The most common herbs and plants used for smudging blessings are sage, cedar, sweetgrass and lavender. Are there other plants that have been used for smudging, blessings, and prayers? Check out Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil.
Tulsi – Holy Basil
Holy basil (tulsi) has been used both for purification and calming.
Tulsi originates in India, where it is thought to be sacred to the goddess Lakshmi. Tulsi means “matchless”, or “the incomparable one”. It has been placed on alters, and used during morning prayer for family well-being, cleansing of the soul, and general well-being.
Like so many of my own favorite herbs, such as lemon balm, Tulsi is in the mint family. When I discovered this, it was of no surprise. Mint is known the world over for its fragrance, taste, but also holds great healing properties.
Holy basil for health
The research and use of holy basil as a medicinal herb is extensive! Research shows that holy basil helps to lower high blood pressure. It is also thought to protect the heart from stress. Here are just a few of the health benefits that have been under medical research:
- improving mood and spirit, depression caused by stress
- anti-inflammatory properties
- anti-cancer and anti-oxidative
- promoting eye health
- stabilizing blood pressure
- improving endocrine system
- cardiovascular wellness
Can holy basil be consumed?
Yes, you can consume holy basil, within moderation. Holy basil elevates mood, lifting spirit both energetically and in the vital spirit aka heart.
Can you grow holy basil?
Yes you can grow holy basil, given the right conditions. Holy basil will not tolerate cold, or even cool weather. It prefers 65-75 degree conditions. Seeds can be obtained and started indoors, and perhaps grown as an annual much like other varieties of basil are grown, or you can grow as a house plant in a sunny window.
You can cut branches and dry them to make a smudging wand, tying the bundle together with cotton thread. Loose dried leaves can also be used in a smudging bowl. For purposes of a healing tea you should pick the leaves before the plant flowers so that you get the maximum energy from the leaves. You do not need to harvest the whole plant, harvesting a little at a time. You can also “deadhead”, snipping off the flowers before they can mature, to extend the life of the plant.
Here’s a link for purchasing holy basil – organic, non GMO, from a dedicated seller: All Good Things Organic Seeds Holy Basil Tulsi Seed Collection: (Three Packets/~200 seeds/packet). Why a three pack? You can keep one, freeze one for future use (seeds are typically good for about 3 years), and share one with a friend.
Considering that Tulsi (holy basil) can be used both for smudging as well as consumed as a tea, my preference is to buy bulk loose leaf. My choice is certified organic. The leaves are grown in India, intended to support the local farmers. This is the brand I purchased: Pride Of India – Organic Tulsi Holy-Basil Herbal Tea, Half Pound Whole Leaf.
Given this option, you are using loose leaf, as opposed to a tightly bound smudging wand. You will need a bowl, such as a shell or other fireproof bowl that will not transfer heat. You’ll also want a feather for fanning. Check out this option: NEW Soapstone Scrying and Smudge Bowl (Scrying – Bowls & Mirrors). As for your feather, choose a legally obtained feather. Eagle feathers and other birds of prey are not legal feathers to keep. Turkey feathers work well, either a single feather or several feathers banded together as a feather fan. I purchase feathers instead of collecting myself since the feathers need to be sterilized without harming the feather. Here’s an example: Smudging Feather Blessed for White Sage Smudge and Ceremonies
You can use holy basil for smudging by itself, or following a cleansing with White Sage. I consider it to be similar to the use of sweetgrass, kind of a “this is what I really want” attitude to attract positive energy and bring health and happiness.
Consider the energy of the goddess Lakshmi. She is known as the goddess of abundance and prosperity. Lakshmi is also a dedicated spiritual teacher and healer, aiding me many times over during cleansing and release sessions.
Lakshmi’s message for perspective on your own smudging sessions using holy basil is to first heal your heart of any pain that causes deficiency, so that you will have a healthy vessel to contain your blessings. This makes a whole lot of sense: try holding your bounty in a basket that is tattered and full of holds, it just doesn’t work.
You can use holy basil, aka tulsi, as your primary herb for a smudging blessing. Why not incorporate a blessing for yourself as well, having a soothing cup of holy basil tea? You can drink this tea with intent, offering a prayer that is both a request and a statement of gratitude. Enjoy your sweet basil blessing!