|Posted on January 14, 2016 at 6:45 PM|
Tulis AKA Holy Basil AKA Ocimum sanctum
Plant Allies come to you over time from working with them, from growing them and from sitting quietly with them. A few new ones came to me this summer. Holy Basil or Tulsi as I like to call her is the one I am going to lament on today.
Tulsi is an annual and I have always had a plant or 2 each summer but it wasn’t until this summer that we spoke. She may have been trying to talk to me all along but I didn’t hear her. I don’t know why this summer was different, but this summer I heard her and fell in love with her sweetness.
In years past I would buy a plant or 2 from a local nursery and keep them by the side door which is the main entrance of our home for protection (a practice in India). Last spring anticipation of harvesting some for my own use I had bought a bunch of babies at Farmacy Herbs in Providence. I planted them in 3 long planters and 2 smaller round planters.
As a grower here is what I learnt from these two different planters. They like their space. The long planters though productive with almost daily pinching when they started to flower did not bush up like the smaller round planters that I had not crowded as much. Next year they will have their space!
Every plant has its “Actions” the why are we using it component. Actions of Tulsi: adaptogen, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antioxidant, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, herat tonic, immune-modulator, nervine, rejunvenative and lowers blood sugar levels. Wow a lot of actions for a small plant. Now is it the best choice for each of these actions? No and that is were working with it and learning more about making formulas come in to play. Practice your craft.
Here is how I “played” (practiced) with her this past year. First simply drying her was an experience. She’s a tough one. I would pair her with Calendula (picture below) both take their time drying and if was humid she could be in the dehydrator for DAYSSSS! But what a beautiful smell in the processing tent those days.
I have always been taught that Tulsi is a plant to help our Spirit, our Soul if you would so I had to make it into a flower essence. When mediating over the use of Tulsi as an essence it came upon me that this essence would aid the use with Nourishing the Spiritual Body. Don’t we all need our help Nourishing our Spiritual Self from time to time? for more on Flower Essence visit my Etsy Shop.
Dried Tulsi in a tea blend or alone is a no brainer as a great use. Tinctures or glycerin to help with focus (can we say ADHD?) are common use. Well sometimes you want something a little different. Me and my intern Lisa in our own ADHD moment came up with the idea of making it into an elixir with Lemonbalm. I think I was in the Lemonbalm garden at the time and she was harvesting Tulsi. So like mad scientists we took fresh Lemonbalm, Tulsi chopped them up covered with Brandy and added Honey. It was love at first sip.
I could go on and on how I love Tulsi but I will end with this. For an annual that I have never been able to grow from seed (might be a patience thing with me) she if TOUGH! We have these stone steps that lead to garden from the side door, all summer these “weeds” were going in the cracks. I didn’t know what they were (3 plants in total) at one point I thought Tomatoes. Finally they flowered. Lo and Behold TULSI!! The pots I had the year before must had sent some seeds down the stairs.