Tulsi

by Regan Schwartz

closeup of tulsi leaves and flower stalks

Ocimum sanctum, O. tenuiflorum

Energetics: warm, dry, relaxant

Actions: nervine, exhilarant, adaptogen, digestive, hepatic, hypoglycemic, antimicrobial, diffusive, circulatory stimulant/relaxant, diaphoretic

Tulsi, or Holy Basil, is one of the plants whose is so very capable in so many ways, it almost feels impossible.  But it is so very real.

I’ve loved tulsi for years, drinking tea blends daily, but when I invited it into my garden, that’s when I really got to know this truly magical plant!  Running my hands through those sweetly spicy leaves, watching the pollinators rejoice in those flower stalks, harvesting bundles for shower steams and smoke medicine…suddenly tulsi was everywhere in my home and we were all better for it.

Tulsi is a relaxant nervine adaptogen, fantastic for folks who are navigating life with anxiety and chronic stress.  It can support your parasympathetic nervous system as your body processes stress and you can work with tulsi to uplift you when you feel low and stuck as its diaphoretic action helps move heat up and out of the body. Tulsi supports the nervous, digestive, and endocrine systems, helping to rebalance bodies worn out from long term stress. 

In my workshop, tulsi shows up in my herbal bath salts, calming facial steam, holy rose cooling spray and infused into my sweet relaxation aromatherapy oil.  You may have noticed a theme, here? Relaxation!  Tulsi is the queen of rest and digest and we are in perpetual gratitude to her for that.

Magically, tulsi has a long and holy history in South Asia.  Household protector and deity, tulsi helps us to connect with the sacred within and without.