holy basil (tulsi) tea with fresh leaves on a blue wooden backdrop

Holy Basil Tea: They Call It Liquid Yoga & Here’s How To Make It

Believe it or not, the health benefits of holy basil or tulsi tea are incredibly similar to practicing yoga. Not only do they both help to invite a moment of calm into your day, but they also both serve to nourish your entire body and wellbeing. Here’s why holy basil tea is so often referred to as “liquid yoga” and how you can easily prepare a cup for yourself.

SEARCH THIS ARTICLE:
What is Holy Basil?
Holy Basil Tea is Liquid Yoga & Here’s Why
Precautions with Drinking Holy Basil Tea
How to Make Holy Basil (Tulsi) Tea
FAQs
Recipe for Holy Basil Tea

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holy basil (tulsi) tea with fresh leaves on a blue wooden backdrop

What is Holy Basil?

Often referred to as Queen of the Herbs and Mother Nature of Medicine, holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum, syn. O. sanctum) is not your ordinary basil. While related to the common culinary basil, holy basil is a plant steeped much more deeply in cultural, spiritual, and medicinal significance, especially in India.

In Hinduism, holy basil, also called tulsi, is considered to be a sacred and holy plant. It has a history of medicinal use that goes back thousands of years in Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest systems of medicine.

Botanically speaking, holy basil is a short-lived perennial shrub in the mint family. And like many of its mint family relatives like basil, lemon balm, peppermint, and oregano, holy basil is also highly aromatic and delicious!

It’s probably most often consumed as tea but the fresh leaves are also used in small amounts in food.

For a deeper dive into all the medicine and magic of holy basil, check this out: Meet Holy Basil (Tulsi) | 13 Science-Supported Health Benefits & More.


Holy Basil Tea is Liquid Yoga & Here’s Why

As a medicine, holy basil comes with a treasure chest of beneficial herbal actions. Throughout history, holy basil has been used to treat everything from hiccups, coughs, and colds to high blood pressure and parasitic infections.

It even has historical use as a contraceptive since high doses have been found to result in reduced sperm count and higher sperm mortality.

Many studies and articles have likened the benefits of drinking holy basil tea to the practice of yoga.

But is it really?

Drinking holy basil tea has many benefits and it has been lovingly referred to as liquid yoga for a few different reasons. Here’s why:


Making a Cup of Tea is Self-Care

First of all, the act of taking the time to make and then sip on a cup of tea is simple but profound. Regardless of the specific therapeutic benefits of the herbs themselves, preparing a cup of herbal tea can in and of itself be a ritual of self-care and a magic moment of calm in the seeming chaos of every day.

This is the same reason you’ll see so many calming herbs like lavender, rose, and chamomile offered as teas. Not only are herbal teas one of the most accessible and easiest forms of herbal medicine, but they also require just enough of your time and attention to bring you more into the present moment… just like yoga.

And in doing so, they help to put you in a more relaxed state in which the herbs can then get to work.


Yoga & Holy Basil Tea Both Act as Adaptogens

Secondly, holy basil can help to nourish the body, mind, and spirit in many of the same ways that a regular yoga practice can. If you think about yoga as an adaptogen, the similarities become clearer.

Like yoga, more and more studies are showing that holy basil can help us to better adapt to physical, chemical, metabolic, and psychological stress.

Not only has holy basil been found to help protect organs and tissues from chemical stress, but it’s also been found to help counteract metabolic stressors too. Considering that many metabolic stressors can lead to things like high blood pressure and poor blood sugar regulation, adaptogenic herbs like holy basil are important plant medicines.

Sipping on a cup of holy basil tea and finishing a yoga practice, whether it’s more physical or meditative, can both result in an overall feeling of relaxation and wellbeing.

In a nutshell, both can help to increase our resistance to disease, creating greater overall health and vitality.


Hey fellow tea lover!

