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Recipe: Cardamom & Tulsi Kashayam

A nearly forgotten term, for young people the word Kashayam evokes the idea that someone is punishing them. But, that isn’t the case.

A Kashayam is an old-fashioned, albeit nurturing Ayurvedic concoction made with herbs and spices, as a drink to offer relief from minor aches and pains. There are complicated Kashayams, and simple ones that allow specific ingredients to shine equally.

In the Cardamom & Tulsi Kashayam, both Tulsi, or Holy Basil and cardamom star equally brightly, to make a delicious short brew. It also uses the wonderful spice, Turmeric! I find this recipe an easy one to make, and perfect for the Fall weather!


In my book, 'Seven Pots of Tea: an Ayurvedic approach to sips & nosh', I included some Ayurveda specific information regarding Tulsi along with other spices. Here are the spice-specific notes, and the recipe, of course, for Recipe: Cardamom & Tulsi Kashayam

Holy basil/tulsi: Occimum sanctum

The leaves of holy basil/tulsi are oval, slightly velvety, and soft to touch. Grown in many traditional Hindu homes for its religious and culinary significance, tulsi leaves are also very popular in tea brews and are sometimes added as a dramatic and aromatic final addition. When consumed raw, it is a cooling herb, and when paired with warm spices like ginger, it improves the digestive and nutritional qualities of select preparations. Although used in moderation, tulsi is an important herb in Indian cuisine. Dried tulsi leaves are not as potent as fresh leaves. Homegrown tulsi leaves can be freeze-dried and added into brewed recipes such as chai, and unless the recipe suggests otherwise, not be substituted with sweet basil or mint. It is pungent, with a pungent post-digestive effect, and warming and therefore increasing Pitta, but decreases both Kapha and Vata.

Image Credit: O. sanctum, Kiritkar and Basu, 1918, Plate 751

Recipe: Cardamom & Tulsi Kashayam

Makes: 1 cup Cook Time: 3-5 minutes

This is a delicate and fragrant Kashayam, where the robust flavors of turmeric and tulsi contrast the delicate aroma of cardamom. Use fresh turmeric rhizome for a delicate flavor, or powdered turmeric for convenience.


2 cups water 2-3 green cardamom pods 2-4 tulsi leaves 1 slice fresh turmeric rhizome OR ¼ tsp turmeric powder Honey, to taste


Combine the water and the spices in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and allow to simmer until the liquid has reduced to one cup. Strain, add honey to taste, serve warm.


Ayurvedic considerations of ingredients

Cardamom, green: sweet, pungent >> pungent, warming, increase Pitta**, decreases Vata & Kapha Tulsi/Holy basil: pungent >> pungent, warming, increases Pitta, decreases Kapha & Vata Turmeric, fresh root: bitter, astringent, pungent >> pungent, warming, increases Vata & Pitta, decreases Kapha

Both, the spice note & the recipe first appears in "Seven Pots of Tea: an Ayurvedic approach to sips & nosh, (C) Nandita Godbole, 2020.



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Nandita Godbole
Once: botanist & landscape architect.
Now: personal chef, author, an artist, graphic designer, blogger, poet & potter!
Always: dreamer.

Loves fresh brewed chai, the crisp salty ocean breeze, watching monsoon rains & walking barefoot through cold mountain streams. 
Believes in the strength, positivity of the human spirit. Is spiritual but not a fanatic. 
Mom of one. Two, if she counts her husband.

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