The Year of Yes, ep. 22:  YES TO TULSI (HOLY BASIL) 🌿

Tulsi

Tulsi, also known in English as holy basil, Ocimum tenuiflorum L, belongs to the mint family and is a cousin of sweet basil. It is a powerful aromatic herb that has been used extensively as a medicinal herb in Ayurvedic medicine. 

Its evocative scent is mesmerizing. Tulsi's unique fragrance qualities are spicy, sweet and herbaceous-somewhat minty, with a pronounced sweet, warm, clove-like essence.

Traditionally, tulsi is considered a purifier of the mind, body, and spirit. Some texts describe it as an adaptogen (stress modulator). One of the primary active compounds of holy basil oil is eugenol, which is a potent antimicrobial and is one of the compounds that gives it its distinct fragrance. Holy basil also contains other therapeutic components, including the flavanoids orientin and vicenin and phytochemicals such as rosmarinic acid and apigenin. The research on tulsi's other purported benefits looks promising, these include: blood sugar control, anti-cancer properties, and lowering stress hormones. 

As per Mountain Rose Herbs (one of my fave herb shops), holy basil has been “revered throughout India for thousands of years. Ayurvedic texts describe Holy Basil as a pillar of holistic herbal medicine and a goddess incarnated in plant form (the mother medicine of nature).” 

I distinctly remember my Nani - my grandmother - my mom’s mom - had a tulsi plant placed in the courtyard of her home in Gujarat, India. I am visiting her this fall and hopefully it’s still there!!

I decided to grow my own tulsi this year in my window box garden. It's growing like wildfire! I've been using the blossoms and leaves on my meditation altar, chewing on fresh leaves, and sometimes making a tea.

Give it a try! It’s a magical plant indeed! 💚

The Year of Yes is a weekly photo-and-word installment by Dr. Shah written with the purpose of evoking hope, resilience, and a gentle movement toward healthy change in all of us.