Here’s what we’ll cover in this article.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an essential herb for longevity.
It has many unique properties required for a healthy life. In Ayurveda, it is called a rasayana. This means it rejuvenates the body and mind.
Ashwagandha has miraculous benefits on the nervous and endocrine systems. It brings the body, mind, and spirit into harmony. This is the best type of rejuvenation.
Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) is also known as Holy Basil. It promotes health throughout the entire body.
Tulsi has been found to protect the organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals. It also protects against physical stress from prolonged physical exertion, ischemia, physical restraint, exposure to cold and excessive noise.
Considered a potent adaptogen, tulsi has a unique combination of pharmacological actions that promote wellbeing and resilience.
Ashwagandha is an important herb for promoting strength.1 It is an excellent aphrodisiac (sukravardhaka) and rejuvenator (rasayana). It is useful in treating emaciation, under nutritive conditions, male sexual dysfunctions and loss of libido. It also alleviates swelling.2
Tulsi possesses an excellent property for pacifying Kapha dosha.
It is antimicrobial and is useful in the treatment of the common cold, asthma, chronic respiratory disorders, and cough.3 It is traditionally known as one of the top ten herbs for treating asthma.4
It is excellent in cases of throat infections, hiccups, nausea, anorexia, chest pain and skin diseases.5
Both ashwagandha and tulsi have similar Ayurvedic properties. They are both bitter and astringent in taste, light (as opposed to heavy) and have a hot potency.
Ashwagandha and tulsi both pacify Vata and Kapha dosha.6
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There is a very important principle in Ayurveda that demonstrates why Ashwagandha and Tulsi work well together.
An increase in the quality and quantity of a substance or activity in the body is dependent upon the use of similar substances or activities. By ‘similar’ we mean, having the same properties.7
Ashwagandha and tulsi have similar properties and both are considered excellent adaptogens. By following the above-mentioned logic, these herbs can be taken together.
Research also proves that ashwagandha and tulsi have similar pharmacological effects.
Both have anti-stress8, 9, adaptogenic10, 11, anti-inflammatory12, 13, antioxidant 14, 15, antimicrobial activity16, 17, analgesic18, 19, anti-pyretic20, 21, memory enhancing22, 23, hepatoprotective24, 25, antidiabetic26, 27, antihypertensive / cardioprotective28, 29, hypolipidemic30, 31, immunomodulatory32, 33 activities.
According to Ayurveda, Vata is the main dosha that is degraded by excessive physical stress.
Psychological stress like excitement and anxiety also leads to disequilibrium of Vata dosha.34
The combination of ashwagandhaand tulsi pacifies Vata. In combination, they are a better alternative for stress management then they are alone.
The Adrenal Glands
Modern research shows that stress and the adrenal glands are inextricably connected.
The adrenal glands produce cortisol, a stress hormone that is quicker to release than adrenaline. Keep a check on stress and cortisol levels to the extent that you can.
A constant release of cortisol chips away health drastically.
Ashwagandhais a calming herb. It restores balance in the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) and increases resistance to stress in the body.35
Ashwagandha root extract reduces levels of serum cortisol, which is elevated in stressful conditions.36
It also has neuroprotective properties, relaxes frayed nerves and tones the central nervous system to enhance tolerance to stress.37
The active constituent in Ashwagandha responsible for its anti-stress activity is the withanolides. They possess neuroprotective and anti-stress activity.
These extracts have been shown to increase the body’s resistance to stress and reduce physiological responses to stressful events.38
The anti-stress activity is also associated with glycosides (sitoindosides VII and VIII). These make ashwagandha an anti-stress adaptogen.39
Tulsi is regarded as an adaptogen or anti-stress agent as well. It’s used as a natural remedy for anxiety and stress.
Studies have shown that treatment with it is effective in treating noise-induced stress changes, including changes in cortisol levels.40
Tulsi has anti-hypoxic effects and it increases the survival time during anoxic stress. A study done on rabbits showed that Tulsi has a tremendous ability to reduce oxidative stress produced in the body.41
The active constituents in Tulsi are responsible for its anti-stress activity. Ursoli acid aids in lowering serum concentrations of cortisol which makes it effective in the management of stress.42
Servings: 2 cups
Take ashwagandha root powder (1/2 teaspoon) and tulsi leaf powder (1/4 teaspoon) in a ratio of 2:1 according to the desired number of cups of tea.
Pour two cups of cold water into a pot and cover it. Add the herbal powders and slowly bring to a boil.
