I absolutely love iced coffees, but sometimes it’s nice to have a cold drink that’s not so caffeinated. My sister Dominique tuned me in to Tulsi, which has a nice earthy body to it and holds its own as an iced drink.
It turns out that the Tulsi herb (also known as Holy Basil) is also pretty good for you. It’s a principal herb of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian holistic practice of healing and wellness. This herb is deeply rooted in Indian culture and is found in many Indian households.
Tulsi is a good source of magnesium, which is an important mineral for heart health. Magnesium has been shown in a few studies to help with blood vessel functions and to reduce one’s likelihood of developing coronary heart disease. Tulsi is also known as a stress fighter since it could help your body to maintain normal level of cortisol (i.e. the stress hormone) and could lower inflammation in your body with eugenol and linoleic acid.
The herb is loaded with antioxidants too. Antioxidants help to counteract some of those free radicals that contribute to aged skin, and might help to keep your skin looking younger. If you want to try out a Tulsi skincare product, Apoterra has a Tulsi Rejuvenating Oil with Lavender + Evening Primrose.
ICED TULSI CHAI TEA LATTE
Makes 1 cup of iced tea
1 piece ginger about the size of a thumb
3 cardamom pods
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 cup fresh Tulsi leaves (compressed firmly when measured), or 3 teabags dried Tulsi (about 1.5 tablespoons)
Raw sugar, honey, or other sweetener to taste
Your choice of milk (half and half, milk, coconut milk, almond milk, etc)
A pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Peel the ginger and roughly cut it into slices. Crush the cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle or using the bottom of a glass on a cutting board.
In medium saucepan, add the water, ginger, cardamom, fennel seeds, cloves, and Tulsi.
Bring the water to a boil on high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add raw sugar, honey, or other sweetener to taste. Strain the tea (you could use a fine mesh strainer over a cup or a French press) and let cool. Fill a cup with ice, add tea, add however much milk you’d like, and stir. You can add nutmeg on top too if you’re feeling fancy.
photos/written by Genevieve Caron, MPH