Holy Basil! (pun intended)

Tulsi or Holy Basil has been appropriately nicknamed "the queen of herbs" throughout India. This herbal wonder is actually worshipped in the morning and the evening by Hindus at large. The benefits of Tulsi are plentiful but I am going to focus on just a few of them here. Namely, the healing power of Tulsi for immunity (specifically cold and flu) and it's potent ability to help fight the effects of stress.

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The tulsi plant is useful as a mucilaginous agent, which means it assists in removing phlegm and excess mucus from the bronchial tubes. This is especially helpful when suffering from colds and the flu. The leaves can even be boiled and acts as a preventative against disease due to its high antioxidant and immunity boosting abilities. In cases of acute fever, the leaves can be boiled and mixed with cardamon, a little sugar and milk to bring down temperatures. This has been shown to be very effective for fever reduction in children as well. The tea also soothes sore throat and cooled tea can be used as a gargle to ward off those first few signs that a sore throat is brewing. 

The leaves of this particular basil plant are regarded as an "adaptogen." Adaptogens are substances that have the ability to reduce stress levels by boosting immune response and balancing hormone levels. Specially, it balances cortisol levels which has a direct effect on hyper- and hypo- glycemia. Another benefit of Tulsi is the effect on neurotransmitters in the brain that help regulate our mood and mental well-being. 

The most common way to consume Tulsi is prepared as a tea. Many health food stores now carry Tulsi. It comes in a variety of flavors combinations but I think the original Tulsi is the best. It has a slight sweetness and mild nutty flavor that makes it perfect on its own. If you like, you can add a natural sweetener of your choice. Tulsi tea is commonly made with milk sugar and sweet spices to be enjoyed as a sort of Chai. When making herbal teas use caution not to use boiling water as this can deplete some of nutritional properties. Let the boiling water sit for a few minutes before pouring over your leaves. And as with any herbal or nutritional supplement, use caution if pregnant or trying to get pregnant as Tulsi does have an effect on hormone levels. Tulsi is also caffeine free! So morning or night, you can enjoy the soothing taste and healing properties of this ancient herb.