Let simmer for 10 -15 minutes or until the water reduces to one third. Turn off the heat and let steep for another 10 minutes, then strain.
For sweetness, add sugar to taste.
This tea supports the adrenals.
Tulsi and ashwagandha are contraindicated if you have hypoglycemia, are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Talk to your doctor or health care provider before consuming herbal supplements.
Ashwagandha and tulsi being both adaptogens, have similar properties.
They are capable of increasing the body’s ability to resist and recover from fatigue, irritability, and stress, by balancing and reducing cortisol levels.
They both have the ability to enhance memory, learning and the ability to focus.
They can be taken together as they work synergistically in the body to achieve their therapeutic goals, supporting the health of the adrenal glands, balancing hormones and reducing stress.
Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before using either ashwagandhaand .
1. Kashinath Pandey, Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana chapter 4 verse 8, Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2005.
2. API 2001: The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India Part 1, Volume 2.
3. Ambikadutta Sashtri, Sushruta Samhita, Sutra sthana, chapter 38 verse 19. Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2006.
4. Kashinath Pandey, Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana chapter 4 verse 8-37, Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2005.
5. (Api VOL 2) API 2001: The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part 1, Volume 2.
6. API 2001: The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part 1, Volume 2.
7. Charaka Kashinath Pandey, Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana chapter 1 verse 44, Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2005.
8. Gajarmal Amit Ashok, A CLINICAL EVALUATION OF ANTISTRESS ACTIVITY OF ASHWAGANDHA (WITHANIA SOMNIFERA DUNAL) ON EMPLOYEES EXPERIENCING MENTAL STRESS AT WORKPLACE, Int. J. Ayur. Pharma Research, 2015;3(1):37-45.
9. Jothie Richard E, Anti-stress Activity of Ocimum sanctum: Possible Effects on Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis, Phytother Res. 2016 May;30(5):805-14. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5584. Epub 2016, Feb 22.
10. Bhattacharya SK, Adaptogenic activity of Withania somnifera: an experimental study using a rat model of chronic stress, Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Jun;75(3):547-55. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12895672
11. Bhargava KP, Singh N. Antistress activity of Ocimum sanctum Linn. Indian J Med Res 73: 1981, 443.
12. Dr. Kiran R Giri, Comparative study of anti-inflammatory activity of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) with hydrocortisone in experimental animals (Albino rats), Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies, Vol. 4, Issue 1, Part B (2016).
13. Mrutyunjay M Mirje, Evaluation of the anti-inflammatory activity of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) in albino rats, Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2014) 3(1): 198-205
14. Ahmed W, Antioxidant activity and apoptotic induction as mechanisms of action of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) against a hepatocellular carcinoma cell line, J Int Med Res. 2018 Apr;46(4):1358-1369. doi: 10.1177/0300060517752022. Epub 2018 Feb 2.
15. Eshrat Halim M. A. Hussai, Hypoglycaemic, hypolipidemic and antioxidant properties of tulsi (Ocimum sanctum linn) on streptozotocin induced diabetes in rats, Indian J Clin Biochem. 2001 Jul; 16(2): 190–194.doi: 10.1007/BF02864859,PMCID: PMC3453628.
16. Peter G. Mwitari, Antimicrobial Activity and Probable Mechanisms of Action of Medicinal Plants of Kenya: Withania somnifera, Warbugia ugandensis, Prunus africana and Plectrunthus barbatu, PLoS ONE 8(6): e65619. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0065619.
17. Geeta, Activity of Ocimum sanctum (the traditional Indian medicinal plant) against the enteric pathogens, Indian J Med Sci. 2001 Aug;55(8):434-8, 472.
18. Jyoti Kiran Bara, Phytochemical Study of the Plant Withania somnifera against Various Diseases, IOSR Journal of Agriculture and Veterinary Science (IOSR-JAVS) e-ISSN: 2319-2380, p-ISSN: 2319-2372. Volume 9, Issue 8 Ver. II (Aug. 2016), PP 109-112.
19. M. A. Hannan,ANALGESIC AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY EFFECTS OF OCIMUM SANCTUM (LINN) IN LABORATORY ANIMALS, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES AND RESEARCH, IJPSR Projected Impact Factor (2017): 0.59 , ICV (2015): 90.24
20. EvanPrince Sabina,Evaluation of analgesic, antipyretic and ulcerogenic effect of Withaferin A, International Journal of Integrative Biology,ISSN 0973-8363.