Herbal teas are one of the oldest & most accessible herbal remedies on the planet. And it’s incredibly empowering (& easy!) to blend your own. Check out this step-by-step guide:
How to Blend Your Own Nourishing Herbal Teas

how to make your own herbal tea blends

Precautions with Drinking Holy Basil Tea

While holy basil is caffeine-free and generally well-tolerated by most people, it can have an anti-fertility effect on both men and women. For this reason, it may be recommended to avoid consuming holy basil if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.

Additionally, holy basil may interact with certain medications. If you are diabetic and taking insulin, it’s best to consult with your licensed health practitioner before consuming holy basil and/or using it to help decrease insulin dependence.

It’s also important to note that while studies show that holy basil is generally safe for all, there are no long-term studies that can verify the safety of consuming holy basil long term (more than 3 months), especially for consuming in high amounts. 

However, modern science often takes a long while to catch up to a history of medicinal use that spans thousands of years.

A helpful peace-of-mind practice is to always rotate the herbs you are using. For example, you may use holy basil for its adaptogenic qualities for 2-3 months and then swap it out for another adaptogen, giving you and your body a little break.

Always consult with your licensed healthcare practitioner or a practicing clinical herbalist before introducing new medicinal herbs to your life.


How to Make Holy Basil (Tulsi) Tea

Making holy basil or tulsi tea is no different than making any other herbal tea. And with the slim chance that you’ve never made herbal tea in your life, if you can boil water, you can make nourishing herbal teas!

Here’s a quick rundown of how to make holy basil (or tulsi) tea. If you’re ready for the full-detailed recipe, just skip ahead to the end of this post.

Equipment

  • Small Saucepan or Tea Kettle (If you make tea often, this electric tea kettle with temperature control is the best!)
  • Tea Basket/Strainer/Infuser (I love these mesh tea strainers that rest on the edge of your mug and come with their own steeping lids that double as a place to put your stainer when you’re done steeping.)
  • Your Favorite Mug

Ingredients

  • Fresh or Dried Holy Basil (Tulsi)
  • Water
  • Optional: Sweetener of Choice or Slice of Lemon

Method

  1. Bring water to a boil. You can use a small sauce pan or a tea kettle. I’m a big fan of tea kettles. There is just something so nostalgic about them. Bring the water to a boil and then remove from the heat.
  1. While water is heating, choose your brewing method. There are many ways to brew herbal tea, making it very easy to use the equipment you have on hand. You can add fresh or dried holy basil to a tea bag (reusable or disposable), tea infuser, or even a French press.
  1. Pour hot water over herbs & cover. If using a tea bag or infuser, place in a mug and pour hot water over herbs. Then cover with a saucer or small plate. (If using a French press, pour water over herbs and then place the lid on the press.)

    Covering the tea while it steeps is the hottest tip you’ll ever get when it comes to brewing herbal tea! Many of the herbs used in herbal tea are incredibly aromatic. And the volatile oils that make them smell and taste so good (and are full of health benefits too!) are quick to escape with the steam. Covering the tea while the herbs steep helps to keep all the good stuff in your cup for maximum health benefits.
  1. Allow to steep covered for 5-7 minutes. Then, remove tea bag or infuser (or strain into a mug if using a French press).
  1. Most importantly, enjoy. Sit back, cozy up, and sip your way to better relaxation, digestion, overall wellbeing, and more!

organic bulk herbs and spices from mountain rose herbs

FAQs

What does holy basil tea taste like?

The easiest way to answer this question: it tastes like holy basil. Holy basil has a flavor that’s unique and incredibly dynamic! It’s a little bit evergreen, has a slight spice to it (especially when brewed strong), and blends flavors of mint, basil, lemon, and rosemary. Some can even taste hints of chamomile, cardamom, and nutmeg in holy basil tea.

The best way to find out is to experience holy basil tea for yourself.

How much tulsi tea should I drink a day?

This is another difficult question to answer, as it largely depends on the person and their unique health status. While holy basil is an herb that is generally well-tolerated by most people, over-consuming holy basil can also have negative side effects such as unintended contraception/anti-fertility effects or interactions with certain prescription medications

Many sources claim that 3-5 cups a day is best for maximum health benefits, however, consider starting with one. I think it’s important to always keep the benefits of moderation in mind and to rotate herbs every 2-3 months to help prevent any negative side effects or plateauing of health benefits.

