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Herb of The Month – Tulsi (Holy Basil): Best for Immunity & Wounds

Tulsi (holy basil) is hands-down one of the herbs I use most, not just with clients but also in my home pharmacy!

I make the tincture, and rely on it throughout cold & flu season. Years ago, echinacea got alot of hype for immunity (which is actually a bit of misuse- it works better for wounds), but Tulsi trumps echinacea for immunity.

A picture showing the herb Tulsi (holy basil)

Tulsi has a warm, drying quality which clears up excess mucus in the sinuses and lungs. So if you had a rough winter with frequent colds, it could be important to clear the air passageways and boost your immunity. I’ve helped countless clients with recurring colds, fever, low immunity, and particularly families with young children with this plant!

It’s too heating for pitta imbalance or Pitta people without the Kapha phlegm to work through.

But for Kapha, Vata, or Kapha-Vata conditions it’s just right.

Aside from its primary benefit for colds, slijm, and congestion, here are a few other reasons why you might get Tulsi in your herb formula at Atma Ayurveda:

Kapha

  • Any excess mucus or K-type low immunity, as mentioned.
  • Improves weak digestion with KV causing the problem
  • Skin conditions with K congestion as their driving force
  • Sluggish liver
  • Enhancing memory & concentration when the origin is K or V
  • Low-grade fevers that come & go (this is actually Ama driven)
  • Relatedly, alleviates excess thirst

Vata

  • The main power of Tulsi to reduce Vata lies in its nervine action.
  • Activates the mind & senses without excessively stimulating, which is a unique gift!- many plants can overly stimulate & provoke Vata
  • Tulsi unblocks the flow of the Vata sub-type called prana, and allows for its proper flow of energy & intelligence to correctly stimulate bodily functions
  • Purifies the mind. Tulsi is considered a sattvic, holy, and auspicious plant with a pure energy, and it donates those properties to a mind struggling to get out of the habit of thinking negatively and remaining optimistic.

Specialty Areas of Action

  • Lungs & sinuses
  • Digestion, liver
  • Skin
  • Mind/Spirit

How to take Tulsi

A simple way to take tulsi is by hot infusion: Placing a heaping tablespoon in a teapot & pouring hot water over. I often throw in a couple thick slices of ginger if I’m going for a de-phlegming sort of action.

Tincture. At the earliest sign of a cold, I reach for my Tulsi tincture.

Occasionally you can get Tulsi seeds (I once found them for sale at Amma’s weekend (the hugging saint) in the Houten Expo). Try growing your own just like you would a basil – Just note: I’m finding it needs an extremely warm location indoors to germinate)

If you can get fresh leaves, they are best to chew for excess thirst driven by V, K or Ama.

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