Ashwagandha on the left, Tulsi on the right. Both offer stress relief and numerous other health benefits.

Can Ashwagandha And Tulsi Be Taken Together?

Great question! You’re probably also asking, ‘Why do I feel so much stress at times?’ Let’s take a look at whether or not you can take Ashwagandha and Tulsi together for more powerful stress-busting results, and if it’s a safe and suitable option.

First let’s review Ashwagandha, the ‘King of Herbs’ and Tulsi, the ‘Queen of Herbs’.

READ MORE: Ashwagandha Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects And More, Tulsi (Holy Basil): Tulsi Benefits, Uses, Contraindications, How To Take Tulsi, Ashwagandha Anxiety Relief Remedy That Works

Ashwagandha And Tulsi

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, is an herb that is essential for longevity. It has many unique properties which a human body requires for a healthy life. It is called a Rasayana in Ayurveda , which means it’s an herb that rejuvenates the body and mind. This plant has miraculous benefits on the nervous and endocrine systems. It brings the body, mind and spirit into harmony, which leads to ultimate rejuvenation.

Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum ) is also known as Holy Basil. It’s an aromatic shrub. Its leaves have been used widely to promote health throughout the entire body. Tulsi has been found to protect organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals, as well as physical stress from prolonged physical exertion, ischemia, physical restraint and exposure to cold and excessive noise.

Considered a potent adaptogen, Tulsi has a unique combination of pharmacological actions that promote wellbeing and resilience.

READ MORE: Guduchi Powder, Benefits, Side Effects And More

The Ayurvedic Properties Of Ashwagandha And Tulsi

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an important herb for promoting strength (Balya). It’s included as one of the best ten herbs for building strength, which we call a tonic (Balya mahakashaya), in the ancient Ayurvedic text the Charak Samhita.1 In addition, it is an excellent aphrodisiac (Sukravardhaka) and rejuvenator (Rasayana). It is useful in treating emaciation, under nutritive conditions (kshayapaha), male sexual dysfunctions and loss of libido (klaibya). It also alleviates swelling (Sotha).2

Tulsi

According to another ancient Ayurvedic text, Sushruta Samhita, Tulsi possesses an excellent property for pacifying Kapha dosha. It is antimicrobial (krimighna), and is useful in the treatment of the common cold, asthma, chronic respiratory disorders and cough.3 Acharya (master teacher) Charaka has included it in the top ten herbs for treating asthma (Shwasahara Mahakashaya).4 Tulsi also works excellent in cases of throat infections, hiccups, nausea, anorexia, chest pain and skin diseases.5

Both Ashwagandha and Tulsi have similar Ayurvedic properties. Both are bitter and astringent in taste, light (as opposed to heavy) and have a hot potency. Ashwagandha and Tulsi both pacify Vata and Kapha dosha (vatakaphahara).6

READ MORE: Ayurvedic Aphrodisiacs For Sexual Health, Ayurveda On Sex: Health Benefits, Seasonal Sex, Post-Sex Regimen + Ayurvedic Aphrodisiacs

Why Ashwagandha And Tulsi Are Perfect Partners

There is a very important principle that the ancient Ayurvedic physician Charaka mentions in his text.

‘Sarvada sarva bhavanam samanyam vriddhi karanam’ means that an increase in the quality and quantity of a substance or an activity in the body is dependent upon the use of similar substances or activities. And by similar we mean, having the same properties.7

You can see that Ashwagandha and Tulsi have similar properties and both are considered excellent adaptogens. So, by following the above mentioned logic they can be taken together.

Research proves that Ashwagandha and Tulsi have various similar pharmacological affects.

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.

READ MORE: 29 Marma Points For Pain Relief, The Best Foods For Diabetics, According To Ayurveda, How Golden Milk Benefits Memory

Both Bust Stress

According to Ayurveda, Vata is the main dosha vitiated by excessive physical stress. Psychological stress, like excitement (udvega), anxiety (soka) also leads to disequilibrium of Vata dosa.34 The combination of Ashwagandha and Tulsi pacifies Vata. In combination, they are a better alternative for stress management.

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 the more physically noticeable stress hormones like adrenaline. It is better to keep a check on stress and cortisol levels to the
extent that you can as a constant release of cortisol chips away health drastically.

Ashwagandha is a calming herb that restores balance in the HPA 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 are called withanolides. They are the major biologically active constituents of Ashwagandha which possess neuroprotection and anti-stress activity. These extracts have been shown to increase the body’s resistance to stress and reduce physiological responses to stress events.38 Its anti-stress activity is also associated with glycosides (sitoindosides VII and VIII) present in this plant which makes Ashwagandha an anti-stress adaptogen.39

READ MORE: 5 Yummy Health Foods For Stress & Anxiety, Ashwagandha Anxiety Relief Remedy That Works

Tulsi is regarded as adaptogenic (anti-stress agents) and has been used widely to promote health throughout the entire body. It’s used as a natural remedy for anxiety and stress. It has an anti-peroxidative effect, suggesting a potential regulation of corticosteroid-induced diabetes. Studies have shown that treatment with it is effective in treating noise-induced stress changes, including changes in cortisol levels.40 Tulsi has antihypoxic 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 present in Tulsi aids in lowering serum concentrations of cortisol, thereby effective in the management of stress.42

Thus, we can see Ashwagandha and Tulsi being both adaptogens, have similar properties and are capable of increasing the body’s ability to resist and recover from fatigue, irritability and stress naturally, by balancing and reducing cortisol levels.

Moreover, they both have the ability to enhance memory and learning thereby helping a person to improve his or her memory and the ability to focus. Ashwagandha and Tulsi can prove to be a powerful combination. They can be taken together as they work synergistically on the body to achieve their therapeutic goals, supporting the health of the adrenal glands, balancing hormones and reducing stress.

READ MORE: How Ashwagandha Helps PCOS, How Ashwagandha Helps Hypothyroidism, Ashwagandha Thyroid Benefits: Everything You Need To Know

Ashwagandha Tulsi Herbal Tea

Take Ashwagandha root powder and Tulsi leaf powder 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 required mixture of herbs and slowly bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 10 -15 minutes or until the water reduces to one third. Let it steep for another 10 minutes and then sieve.

For sweetness you can add sugar to taste. This tasty and healthy tea supports the adrenals.

READ MORE: 21 Ways To Take Ashwagandha (Ashwagandha Remedies + Recipes)

Contraindications

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.

References
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 WORK PLACE, 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.
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
34. (C.Ni. 1/22)
35. 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.
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;
34(3): 255–262.doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022.
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.

mm
Mallika Varma, holds a bachelor’s degree, B.A.M.S. from State  Ayurvedic college and Hospital, Lucknow and a postgraduate degree M.S. in Kshara Sutra Avum Anushastra Karma from Sri Venkateswara Ayurvedic College, Tirupathi. She brings more than 7 years of experience in the field of Ayurveda.  She is specialized in Ayurvedic general surgery, parasurgical procedures (Kshara Jalauka, Siravedhyan, Agni Karma) and in the treatment of anorectal disorders. She is also experienced in the treatment of gastro, respiratory, genitourinary, skin and lifestyle disorders through natural herbal medicine, Yoga and Panchkarma. She has participated in many national and international seminars in the field of Ayurveda and has also presented best awarded papers on Ayurveda.

Comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.