Where can I buy tulsi tea?

Tulsi tea has become quite popular these days and is relatively easy to find. You can often find holy basil tea in the tea aisle of conventional groceries. Check your local herb shops and keep an eye out for the herbalists at your local farmer’s markets. You may have someone growing holy basil for tea right in your city!

However, it’s also relatively easy to find online. When purchasing therapeutic herbs online, ensure that you’re buying from reputable sources.

My go-to for all herbs is Mountain Rose Herbs. They offer high quality organic herbs in bulk quantities, but you can also purchase blended teas, tinctures, and other herbal products from their online shop. The consistency in quality stands out above other herbal companies and they support sustainable growing, harvesting, and wild foraging practices.

Does tulsi tea have caffeine?

Nope! Tulsi tea is entirely caffeine-free. However, be aware of tea blends containing tulsi that may also contain caffeine such as a tulsi and green tea blend, which is delicious by the way!

Does holy basil tea make you sleepy?

Holy basil is an effective nervine that can help calm your nerves and put you in a more relaxed state. While it’s not considered to be a sedative herb, it can help you relax, better deal with stress and anxiety, and prepare you for better sleep. It generally doesn’t make you sleepy.


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Try these other delicious herbal teas:

Hydrating Electrolyte Tea
Hibiscus Iced Tea
Chamomile Tea
Herbal Teas for Anxiety
Rosebud Tea


For more plant magic & herbal wellness in your life, be sure to follow along on ➡️ Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, & snag my herbal 📚 eBooks Nourishing Herbal Gifts & Holiday Pies from the (Un)Bakery. 🌿 And please don’t forget to tag me in your snaps 📸 @_botanyculture_. I love to see all the plant magic you make happen!


Holy Basil Tea

Course: DrinksDifficulty: Easy
Servings

1

servings
Prep time

7

minutes

This delicious herbal tea is so simple to make and so incredibly full of health benefits. With hints of evergreen and spice, its dynamic flavor seems to blend mint, citrus, basil, and even a little chamomile. Some can even taste notes of cardamom and nutmeg! A slice of lemon complements this herbal tea wonderfully.

Sip to relax. Sip for healthier digestion. Sip for overall wellbeing.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 teaspoons dried holy basil (or a small handful of fresh leaves)

  • 8-10 ounces water

  • Optional: slice of lemon or sweetener of choice

Directions

  • Bring water to a boil. You can use a small sauce pan or a tea kettle. Bring the water to a boil and then remove from the heat.
  • While water is heating, choose your brewing method. There are many ways to brew herbal tea, making it very easy to use the equipment you have on hand. You can add fresh or dried holy basil to a tea bag (reusable or disposable), tea infuser, or even a French press.
  • Pour hot water over herbs & cover. If using a tea bag or infuser, place in a mug and pour hot water over herbs. Then cover with a saucer or small plate. (If using a French press, pour water over herbs and then place the lid on the press.)

    *See Notes about covering your tea as it steeps.
  • Allow to steep covered for 5-7 minutes, or longer. The longer you allow the tea to steep, the stronger the flavor will be. Then, remove tea bag or infuser (or strain into a mug if using a French press).
  • Most importantly, enjoy. Garnish with a slice of fresh lemon or sweeten with honey if desired. Then, sit back, cozy up, and sip your way to better relaxation, digestion, overall wellbeing, and more.

Notes

  • *COVERING YOUR HERBAL TEAS WHILE STEEPING: Covering the tea while it steeps is the hottest tip you’ll ever get when it comes to brewing herbal tea! Many of the herbs used in herbal tea are incredibly aromatic. And the volatile oils that make them smell and taste so good (and are full of health benefits too!) become unstable when heated and are quick to escape with the hot steam. Covering the tea while the herbs steep helps to keep all the good stuff in your cup.

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health benefits of holy basil tea (with recipe)

DISCLAIMER: The information given in this article is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before consuming certain herbs & medicinal foods, especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking any prescription medications.

Find Organic Herbs & Spices at Mountain Rose Herbs

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