I first grew tulsi about four years ago. I was intrigued by it’s medicinal properties as well as it’s beauty! Tulsi is the preeminent herb used in Ayurvedic Medicine and has been shown to be extremely beneficial for a range of conditions.
In researching tulsi, I found an article in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine about tulsi. It stated “…scientific research is now confirming [tulsi’s] beneficial effects. There is mounting evidence that tulsi can address physical, chemical, metabolic and psychological stress through a unique combination of pharmacological actions. Tulsi has been found to protect organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals, and physical stress from prolonged physical exertion, ischemia [reduced blood flow], physical restraint and exposure to cold and excessive noise. Tulsi has also been shown to counter metabolic stress through normalization of blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, and psychological stress through positive effects on memory and cognitive function and through its anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties. Tulsi’s broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, which includes activity against a range of human and animal pathogens, suggests it can be used as a hand sanitizer, mouthwash and water purifier as well as in animal rearing, wound healing, the preservation of food stuffs and herbal raw materials and traveler’s health” (J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014 Oct-Dec; 5(4): 251–259. doi: 10.4103/0975-9476.146554)
Tulsi can have a strong flavor and many teas are prepared with additional ingredients. One of the best ways I’ve found to introduce tulsi to others is through a cold infusion. This seems to bring out the sweet flavor of tulsi without being overpowering. To make a tulsi cold infusion, snip off a few tulsi branches and rinse them off. Remove all the leaves and the flower tops (if they’ve not gone to seed). Place those in a jar and cover with water (compost the rest). Keep in the refrigerator overnight and strain before serving.
In most parts of the United States of America, tulsi is grown as a self-seeding annual. That means it dies over the winter but if it had been allowed to go to seed in the late summer/ fall, those seeds are likely to grow the next summer.