Tulsi for when the Emotional Fever Hits

Things have been and still are busy, hectic, and transitional at the moment over here at Cathy’s Attars. The changes are positive, but also uprooting and worrying on other levels. So, I have been using Tulsi/sacred basil to help me deal with the moments of overwhelm.


I often find stories helpful when teaching about a certain plant oil. I hope this story of how I first began using Tulsi for nervous tension and overwhelm will help you get a feeling for this plant’s signature and strengths.

I met my husband Florian ten years ago. After a lifetime of challenging relationships, I’d decided to go it alone, which I did for five years and loved it. However, I got to the point where I realized that because my core wound was connected to the relationship between the masculine and feminine, there were certain things that I could only heal in relationship. I put an intention into the world, and it was quickly answered. I met Florian. I recognized on a soul level that he was my life partner. All well and good I hear you saying. Not quite. Be careful what you wish for.

What I hadn’t counted on was that for me to go for this potential relationship, I had to confront a survival strategy that I had put into place decades before. A deep and very early fear of abandonment had controlled my existence. Throughout my life, my strategy had been to never go for what I desired, for my dreams, for anything that brought me pleasure so that if it didn’t work out, I wouldn’t feel abandonment. I lived small, I followed the desires and wishes of others. So, here I was faced with a dilemma. If I started to date Florian and the possibility of spending the rest of my life with the man I loved, I would have to break through a very engrained survival strategy.

I was terrified. To break through, I had to face the very real risk of abandonment. For a whole summer, I was on the fence. The feelings were alarming. My nervous system was completely off balance. Fear and anxiety had pushed me completely off centre. I couldn’t concentrate. Although I was falling in love, it felt like the most dangerous place in the world that I could be in. I didn’t know where to turn or what to do. I was overwhelmed. I wanted to move forward but couldn’t.

Heat and fire were building up in my stomach. Looking back, I now see I was in a Calcinatio, that first alchemical stage where the material (I was the material) is being set fire to in order to break down the old, outdated structures.

What’s even more interesting is that in herbalism Tulsi is considered a heating herb and not advisable when a person is suffering from a heating condition. I was on fire. And yet, tulsi was just the right oil for me at the time. This is why I think that saying ‘a heating herb isn’t good for a heating condition’ is a little simplistic. When old survival strategies are being heated up, the aim is to burn them through. To let the fire do its alchemical job of purification. Tulsi helped bring energy and blood flow to my physical, emotional, and mental self and in doing so helped bring movement to my resistance. At the same time, it calmed the anxiety and overwhelm without putting out the fire.

Tulsi is an adaptogen and does this by supporting the natural process that the body is going through. One of tulsi’s main properties, in my opinion, is to support the process of Calcinatio in the same way as with a physical fever we don’t want to stop the fever but help it work its way through effectively and as quickly as possible. I was very grateful for its assistance at that time in my life. The fire finally burst into flames, and I came out the other end capable of facing my true destiny.

Today, I am just a little overwhelmed, nothing like that summer all those years ago. However, Tulsi is once again a great support as I and my namesake company push through old, outdated ways and move forward.