Drink This Tea Every Day to Reduce Stress. Could it One Day Treat Cancer?
For anyone who feels stressed or finds it hard to meditate or practice yoga, there's a quick fix just for you, and it's as easy as one, two, tea.
One review study found that the Holy Basil herb, also known as tulsi, when brewed as tea has stress-relieving traits due to its powerful antioxidants that can protect your body against some of the most uncontrollable stressors, like environmental pollution.
"Considered a potent adaptogen, tulsi has a unique combination of pharmacological actions that promote wellbeing and resilience," according to the study's lead author, Professor Marc Cohen, one of Australia's pioneers of integrative and holistic medicine.
Studies have shown that the herb also acts as an anti-depressant and boosts cognitive function as well as memory, and has the ability to protect cells from diseases, including precancerous and cancerous cells, pre-diabetes, heart diseases, inflammation, and other chronic health conditions.
In Ayurvedic practices, drinking holy basil tea daily is recommended for its natural calming benefits. It's often referred to as "Liquid Yoga," because the feeling you get after drinking tulsi tea has been compared to the feeling of peacefulness that yoga can provide. The herb has also been called "The Incomparable One,” as well as “Mother Medicine of Nature” and even “The Queen of Herbs," for its medicinal and spiritual purposes.
We compiled the five top health benefits of tulsi tea from one study overview titled, Tulsi - Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. You can buy holy basil tea on Amazon or specialty health food stores.
The 5 Health Benefits of Holy Basil, aka Tulsi or Tulsi Tea
1. Holy Basil Helps Detoxify and Protect the Body
Tulsi contains high levels of phenolic compounds and antioxidant properties, according to the review study that suggests the tea can protect the body from toxin-induced damage, calling Tulsi the "body's internal housekeeping."
In the lab, tulsi increased the number of enzymes that protect the cells by supplying antioxidants that help clean up damaged free radical cells, often caused by environmental toxins, chronic stress, and other health conditions.
2. Holy Basil May Help Fight Certain Cancers
Not only does holy basil protect the cells from everyday toxins but it also reduces DNA damage, which helps "prevent cancers caused by toxic compounds," according to the study authors. In addition, Tusli "induces apoptosis in precancerous and cancerous cells, thereby reducing the growth of experimental tumors and enhancing survival."
Tulsi also appears to protect the liver against toxic chemicals and helps the body to eliminate these toxins by activating enzymes such as the cytochrome P450, a group of enzymes that flush oxygen into the liver, helping it be more effective.
The study concludes by explaining how important tulsi is to the modern age not only for protection against diseases, but also for protection against pollutants, pesticides, heavy metals, radiation, pharmaceuticals, and other man-made toxicants.
3. Holy Basil Helps Alleviate Physical Stress
Tulsi has the ability to protect the body against internal and external cell-damaging activities, therefore, it has a big impact on three types of stress, physical, metabolic, and mental.
Exposure to environmental pollution and man-made toxins is known to cause physical stress on the body, but tulsi has been proven to protect against these kinds of damage.
The review study defers to a study that used forced-swimming and cold-exposure stress on animals who were given tulsi showed that the herb "enhances aerobic metabolism, improves swimming time, reduces oxidative tissue damage, and many psychological and biochemical parameters caused by physical stress."
In addition, the study also pointed out that tulsi helps reduce acute and chronic noise-induced stress on animals. Therefore, if you're experiencing fatigue, soreness, aches, and other physical stressors, tulsi tea may help alleviate tension.
4. Holy Basil Helps Alleviate Metabolic Disorders
Tulsi is known to help alleviate metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, or high blood sugar, which can lead to chronic inflammation, heart disease, and more.
When diabetic rats were given tulsi it helped to reduce blood glucose and protect their kidneys and liver from damage caused by chronic high blood sugar.
In another 12-week study of type 2 diabetes patients reported greater improvement in both blood glucose and A1c levels when they were given 300 mg of tulsi leaf extract along with an antidiabetic drug. Taking the tulsi extract resulted in better outcomes than those experienced by patients who took the drug alone without the tulsi.
Therefore, tulsi is credited with ultimately reducing inflammation in the body and mitigating the metabolic stressors caused by high blood sugar.
5. Holy Basil Helps Alleviate Mental Stress
Regular consumption of tulsi helps alleviate mental stress by relaxing and calming the mind, the review of 31 studies found, due to its "anti-depressant activity and positive effects on memory and cognitive function.".
In a six-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human study, researchers reported that tulsi "improved stress scores, sexual and sleep problems, and symptoms such as forgetfulness and exhaustion," according to Professor Cohen, who taught at RMIT Bundoora West Campus.
Bottom Line: Taking Tulsi or drinking Tulsi Tea can help you fight off stress
For anyone who feels that the stressors of modern life are creating an unhealthy mental state, drinking tulsi tea or taking tulsi extract can help combat those stressors in the body and help your body feel calmer and able to fight off the contributing stressors that can make us sick.
For more great content about how to live your healthiest and for reasons to eat a more plant-based diet, check out the Health & Nutrition stories on The Beet.