Holy Basil known in India as Tulsi is one of the most revered herbs medicines in Ayurveda.
So when I found out that Ontario farmer Stephen Hotchkiss just a short hop from where I was raised in Canada was growing this health-benefiting herb at THE NEW NEW AGE Herb Farm and Nature Sanctuary, I visited him a visit to learn more and have added this Tulsi (Holy Basil) Tea to the Chand & Radha shop.
Tell me a little more about your farm? My family has been in this area (the Otter River Valley) since the 1700s. I grew up on this farm, but had moved to Los Angeles for a while.
Why did you leave and then come back? My Dad was growing nursery trees when I was a kid. I didn't really have a connection to the farm that I was consciously aware of until I moved away to LA where I studied herbalism. I came back to the farm in 2014 to focus on regenerative farming.
What drew you to the healing benefits of plants? I was given acutane for acne. You had to get your liver levels tested and it really messed with my mental health. My Mom took me to a Chinese medicine doctor. That was my first introduction to natural health.
What did our ancestors eat? Our ancestors had such a diversity of plant nutrition that we don't have today. The herbs I grow have energy that you don't get from processed food. Holy Basil is one of the only annual crops we grow that aren't native to this area.
Why should someone use herbs for health? Herbs are part of our ancestor's natural relationship with the world.
How has Holy Basil benefited you? In Los Angeles I took a tincture for stress relief, anti-anxiety, hormone balancing and for focus.
Tell me about the Tulsi that we'll be selling on Chand & Radha It has a different energy. The flavour is lighter. A little sweeter. If applied topically, it can calm skin redness and inflammation. It's permaculturally grown without pesticides.
In India Tulsi is widely used. Why did you want to bring it to your farm? Tulsi is low maintenance to grow. I got my seeds from an Indian art historian friend in LA who apparently got them from an ashram around Calcutta. I had a little plant in my windowsill in LA and harvested the seeds. Holy Basil grows so well on my farm because this area is so hot and humid. We get about five or six harvests.
What other herbs do you use? Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic stress reliever and boosts testosterone in a gentle way. If I don't take it, I feel like a scatter brain. I even use the root in soup stocks.
We'll be selling a calming Tulsi tea grown naturally on Stephen's farm in the Chand & Radha shop!