Many tea lovers turn to tisanes, also known as herbal teas or “infusions,” when they want to avoid caffeine. While there is no dearth of herbal options on retailer’s shelves, one name that you might see more often is “tulsi,” also known as “holy basil.” Tulsi is an herb native to India, used in both cooking as well as in ayurvedic medicine. Unlike the basil that many Americans are most familiar with, ocimum basilicum or “sweet basil,” tulsi’s flavor is more reminiscent of clove than anise. When infused as a tisane, tulsi’s flavor is at once spicy, pungent, and sweet.

In traditional medicine, tulsi is considered to be an “adaptogen”: An herb that helps the body adapt to stress as needed. For many people, tulsi can be a fine beverage to help them unwind after a long day, but it can also steady the nerves as an all-day sipper. The sweetness of the tulsi can also calm sweet cravings, particularly if blended with other sweet or fruity flavors. As always, consumers of tulsi or any other herb should be aware of the possibility of allergic reactions or drug interactions, and should always talk to a medical professional about any health concerns before treating them with herbal remedies.

Stash Organic Lavender Tulsi - 18 Teabags

Stash Organic Lavender Tulsi

While tulsi is a great herb for tea or tisane blending, it can also be sipped on its own, without the addition of other teas and herbs. It brews up to a rich, spicy hot drink that doesn’t need any honey or other sweetener, though its strong flavor may take getting used to: If you don’t like clove, you may want to have some tulsi in a blend before trying it as a solo infusion.  In the summertime, have some on ice: It’s incredibly refreshing. Want to try it? The English Tea Store sells two tisanes from Stash that contain holy basil: The first is Stash Organic Lavender Tulsi and the second is Stash’s Mellow Moments. Both come in Stash’s nifty individually sealed teabag pouches, convenient for on-the-go sipping.

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