Tulsi tea or holy basil tea is made with the leaves of holy basil plant (Ocimum sanctum), which is a spiritually significant plant in India.
The leaves are typically brewed for 10 minutes and left to steep for the same amount of time before sweetening and serving.
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Ingredients for tulsi tea
For this recipe, I used:
- tulsi or holy basil leaves: there are different varieties of holy basil. Some have green leaves and others have purple ones. For this recipe, I am using the purple leaves, but it really doesn’t matter. The taste and benefits will be pretty similar.
- sweetener: this is absolutely optional. You can use honey or a little sweetener for your lovely tea.
- milk: here’s another optional ingredient. I don’t usually add dairy to my tulsi tea though.
What does tulsi tea taste like
Tulsi tea smells and tastes like clove. It has a high eugenol content which dominates in other spices like clove, basil, nutmeg and bay leaf. The tea also has a slightly herbaceous and peppery taste.
How to make holy basil tea
Step 1: Place a small saucepan on medium heat. Add the water and bring to a rolling boil.
Step 2: Rinse the tulsi leaves. Break them in half and add them to the boiling water. Breaking the leaves will allow them to release their helpful compounds into the water faster.
Step 3: Boil the leaves for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Remove the tea from the heat and allow to steep for about 10 more minutes.
Step 5: Strain to remove the leaves.
Step 6: If you prefer, sweeten with a little honey or sugar and add a little dairy. Of course, that’s all optional. Serve hot.
Benefits of tulsi tea
Tulsi leaves and tea have long been used in Ayurvedic medicine. The plant contains eugenol, which is an important and well studied phytochemical. Eugenol is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, pain relieving, and antimicrobial properties, according to many studies like this one.
As for tulsi specifically, this 2014 study beautifully summarizes the significant benefits of the plant and its tea. Here’s a quote from the study:
Tulsi has been found to protect organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals, and physical stress from prolonged physical exertion, ischemia, physical restraint and exposure to cold and excessive noise. Tulsi has also been shown to counter metabolic stress through normalization of blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, and psychological stress through positive effects on memory and cognitive function and through its anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties. Tulsi’s broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, which includes activity against a range of human and animal pathogens, suggests it can be used as a hand sanitizer, mouthwash and water purifier as well as in animal rearing, wound healing, the preservation of food stuffs and herbal raw materials and traveler’s health.Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons
The study went on to list the many tulsi benefits:
- antimicrobial including antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, etc
- protective for the liver, thyroid, cardiovascular system, and nervous system
That last point is also a negative property. Pregnant, lactating and persons trying to become pregnant should avoid drinking tulsi tea.
Where to get tulsi tea
Amazon is a great place to find tulsi tea bags. I’ve linked a few of the top rated ones below:
- Organic India tulsi tea (18 per box; 3 boxes)
- Organic tulsi holy basil tea bags (100 tea bags in the pack)
- Traditional Medicinals organic tulsi with ginger tea (16 per box; 6 boxes)
Tulsi tea recipe
- 10 tulsi or holy basil leaves
- 3 cups water
- sweetener (optional)
- milk (optional)
- Place a small saucepan on medium heat.
- Pour the water into the saucepan.
- Bring to a rolling boil.
- Wash tulsi leaves thoroughly.
- Tear the tulsi leaves in half.
- Add the leaves to the boiling water.
- Boil for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat.
- Leave to steep for 10 minutes.
- Sweeten and add milk (optional).
- Serve hot.