Holy basil

If you feel like April snuck up on you, you’re not alone, and you might be interested to learn more about this month’s featured bulk herb: Holy basil (aka tulsi).

Holy basil, a cousin of sweet basil, is an aromatic shrub in the mint family native to India. It’s revered in Ayurveda as “The Incomparable One,” “The Queen of Herbs,” and an “elixir of life.” Although it has been used for generations to promote general health, wellbeing, and longevity and to treat an astounding range of conditions, it’s perhaps best known for being an adaptogen. Adaptogens help regulate the body’s response to the stress of daily life, and do not affect mood but affect functions of the body.Holy basil

Holy basil also has an incredible amount of medicinal properties; it has antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic, radioprotective, immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and cardioprotective actions, which help it protect the body from damage from toxins. It has been used to support the respiratory, cardiac/circulatory, immune, and digestive systems.

There are three types of holy basil. In our bulk herb department, we have Rama tulsi, the most commonly cultivated variety in the U.S. It is generally considered to be the best tasting variety, with a light, cooling, minty flavor and a slight clove-like, spicy taste. The leaves are usually steeped as an herbal tea, mixed with ghee, incorporated into herbal infusion blends, or used to make an extract.

To make a tea, add 1-2 teaspoons of herb per 8 ounces just boiled water and steep for 5-7 minutes. Enjoy 2-3 cups per day (often combined with other medicinal, adaptogenic, and nervine-supporting herbs) for general health.

View our full list of bulk herbs, spices, and teas here.