The best thing you can do to protect yourself from colds and flu this cold season is to strengthen your immune system naturally.
In India, Tulsi (Holy Basil) is revered as “The Queen of Herbs” and has traditionally been celebrated for its therapeutic effects on the body, mind and spirit. You’ll find Tulsi given the place of honour directly in front of temples and homes, and it’s widely known as the number one remedy for a range of ailments. Grandmothers will reach for some leaves at the first telling signs for a soothing cup of tea, as Tulsi has been known in Ayurveda for being an effective remedy for fever, coughs and colds.
Scientific research is now confirming the unique combination of actions that give credence to the ancient wisdom of Tulsi, the Incomparable Immuni-TEA!
1. Tulsi May Optimise Immune Response
In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology Tulsi is shown as an “immunomodulator”, which refers to agents that improve the functioning of the immune system. The immunomodulatory effects of Tulsi have been demonstrated in controlled trials on human volunteers, resulting in statistically significant increases in the levels of helpful antibodies.
2. Tulsi Provides Stress Relief
Tulsi has also been shown to regulate cortisol levels, which directly impact your immune system. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study that took place in 2012 showed that consuming Tulsi may help you calm your system and fortify its resilience to deal with the demands of modern life. Tulsi helps you to cope with physical, infectious, chemical, metabolic and psychological stress through a unique combination of pharmacological actions.
3. Tulsi Is A Powerful Adaptogen
“As the world’s pre-eminent “adaptogen,” Tulsi not only helps to calm you when you’re stressed, but it also helps to restore balance for healthy physiological and psychological functioning. This makes Tulsi a great “pick me up” for productivity in the morning as well as a “calm me down” in the evening for a good night’s rest: an essential ingredient for your Immuni-TEA!
4. Tulsi Is Abundant in Antioxidants
Tulsi contains unique antioxidants and micronutrients that may provide powerful immune protection from free radical damage and increase the body’s capacity to fight against disease and infections. Tulsi may protect against toxin-induced injury by increasing the body’s levels of antioxidant molecules and enhancing the activity of antioxidant enzymes.
5. Tulsi has Traditionally been used for Protection from Infection
Tulsi has traditionally been used for it’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties that include activity against many pathogens responsible for infections. When we have a fever, it’s proof that our bodies are fighting against an infection. Professor Marc Cohen of RMIT University in Melbourne published a 2014 paper that explored Tulsi’s effects. In the case of a cough and cold, Tulsi’s anti-microbial properties may help beat the infection causing the respiratory problem, as well as boosting defences against infectious threats by enhancing immune responses. Tulsi has also been shown effective even with severe fever-causing infections such as malaria and typhoid.
6. Tea As a Form of Self-Care
Have you ever noticed how therapeutic it is, simply to relax and enjoy drinking a cup of soothing herbal tea? As a preventative or restorative concoction, tea is a most practical and accessible form of medicine. The “ritual” of tea drinking is itself medicinal. Tea drinking, simple as it may be, is a sweet punctuation in our lives, a time to exhale, a time to reflect, a time for closures, beginnings and transitions, all to emerge
7. Tea is a Delicious Treat
While herbal therapies are often bitter tasting concoctions, Tulsi tea is a flavourful herbal tonic with a delightful aroma. The pleasant taste and aroma of Tulsi is attributed, at least in part, to its eugenol content, which also confers medicinal anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
When considering that the benefits of Tulsi come in a form that is extremely pleasant and easy to take, it seems a little wonder that Tulsi is worshipped as the most valued herb in India!
(1) Tulsi: A herb for all reasons; J Ayurveda Integr Med: p251–259 (Marc Cohen, 2014)
(2) The immunomodulatory effects of Tulsi: Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 136 (Mondal, Varma et al. 2011)
(3) Efficacy of an Extract of Ocimum tenuiflorum in the Management of General Stress: (Saxena & Singh, 2012)
(4) Infection Protection: (references 71-95), Tulsi: A herb for all reasons; J Ayurveda Integr Med: p251–259 (Marc Cohen, 2014)
(5) Detoxification (references 6-15), Tulsi: A herb for all reasons; J Ayurveda Integr Med: p251–259 (Marc Cohen, 2014)
(6) Effects of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) leaf extract on stress and cognition in healthy humans: (Dr Suneetha S & Dr Anjana Talwar, 2015). Controlled programmed trial of Ocimum sanctum leaf on generalised anxiety disorders (D. Bhattacharyya, T K Sur, U Jana and P K Debnath, 2008)
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