Tulsi Tea

What is Tulsi?
Tulsi is a type of basil plant of which there are three varieties (purple, green, and mixed color). Especially valued in India for its spiritual significance, it is also commonly referred to as “holy basil.” Tulsi is a sacred herb in many cultures, especially in India, where it is prayed to and used in religious ceremonies. It is also revered for its health giving properties and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Like many other herbs, the leaves of the Tulsi plant can be dried and used to make a mild tasting, delicious, and relaxing/rejuvenating tea.

What does Tulsi taste like?
Tulsi has a delicate yet invigorating flavor that is subtly minty, somewhat buttery, and mildly floral with a natural sweetness. The tea is appealing both hot and cold, and is complex enough to pair well with a variety of foods.

What is different about Davidson’s Tulsi Tea?
No other tea company can boast Davidson’s stringent quality controls or careful sourcing practices. The company provides the Tulsi seeds to farmers in India, who grow Tulsi on the company’s own biodynamic garden (see below for more detail). In addition to paying Fair Trade premiums, Davidson’s donates 10% of the proceeds from Tulsi to a fund that pays for projects that benefit the farmers who grow Tulsi.

Where is Davidson’s Tulsi grown?
Davidson’s Tulsi Tea is grown in India in Davidson’s Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified, biodynamic Putharjhora tea gardens. The same workers who tend Davidson’s traditional tea varieties also take care of the Tulsi plants. The gardens are situated on the warm humid plains of DOOARS (which literally means doors)—a fitting name because this area is the gateway to Bhutan, Sikkim, and Assam in the state of West Bengal. Virgin evergreen forests, the Darjeeling hills and a pristine mountain river surround the 100-year old gardens.

Under what agricultural principles is Davidson’s Tulsi grown?
Davidson’s Tulsi Tea is Certified Organic by NDA and Fair Trade Certified by Fair Trade USA (formerly TransFair USA). All the crops grown in the Putharjhora gardens are grown according to biodynamic principals, an agricultural practice that goes beyond chemical free agriculture to work with the forces of nature. Biodynamic agriculture treats the garden as a holistic ecosystem by paying special attention to the health of the soil, planting and harvesting at the proper times, and controlling pests through natural methods.

Who grows Tulsi?
The Nepali and Adhibasi farmer/workers who tend the tea on Putharjhora receive extra income from the harvest of Tulsi, as well as additional Fair Trade premiums. The premiums are used for programs and infrastructure improvements that increase the entire community’s standard of living. The addition of Tulsi to the gardens has also provided additional work for unemployed people in the region. Davidson’s provides the seeds and saplings for the Tulsi crop, the training to care for them, and guarantees buy back of the resulting crops.

How is Tulsi grown and processed?
As an annual plant, the Tulsi seeds are planted in the nursery in March and April and then transplanted to the field. The leaves of the plant are hand-harvested from July-October until the plants begin to flower in November. The leaves are slowly air dried to preserve their natural oils and then spread out in the sun to ensure they are completely dried. The leaves are then transported to Davidson’s blending and packaging facilities, where they are used to make the six varieties of Tulsi tea. Control over every aspect of production provides Davidson’s customers with the freshest, highest quality tea.

What are the flavors in Davidson’s flavored Tulsi teas?
The different varieties of Tulsi are 100% botanical, deriving their flavor from herbs, spices, and fruits. All the ingredients in Tulsi Tea blends come from the soil, not a laboratory, and all are Certified Organic.

Does Davidson’s Tulsi Tea contain caffeine?
The Tulsi leaf itself is caffeine free, as are most of Davidson’s Tulsi blends. The Tulsi Spicy Green blend contains a small amount of caffeine due to the inclusion of green tea leaves.

What are Tulsi’s health properties?
Tulsi has been the cornerstone of Ayurvedic medicine for over 5000 years. This sacred Indian herb has rich antioxidant and adaptogenic properties, which promote wellness by enhancing the body’s immune system. Anti-oxidants protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Adaptogens serve as powerful anti-stress agents, helping to guard against the effects of both environmental and emotional stress.

Why is Tulsi labeled as a supplement?
Many herbs, including Tulsi, are thought to have significant medicinal properties. In the US, the FDA requires that teas and herbs with stated health benefits be labeled as supplements. On all of Davidson’s Tulsi packages, you’ll find this supplement format and the following disclaimer: *These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Where can I buy Davidson’s Tulsi?
Davidson’s Tulsi Teas are available at Whole Foods Markets in California and Nevada, Berkeley Bowl and Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in the Bay Area (California), Jungle Jim's in Ohio, Giant Eagle stores on the east coast, Central Market in Texas, and at a variety of other natural and specialty grocery stores, as well as the company website.

Is Davidson’s Tulsi Tea Certified Organic?
Every ingredient in Davidson’s Tulsi Teas is Certified Organic, as is the Davidson’s processing, blending, and packaging plant. Davidson’s entire product line is 100% Certified Organic under the USDA organic program and Kosher Certified by Kosher Supervision of America (KSA).

Is Davidson’s Tulsi Tea Fair Trade Certified?
Every variety of Davidson’s Tulsi Tea is Fair Trade Certified by Fair Trade USA (formerly TransFair USA). We are the only tea company in the country offering a 100% Organic, Fair Trade and Kosher certified Tulsi Tea line.

What does Fair Trade mean?
Fair Trade certification guarantees farmers a minimum price for their crops no matter what the market price. In addition, Fair Trade premiums can be used for social, economic, and health related improvements in the community. The premiums are deposited into an account that is controlled by community members. Schools, roads, health clinics, clean water systems, and training programs are the types of projects funded by Fair Trade premiums.

How does each sale of Davidson’s Tulsi Tea benefit the people who tend Tulsi?
Davidson’s goes beyond Fair Trade through its Aasha (hope) Fund, which donates 10% of all Tulsi proceeds to special projects that improve the lives of small farmers who currently live on less than a dollar a day. The Aasha fund will help transform abandoned farmlands in the Darjeeling region of North Eastern India, allowing the land to be reinvigorated through sustainable, organic agricultural practices. The farmers benefit from educational resources and training, infrastructure improvements in housing and schools, and increased access to health care.