Tulsi, aka Sacred Basil, ocimum tenuiflorum has been used for thousands of years for medicine and as part of religious ceremonies in India. Of the three types of the tulsi, my favorite by far is "Kapoor Tulsi," with its bubblegum flavor and bright cheery presence.
It pungent quality is uplifting to the spirits and adrenal system, restoring energy and resiliency. Due to its tendency to promote focus and clarity, it makes a wonderful substitute for caffeinated beverages. I like to keep a bottle of Avena’s glycerite in my glove box, the perfect companion for long drives.
While dried teas, tinctures and other products are abundantly available, nothing beats tea made from the fresh plant. If you are lucky enough to have the plant growing in your garden, now is the time to harvest the flowering tops and upper leaves. You can substitute Italian basil in the following recipe with good results, but tulsi is best.
This recipe is refreshing and energizing during summer heat.
Tulsi Cucumber Limeade
1 handful of holy basil flowers and leaves
2 cups of water
1/4 cup honey
1 cucumber, peeled and chunked. Remove large seeds if desired
1 cup of pink watermelon, seeds removed, chunked
Mix basil and water and heat very slowly until water is hot to touch but not boiling. Stir in honey. Turn off and allow to steep 20 minutes. Cool completely.
Place all ingredients, except limes, in blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into glasses with ice, squeeze juice of one lime on top and garnish with a fresh wedge and tulsi leaves. Enjoy!