Everyone could use a little less stress. A "little"-- yeah right, I'm hilarious. A TON less would be great.
One of the top issues that my clients come to me with is stress and subsequent fatigue. Of course, diet, lifestyle and exercise are the key to a solid foundation in stress management, but I’m always on the lookout for natural remedies that we can use in our day-to-day lives that give our foundation a little cushion!
I’m a huge fan of adaptogens, which are substances (typically herbs) that help our body deal with stress, both physical and psychological. They’re like magic in the body, helping to maintain homeostasis (balance). If the body is running a little too high and frantic, adaptogens will work to slow it down; if the body is running sluggish and fatigued, they’ll be an energy boost that brings the body up! Magic!
Holy Basil to the Rescue
One of my favourite adaptogens is Holy Basil, or "Tulsi", a subshrub bush native to India. You can buy it in many forms: loose leaf tea, prepackaged tea bags, capsules, or tinctures.
I feel a huge difference when I have this tea during the day. It gives me a nice calm, warm feeling while at the same time does not make me tired (like some calming teas). I would describe it as a calm energy. Also, and this sounds strange, and corny, but it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside and can actually encourage me to be more social. (As a side note, there are teas such as yerbe mate teas that have been proven to help with social anxiety issues.)
The health benefits are many, so I’ll only highlight some.
Studies show holy basil helps maintain normal levels of cortisol in the body. (1)
Holy basil is high in magnesium, which helps dilate blood vessels and physically relax the body.
It contains antimicrobial properties, so it’s great for oral health as it helps prevent harmful bacteria.
It’s loaded with antioxidants, helping promote healthy skin and hair.
Studies have shown it’s wonderful for relieving headaches and migraines. My mom suffers from migraines, and has actually noticed a significant decrease in them since having 2 cups of Tulsi per day.
It supports liver function and promotes digestive health.
It supports the kidneys, as Tulsi is a natural diuretic promoting the excretion of uric acid from the body.
Tulsi has been shown to aid in epilepsy. In one study, Tulsi had the same effect on convulsions and seizures as that of phenytoin (anti-epileptic medicine). (2)
To prepare it, put roughly one and a half teaspoons of the loose-leaf in a filter (metal, or other) and let it steep in boiling water for however long you like. It won’t get bitter like green tea, and will just get sweeter with a longer steeping time. You can also buy tea bags already filled with Tulsi if you are averse to the idea of loose-leaf tea.
Enough reading. Go relax!