or ginger.
Note: Tulsi is not recommended for those who are pregnant or have low blood sugar. Additionally, as tulsi has warming properties, those with high pitta levels should consume it in moderation and be sure to balance it out with other cooling factors. At the end of the day, consult an Ayurvedic or other medical practitioner if you have any questions or concerns regarding tulsi’s suitability for you.