Tulsi Tea - Travelers First Aid in a Teacup

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5 Ways Tulsi Serves Travelers First Aid in a Teacup

Do you enjoy the anticipation of travel, and yet seek ways to reduce the stress and anxiety that inevitably accompanies the journey? Are you concerned about the physical demands on your body, and the unavoidable exposure to a wide range of contagious diseases and toxins?

Here’s a simple herbal remedy that can address most stress and travel-related ills – as easily as enjoying a soothing cup of tea!

How are we affected by air travel?

Modern air travel has opened the world to a range of new business, leisure and living options. Yet, travelling in a pressurized metal cabin 10km above sea level can have its drawbacks.

Despite all efforts by the industry to make flying as comfortable as possible, travelers are unavoidably subject to a wide range of physical, mental and emotional stressors from the time they leave home until arriving at their desired destination. No wonder travelers often arrive at this destination feeling worse off than when they started!

A review of the hundreds of scientific studies of Ocimum sanctum, commonly known as Tulsi, or Holy Basil, reveals that Tulsi is the ideal solution for many travel-related challenges. Science supports the ancient wisdom behind Tulsi and suggests that Tusi is an essential travel companion.

1. Tulsi is a Powerful Stress Adaptogen

Adaptogens are agents that help the body cope with stress, enhance physical and mental health, and promote longevity. Adaptogens are therefore primarily used to improve defences and increase resistance to a broad spectrum of harmful physical, chemical and biological stressors.

As the pre-eminent adaptogen, Tulsi has a unique combination of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and other actions that combine to help the body and mind adapt and cope with a wide range of physical, emotional, chemical and infectious stresses.

Tulsi’s unique pharmacological activity particularly helps address many issues faced by modern air travelers such as infection, fatigue, thrombosis, anxiety and dealing with restraint, noise, hypoxia, (from oxygen reduction), radiation, industrial chemicals and poor sleep.

The beneficial effects of Tulsi have been demonstrated in numerous animal experiments and human trials have shown that Tulsi can improve general anxiety and stress scores, relieve symptoms such as forgetfulness and feelings of exhaustion and assist with sexual and sleep problems.

2. Tulsi Protects Against Ionizing Radiation

Despite being pressurized, an aircraft flying at cruising altitude has cabin air with approximately 20-25% less oxygen than at sea level. At a height of around 10km, aircraft are also less protected from cosmic radiation by the earth’s atmosphere with even greater radiation exposure occurring on flight paths further away from the equator.

Ionising radiation causes harmful biological effects by directly damaging living tissues, cells and disrupting molecules such as DNA, yet Tulsi has been shown in multiple experiments to protect against such damage. Tulsi has also been shown to protect against radioactive iodine; a significant contributor to the health hazards from nuclear accidents as well as a range of environmental chemicals and other toxins.

3. Tulsi Helps Detoxify and Protect Your Body from Environmental Chemicals

Numerous experimental studies have shown that Tulsi confers protective effects against a wide range of toxic insults due to its antioxidant capacity and ability to elevate the activity of phase I and II detoxification enzymes.

Tulsi has been shown to protect the liver against toxic insults from a range of pesticides, pharmaceuticals, poisons and heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium.

Tulsi plants have also been shown to detoxify the environment and reduce air pollution. This has led to thousands of Tulsi plants being planted around the Taj Mahal in Agra to help protect the iconic marble building from environmental pollution damage. 

4. Tulsi Supports Healthy Immune Function

The Centre for Disease Control in the US currently list over 60 infectious diseases related to travel. ( Travelers are more prone to infections due to greater exposure to different pathogens and the immune suppressant effects of travel stress. Yet, recent research suggests that Tulsi may support the human immune system to fight off infections while at the same time suppressing many bugs.

5. Tulsi Helps Freshen Your Body, Mind - and Breath!

As a mouthwash, Tulsi tea can treat bad breath, mouth ulcers and prevent dental plaque. Thus, it appears that travelers may benefit from swishing and gargling their Tulsi tea before swallowing it.   

Tulsi is Pleasant Tasting Treatment in a Teacup

While herbal therapies are often bitter tasting concoctions, Tulsi tea is a flavourful, caffeine-free, herbal tonic that is a treat served either hot or cold. The pleasant taste and aroma of Tulsi is attributed, at least in part, to its eugenol content, which also confers medicinal anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties confer a host of beneficial protective effects and when taken on a regular basis, Tulsi serves as a preventative treatment for a wide range of conditions.

When considering that the potential health benefits of Tulsi come in a form that is extremely pleasant and easy to take, it seems a little wonder that Tulsi is worshipped as the most valued herb in India. 

Now that science has begun to unravel some of its mystery, it seems likely that Tulsi will start traveling the globe as the first aid discerning travelers can take – before they get sick.

So next time you are traveling, make sure you pack your Tulsi tea bags!

This article and research summary are prepared by Professor Marc Cohen, co-author of Herbs & Natural Supplements: An Evidence Based Guide, and Professor of Health Sciences at RMIT University. Research references can be found here:


 How to Use Tulsi

  • Consider incorporating Tulsi into your daily regime especially if you are going to be travelling.
  • Keep some Tulsi tea bags in your carry-on, and ask for hot water whenever tea service is offered.
  • Recommended every 4-6 hours while travelling.
  • Start the day before, until the day after.
  • You can also take organic Tulsi capsules:
  • Up to 1 gram per day of whole dried herbs as a preventative measure.
  • Up to 2 grams per day if you are already feeling unwell.
  • The usual recommended dosage is 1 - 2 x 300mg Tulsi capsules twice a day with food and water, or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.

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