RNY Super Herbs & Spices: What is Tulsi?

Tulsi, do you know what it is? Our tea traders are back with the latest installment on Super Herbs & Spices to answer your question, what is tulsi?

With flu season around the corner, already popular functional ingredients and blends are sure to be flying off the shelves.  The global market for health-conscious beverages has surged in recent years. Many expect this trend to see significant growth in the future.  Superfood mixes, bottled ready to drink botanical blends, and kombucha are just a few of the beverages that are dominating this growing trend.

What is Tulsi?

Tusli, also known as holy basil, is a perennial plant native to India.  They revere it as a sacred herb of great significance in Hinduism and one of the most important plants in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine. 

Tulsi has an herbaceous and floral flavor profile.  Our current lot has an aroma of oregano, mint, and sweet citrus, though the notes can also be slightly spicy like pepper or clove.  Our organic offering is the Vana variety. Some also refer to this variety as clove basil or wild forest tulsi.

One of the reasons tulsi is used in Ayurvedic medicine is due to the presence of phytochemicals in the herb. If you’re not familiar, phytochemicals, also called phytonutrients, are the potentially helpful compounds that are found in plant foods. Eugenol, Rosmarinic acid, and Carvacrol are some of the phytochemicals present in tulsi, responsible for tulsi’s taste and potential benefits. 

Eugenol is sometimes called clove oil because of its high presence in cloves. Carvacrol is responsible for the distinct aroma of oregano and thyme. Many antimicrobial applications also use both Eugenol and Carvacrol.  It is common for Eugenol to be used in dentistry due to its analgesic and antibacterial properties.  It is also a natural insect repellant, which is why dried tulsi has historically been used in grain storage.  Rosmarinic acid, also found in rosemary, lemon balm, and mint, has shown promise as an anti-inflammatory supplement.

Our favorite ways to enjoy Tulsi

Tulsi is a delicious tisane for those who enjoy the taste of garden herbs.  Steep 3 grams per 12oz of 212F water for 5-10 minutes for a comforting and caffeine free drink.  Its herbaceous character makes it a great addition to herbal and green tea blends! 

At Royal Tea we also use it in our Organic Lemon Ginseng blend combined with other functional ingredients such as ginseng, green tea, and ginger.  This is the perfect blend for a health-conscious customer! 

Cranberry Tulsi Tonic

In the mood for a fruity mixed drink? Try out our Cranberry Tulsi Tonic, recipe below!

Royal Tea New York's specialty Tulsi tea brewed in a Cranberry Tulsi Tonic


6oz Cranberry Juice

Tulsi, 3 grams shop here

Ginger, 3 grams shop here

3oz Water

3oz Orange Sparkling water

Steep ginger and tulsi in 212F water for 5-10 minutes and set aside to cool.  In a glass of ice, combine the tea with cranberry juice and top with a citrus seltzer (I used nectarine!).  Garnish with lime.