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The Garden Island – Holy Basil. Kauai Farmacy uses Tulsi in many of their blends.

April 13, 2014 • THEGARDENISLAND.COM

Doug and Genna Wolkon own and operate Kauai Farmacy, a quarter-acre herbal tea farm in Kilauea. Medicinal plants are grown and blended into teas, culinary herbs, extracts, and body care tea blends. Kauai Farmacy blends tulsi leaves into their House Blend, Wellness Blend, Children’s Wellness Blend, Mamaki Chai Blend, Garden Blend, Tropical Hibiscus Blend, Power Chai Blend, Energy Blend and Tranquility Blend.

What’s growing:

Allspice, aloe vera, ashwagandha, bergamot, breadfruit, calendula, cassava, cayenne pepper, chicory root, cinnamon, comfrey, curry leaf, daisy, edible hibiscus, gardenia, ginger (galangal), gotu kola, guava, Hawaiian chili pepper, hyssop, jalapeno, kefir lime, lavender, lemon, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, mamaki, marjoram (sweet), moringa, mint, mulberry, noni, orange, oregano (Italian, Greek, Cretian), passion fruit, loquat, pineapple sage, poha berry, Polynesian spinach, roselle, rosemary, sage, soursop, spilanthes, star fruit, stevia, sugarcane, summer savory, thyme, tulsi, tarragon, turmeric, valerian, yacon,

Tulsi

Ocimum tenuiflorum, also known as tulsi, is an aromatic plant, which is native to South Asia. Green-leaved Lakshmi tulsi and purple-leaved Krishna tulsi are commercially cultivated in India and Nepal.

Often referred to as holy basil, tulsi is a potent herb with spiritual and medicinal significance that has been used in India for thousands of years. According to Ayurveda, tulsi treats colds, coughs, and flu and promotes purity and lightness in the body, cleanses the respiratory tract and aids in digestion.

In Hindu mythology, the plant is an incarnation of the goddess tulsi, offering divine protection. Many Indian families keep a living tulsi plant in their homes – tending to it with great care and reverence. The plant’s woody stalks are often made into beads, which are used in meditation malas or rosaries.

Season: Tulsi, is an erect, much branched subshrub that grows year-round. The plant grows to about two-feet tall, with hairy stems and strongly scented leaves.

Tip:

Studies suggest that holy basil has a mild anti-fertility effect in animals. Although this effect hasn’t been demonstrated to occur in human beings, if you are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant, don’t take medicinal doses of this herb.

Health benefits:

Tulsi leaves offer a rich source of essential oil, containing eugenol, nerol, camphor, and a variety of terpenes and flavonoids. The oil is a strong antiseptic against bacteria, fungi, and parasites.

In Sanskrit, surasa (tulsi) is regarded as an “elixir of life” and believed to promote longevity. The herb is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing processes in the body, and is helpful for managing stress. A number of animal studies show that tulsi protects healthy cells from the toxicity of radiation and chemotherapy. Similar to antidepressant medications, tulsi appears to influence the neurochemistry of the brain.

Kauai Farmacy can be found at: The Garden Cafe, Small Town Coffee, Hukilau Lanai, Vim n’ Vigor, Living Foods Market & Cafe, Papaya’s Natural Foods & Cafe, Harvest Market, The Kauai Farmacy Tea Wagon. For more information, visit KauaiFarmacy.com or call 828-6525.

• Marta Lane, a food writer on Kauai since 2010, offers farm to fork food tours and is the author of Tasting Kauai: Restaurants – From Food Trucks to Fine Dining, A Guide to Eating Well on the Garden Island. For more information, visit  TastingKauai.com.

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