Tulsi is a plant that I would not want to be without in the garden. In late May, I direct sow the tiny black seeds into the soil of one of my circle beds and by August it has grown in thickly, revealing its beautiful toothed leaves, clove-like fragrance and emanating a purifying and peaceful energy. This herb is pure sattva and grows into shrubs in the courtyards of homes in India to purify the environment and set a sacred tone of prayer and devotion.
I was first introduced to Tulsi many years ago in Deb Soule’s magical garden, Avena Botanicals, in Rockport, Maine and have grown it in my garden ever since. I have dried it for winter tea, made tulsi glycerites, infused tulsi in raw honey and best of all enjoyed it freshly infused in water for a daily summer tea. Just the aroma of fresh Tulsi alone instantly relaxes the mind, gives pleasure… mmmmm….it’s so uplifting. I bring the fresh infusion to my office to share with clients and the fragrance and taste of Tulsi always draws wonder and delight.
Tulsi is bursting with prana and draws us into a heightened awareness and an open heart. Anne Mcintyre said to me the morning I awoke after dreaming about Tulsi: “It’s an awareness herb isn’t it?” It clears a congested and foggy kapha mind and is centering and calming for the nervous or agitated vata and pitta. Tulsi has extraordinary health benefits as an adaptagen (making us resilient to stress), in protecting us from radiation and by supporting our immune system to name just a few.
Tulsi has been a principle and important herb in Ayurveda for thousands of years. Known by many names: sacred basil, holy basil, incomparable one, the queen of herbs, the mother medicine of nature. It’s latin name is Ocimum sanctum, meaning fragrant lipped and sacred. Indian holy scriptures describe how Tulsi was a Goddess and devotee of Lord Vishnu and was reincarnated into the plant Tulsi to express her devotion. Through this devotion, she offers abundant healing, compassion and protection.
Tulsi gives protection to the traveler, and when I set off for Ireland with my half Irish mom and family at the end of the week, I will be sure to take the mother medicine of nature with me. A powerful ally for health of body, mind and spirit, Tulsi inspires my ever deepening respect, awe and joy.