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Plant Profile: Tulsi

Plant Profile- Holy Basil, Temperate Tulsi- Ocimum africanum

Tulsi is sanskrit for “the incomparable one” and is considered the holiest of all plants in Hinduism. Tulsi is seen as a sort of gatekeeper between heaven and earth and tending to the life of this plant is a path in which one can gain salvation. I find this to be a deeply moving notion and think about how being in service and reciprocal relationship with plants is not just rooted in practical purposes but of spiritual evolution as well. Tulsi illustrates this connection beautifully. At it’s essence, Holy Basil provides the versatile foundation for us to regulate a wide range of imbalances within our physiology and to find clarity in our minds to facilitate expansion in thought and perception. Tulsi is an exceptionally delicious beverage tea and it’s highly versatile medicinal attributes provides a near panacea for the ailments of body and spirit.

Garden Care & Harvest: Holy Basil grows as a tropical perennial in India and we grow it as an annual in temperate zones. It likes well drained and fertile soil with consistent moisture and full sun. Holy Basil is usually fast to go to seed and doesn’t particularly like to be crowded, if in an optimal environment it can self seed though I wouldn’t recommend counting on it! Harvest on an ongoing basis just before the plant goes into flower- you should be able to get at least a couple of harvests from one plant in a given summer as it promotes a more vigorous growth pattern. After you harvest, make sure to get the plants out of the sun quickly and either hang or put them on screens to dry or prepare into the medicine of your liking.

Planetary Ruler: Jupiter

Element: Fire

Energetics: Slightly heating and drying

Preparations: Culinary herb, tea, infused oil, tincture, infused butter or ghee, essential oil, mouth wash

Physical Medicinal Attributes: Tulsi deeply rejuvenates the overall vitality of our being. As an adaptogenic tonic, it encourages resiliency by strengthening the body and calming the mind in order to encourage a strong foundation in having a healthful response to environmental and phycological stress. Holy Basil is packed with powerful antioxidant properties as well as a unique relationship of constituents that provide enduring protection against oxidative stress upon the organs and systems of the body. Physiologically, this response as an adaptogen promotes protection and a normalizing effect over blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels as well as on phycological stress by way of supporting cognition and memory function within the brain* (*adapted from

Holy Basil has a particularly benevolent influence upon the the liver, kidneys and the brain.

As the liver and kidneys are some of the most influential organs within the detoxification processes of the body, it’s protection of these vital organs against heavy metals, environmental toxins and even radiation exposure is truly amazing. In facilitating flow through these organs, we touch upon a foundational aspect of health that is at the core of what it means to feel well as they impact every facet of our bodily systems and how effectively they can operate.

Holy Basils cognitive protection and support is a true ally for those who feel scattered, forgetful and distracted with a difficult time in retaining information or keeping attention. It is a specific remedy for those coping with chronic or acute noise pollution. It brings clarity and calm to the mind that enables us to have potency in thought and subdue the modern tendency for scattered and irrational monkey minds. Tulsi encourages clear perception in finding enduring solutions and wider perspectives in respects to our personal and greater social and environmental trials that require a deep shift in fundamental beliefs and action.

Tulsi is a broad spectrum anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, offering protection from a wide variety of pathogens for both humans and animals alike. Tulsi modulates and enhances immune responses and has the ability to penetrate deep into the tissues and mucus membranes throughout the body. As it works to clear excess mucus production from the sinuses and respiratory system, it is a wonderful ally to work with for respiratory ailments, colds, flues, and allergies. An infusion can be utilized as a mouth wash and to irrigate cuts as it’s protection against pathogens and encouragement of healthy immune responses are so complete.

Tulsi softly regulates and increases the life force of our body allowing for ease in the adaptation process of events and situations of our life in order to find the balance that guides us into the next phase of our existence. Tulsi’s anti-depressant and anxiolytic properties are deeply restorative and calming by nature. As it is also exerting a profound influence upon our physiological responses to stress, it is a devoutly holistic remedy in addressing the wider perspective of anxiety and depression in a very enduring capacity.

Holy Basils strong aromatic compounds make it an absolute delight to work with in the kitchen and the apothecary. These volatile oils transport our minds and make for a superb remedy as a carminative and digestive aid to indigestion, gas, colic and even increases assimilation of food within the gastrointestinal tract. Tulsi brings with it a dynamic force of movement and flow. This flow and optimization of the organs and systems that Tulsi comes in contact with provides systemic anti-inflammatory responses as it clears and moves.

Spiritual Medicinal Attributes: Holy Basil provides opportunities for expansion, to find new purpose and perspectives that enable us to move through life with ease. Through clarity and focus, we find what it is that is worth putting energy towards to build us up and to see ourselves as capable and limitless in our endeavors. Holy Basil compassionately eases us through transformative changes in our lives that ultimately guide us into our work, in the deepest sense of the word. As our abilities to adapt to the ebb and flow of life is strengthened, we see that adaptation to stress is rooted in a deep and unwavering sense of purpose and self. Holy Basil facilitates healing in our relationships, particularly within our personal relationship that we have with ourself. From this, we are able to radiate out a broader vision of how we would like to participate in the world from a centered and empowered place.

In sweet Tulsi hugs,


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