Have you ever tried drinking Tulsi tea? Well let me tell you, it is absolutely awesome! Tulsi is one of my favorite teas, along with Taaza and Japanese Green. Tulsi has a sweet taste to it that I would visually describe as “pink” like fruit taste that dances on my tongue. Tulsi tea reminds me of Ginger tea, not by Ginger’s spiciness, but by its earthy-citrus taste that I experience when the Ginger tea touches the tip of my tongue as I sip. Tulsi has an extremely mild taste of Cloves that you could miss it, and the overall floral taste of Tulsi is emphasized when a touch of honey is added to the tea.
I initially looked into making Tulsi Tea because I was looking for substances that could act as cognitive enhancers to improve my workflow. Although a clean cup of strong coffee still ranks in first place in my experience, Tulsi is none-thee-less valuable for it’s soothing nature and medicinal benefit. I have found many sources have dubbed Tulsi as a potential Adaptogen. Adaptogen is what it sounds like; a substance that strengthens the body’s resistance against the stressors that we encounter in everyday life. That also means that adaptogens help a person experience less fatigue in the long run by improve the body’s overall health, function, & energy levels. What Tulsi does specifically is improve memory, attention, and REM sleep.
Knowing that Tulsi had so many benefits, I thought to myself, What would be the best way to acquire Tulsi Tea? Given that I am running on a very limited budget, the best way for me was to spend the least money. I figured that meant growing the Tulsi plant itself. Otherwise if I had an expendable income, I would have bought the tea leaves directly in bulk in exchange for the time it took to grow the plant & harvest it. Although teabags are convenient, I try to stay away from using teabags because convenience sacrifices the quantity of tea leaves per dollar that you pay.
I started by purchasing a bunch of Tulsi seeds and planting them. The first year the plants were so very small and I couldn’t harvest a substantial amount of leaves to make tea out of. Instead, when the winter season started coming in, I gathered the seeding tops and distributed them over many pots. I also added a significant amount of rich soil and composts.
By the second year in the Spring, the Tulsi seedlings started coming up by the hundreds. The best pot with the most growth had an mix of compost and bad clayish soil. I attribute the vigorous growth to the high quality compost.
So when the right conditions are met, Tulsi grows beautifully like mint, by the fact that it grows with the speed of a weed and its spicy-sweet fragrance is released whenever you brush against the leaves while walking by the plant.
When I started harvesting the leaves off the Tulsi plant, I found out that it was best to cut the leaves, not a whole branch or top of the plant. You want to keep branching structure intact so that the plant can grows more leaves in the future. But if you cut of a whole piece or by the branch, then the Tulsi plant has to expend a lot of energy to regrow the branching structure and the newly budding leaves won’t have a chance to fully grow. We want to only harvest the fully matured leaves.
I also learned that the best time to harvest the Tulsi leaves is during the morning or at night. When the Sun is at its zenith, all the delicious essential oils from the leaves of the Tulsi plant evaporate due to the sun’s heat.
So once I have procured the leaves, I use this simple recipe I developed for making Tulsi Tea:
- Tulsi leaves
- Ginger slices
- Green Tea – Special Gunpowder EDIT: Although I like Sencha better.
- Honey – Y.S. Raw Honey
And I added varying amounts of each ingredient, depending on the flavor that I wanted for that beverage. Tulsi is obviously the main ingredient, but you’ve got to be careful not too add to little; otherwise the other ingredients end up masking Tulsi’s delicate flavor. So far, I love the combination of Tulsi and Ginger because neither flavor masks the other and makes a simple tea suddenly much more complex and interesting in its taste. As I’ve mentioned before, Ginger imparts a spicy-earth flavor; whereas Tulsi contributes a spicy-sweet clove-esque flavor. And both of those flavors are nicely emphasized with a touch of honey. As for green tea, I try to stick with the ones that impart a subtle flavor; not a bold flavor like Orange Pekoe (technically not “green”) because at that point too many flavors clash and you can’t tell what your tasting.
Note that when steeping Ginger to make tea, it is best to cut the root as thinly as possible to extract the most flavor. Also know that I like to add Ginger to my tea because it is a potent herb that lifts mind fog through it’s anti-inflammatory property and by increasing blood flow to the brain by it’s blood thinning property. In my experience, using a small amount of Ginger is good for boosting metabolism or the heat that my body produces naturally.
I also take honey & a slice of Ginger all by itself when I feel the onset of a cold or fever; in my experience it helps me quickly recover and even prevent those sicknesses from setting in.
I like to directly make my tea in a thermos so that I can reduce the number of steps required to make the beverage. I like to keep the ingredients like Tulsi leaves and Ginger slices in the thermos for increased extraction time. But I don’t like to keep Green Tea steeping too long; you get a bitter taste if you over brew Green Tea, not to mention too much fluoride released into your drink. That’s why I like to use a tea ball filled a quarter way up to allow enough room for the tea leaves to unfurl, and dunk it into the hot water for 2-3 minutes. EDIT: I like to over-steep Sencha ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°); its just tastes so good!
After 5 minutes of total brew time, your tea is ready to drink!