Yoga in a cup: Calming and cancer-fighting

I love yoga. It keeps my body active and my mind calm.

But I know yoga isn’t for everybody. Just like you’ll never see me in a heart-pounding crossfit or bootcamp class, some people have no desire to ever set foot in a yoga studio.

And that’s okay. In fact, you can experience many of the same benefits of yoga without ever doing a downward dog…

There’s an ancient Indian herbal tea that’s earned the nickname liquid yoga. When you drink this tea on a regular basis, it’s like a daily yoga practice. You’ll begin to notice subtle improvements in your mental well-being, like:

  • Feeling calmer and more relaxed
  • Increased mental clarity
  • Better memory and cognition
  • Less anxiety and depression

This mind-taming herbal tea is tulsi tea. And its active herb, tulsi, is an adaptogenic herb. That means it helps the body adapt to stress… just like yoga.

But yoga and tulsi have more than just mental benefits. They have physical benefits too. And the physical benefits of tulsi are pretty astounding. Scientific studies have documented tulsi’s ability to:

  • Fight off fungus, bacteria and viruses
  • Repel mosquitos
  • Expel bodily toxins, including heavy metals and environmental chemicals
  • Reduce inflammation as effectively as anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Balance your blood sugar, cholesterol and metabolism

These healthful properties make tulsi an effective form of prevention to ward off chronic diseases, including diabetes, allergies, heart disease, arthritis and thyroid disease.

And then there’s tulsi’s effect on cancer…

Scientific studies have shown that tulsi and some of its phytochemicals can help prevent skin, liver, oral and lung cancers. And on top of all that, tulsi helps protect healthy tissues during radiation too.

In India, tulsi has been revered as a holy herb for thousands of years. And with all of these amazing health benefits, it’s easy to see why. Indians also believe tulsi herbal tea has spiritual benefits that connect you to the divine and to nature. So it truly is a mind, body, spirit approach to health… just like yoga

So it’s okay if yoga isn’t your cup of tea. But if it’s not, you may want to try tulsi instead. Tulsi tea is available in most health food stores or online. For maximum health benefits, Ayurvedic experts recommend you drink three to five cups per day. But even just one cup will do your mind and body a world of good.

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  1. M. Cohen. “Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons.” Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. 2014 Oct-Dec; 5(4): 251–259.
  2. S. Baliga, R. Jimmy, K. Thilakchand, V. Sunitha, et al. “Ocimum sanctum L (Holy Basil or Tulsi) and its phytochemicals in the prevention and treatment of cancer.” Nutrition and Cancer. 2013;65 Supplement 1:26-35.
  3. “Ayurvedic Tulsi tea.” Ayurvedic Medicine. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and