Holy Basil Batman!!!!
Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi or Sacred Basil has been cultivated and used medicinally for several thousand years in India. Unlike most types of basil, this basil is not a culinary herb but a medicinal herb. All parts of the plant can be used, but the most commonly used part is the leaf for tea. Tea can be made from fresh or dried leaves. Tulsi has been used to treat bronchitis, bronchial asthma, skin diseases, malaria, insect bites, arthritis, chronic fever, eye diseases, dysentery, acne, headaches, kidney stones, diabetes, cancer, and hormonal imbalances. It improves your immune system and promotes healthy digestion. It is a very good source of Vitamin K. It is also an adaptogenic herb, which means it helps protect your body from the toxic effects of stress. This is my favorite property of the herb, because I am always stressed and I think of it as my anti-stress tea. I love to make this tea when I come home from work and need to take a moment to just pause and process my day.
Tulsi Basil is a beautiful plant and is easy to grow. The process for harvesting and drying the leaves is simple and fast.
When the plant is mature and producing an abundance of leaves, it can be sheared back to the base - just shy of leaving a few branches if you want to let the plant regrow for a continual harvest.
I have a dehydrator, but I find it easier to just lay the leaves out on a table or the kitchen counter to dry naturally. In about 3 days, they are dry and ready to make into tea.
Since the flowers are edible too, I dry everything - stripping the leaves and the flowers from the stalks when I'm satisfied the drying process is complete. Flowers equate to seed pods. I shake those free and store them for my next planting.
Dried leaves can be stored in a simple container, like a mason jar. In my opinion, Tulsi tea doesn't need a sweetener or any other flavor, but I have paired it with lemongrass and dried mint leaves. Enjoy! - Leigh Ann