February 26, 2021 2 min read
A quick read on the beauty of Tulsi, by the epic Herbalist, Lily Canetty-Clarke
Tulsi is known as a rasayana in India meaning rejuvenator and is also a sacred plant, which is where its common name Holy Basil comes from. It is uplifiting to the mind and body so not only benefits foggy slow lethargic minds but also anxious, depressed or stressed ones too. It is classified as an adaptogen in western herbal medicine, which is a class of herbs that increase the bodies resilience towards stress.
In a world where it is near impossible to avoid stress, it is even more important for our bodies to be prepared. Historically humans lived largely in the para-sympathetic nervous system state (rest and digest) and an occasional visit from a sabre-toothed tiger prompted a spike in the sympathetic nervous system that was quickly dissipated by the actions of fight or flight which helped the body release the cortisol and return to a rest and digest mode. Today, not only can we become stressed by far less life-threatening scenes like blue light from screens, pollution and social media, these also occur much more frequently and are often rarely dissipated by a fight of flight type response and instead a sedentary build-up of cortisol occurs. This often means our bodies are trying to sustain chronically high levels of cortisol, which is an assault on the nervous system. This leads to suppressed immune systems, reduced sleep, increased blood sugar levels and a plethora of other delirious outcomes for your health.
Adaptogens like Tulsi seem to increase the bodies threshold of resistance to damage. The restorative quality of these herbs is a unique feature of herbal medicine unlike any in the pharmaceutical cabinet.
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