21. Pushpam M1,Effect of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) leaves on pyrexia, World Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences ISSN (Print): 2321-3310; ISSN (Online): 2321-3086.
22. Shwetha Shivamurthy,Evaluation of learning and memory enhancing activities of protein extract of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) in Wistar albino rats,ijbcp, 20160761.
23. Joshi H, Parle M. Cholinergic basis of memory improving effect of Ocimum tenuiflorum Linn. Indian J Pharm Sci 68(3):2006,364-365.
24. *EVAN PRINCE SABINA ,HEPATOPROTECTIVE AND ANTIOXIDANT POTENTIAL OF WITHANIA SOMNIFERA AGAINST PARACETAMOL-INDUCED LIVER DAMAGE IN RATS, International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences ISSN- 0975-1491 Vol 5, Suppl 2, 2013.
25. Kingshuk Lahon ,Hepatoprotective activity of Ocimum sanctum alcoholic leaf extract against paracetamol-induced liver damage in Albino rats Pharmacognosy Res. 2011 Jan-Mar; 3(1): 13–18.doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.79110,PMCID: PMC3119265.
26. Rajangam Udayakumar,Hypoglycaemic and Hypolipidaemic Effects of Withania somnifera Root and Leaf Extracts on Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Rats, nt J Mol Sci. 2009 May; 10(5): 2367–2382.Published online 2009 May 20. doi: 10.3390/ijms10052367,PMCID: PMC2695282,PMID: 19564954.
27. Ahmed SK, Evaluation of antidiabetic activity of ethanolic extract of Ocimum sanctum Linn. leaves in alloxan induced diabetic albino rats, The Pharma Innovation Journal 2017; 6(11): 115-119.
28. Shreesh Kumar OjhaWithania somnifera Dunal (Ashwagandha): A Promising Remedy for Cardiovascular Diseases, World Journal of Medical Sciences 4 (2): 156-158, 2009 ISSN 1817-3055 © IDOSI Publications, 2009.
29. Govind Pandey,PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES OF OCIMUM SANCTUM (TULSI): A REVIEW, Volume 5, Issue 1, November – December 2010; Article-009.
30. Rajangam Udayakumar,Hypoglycaemic and Hypolipidaemic Effects of Withania somnifera Root and Leaf Extracts on Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Rats, nt J Mol Sci. 2009 May; 10(5): 2367–2382.Published online 2009 May 20. doi: 10.3390/ijms10052367,PMCID: PMC2695282,PMID: 19564954.
31. Eshrat Halim M. A. Hussain,Hypoglycaemic, hypolipidemic and antioxidant properties of tulsi (Ocimum sanctum linn) on streptozotocin induced diabetes in rats, ndian J Clin Biochem. 2001 Jul; 16(2): 190–194.doi: 10.1007/BF02864859,PMCID: PMC3453628,PMID: 23105316.
32. Agarwal R, Studies on immunomodulatory activity of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) extracts in experimental immune inflammation. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999 Oct;67(1):27-35.
33. R.Caroline Jeba, Immunomodulatory activity of aqueous extract of Ocimum sanctum in rat, R. Caroline Jeba et. al. / International Journal on Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Research (IJPBR) Vol. 2(1), 2011, 33-38
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36. K. Chandrasekhar, Jyoti Kapoor, and Sridhar Anishetty, A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul-Sep;
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37. Bhattacharya SK, Bhattacharya A, Sairam K, Ghosal S. Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study. Phytomedicine, 7: 463-469 (2000).
38. Verma SK, Kumar A. Theraputic uses of Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha) with a note on withanoloids and its pharmacological actions. Asian J Pharma Clin Res. 2011;4(1):1–5.
39. Salil K., Bhattacharya & Raj K.Goel. Antistress activity of Sitoindosides VII & VIII, new Acylsterylglucosides from Withania somnifera. Phytotherapy Research, Vol. 1 No.1, 1987.
40. Sembulingam, K., Sembulingam, P., and Namasivayam, A. Effect of Ocimum sanctum Linn on noise induced changes in plasma corticosterone level. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1997;41(2):139-143.
41. Godhwani S, Godhwani JL, Vyas DS. Ocimum sanctum. A preliminary study evaluating its immunoregulatory profile in albino rats. J Ethnopharmacol 1988;24:193-8.
42. Edwin Jothie Richard et al, Anti‐stress Activity of Ocimum sanctum: Possible Effects on Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal Axis22 February 2016 https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.5584.
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