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Interesting Facts About the Tulsi Plant-A Medicinal Herb

Updated on September 19, 2019
Vellur profile image

A graduate in botany, Nithya Venkat enjoys writing about plants that help sustain life on planet Earth.

Tulsi Plant
Tulsi Plant | Source

The tulsi plant is an aromatic herb valued for its medicinal properties. It belongs to the genus Ocimum and has about a hundred and fifty species. Tulsi is used in Ayurveda, Siddha, and Homeopathy medicines to treat ailments.

The tulsi plant is worshipped as a sacred plant by those who follow the Hinduism religion. It is cultivated across many tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. It can also be found growing wild in the foothills of the Himalayas. Tulsi is also known as Holy Basil.

Description of the Tulsi Plant

The tulsi plant belongs to the genus Ocimum and family Lamiaceae. Native to India it can be found growing throughout the tropical regions of Southeast Asia. It has a hairy stem and grows to a height ranging from 30 cm to 75 cm.

The leaves are aromatic with a strong scent and a pungent taste. They are ovate with a serrated margin and placed in opposite directions on the stem. The leaves are dotted with oil glands on both sides. The fruit of the tulsi plant are nutlets that are subglobose in shape with a pale brown or red color.

The purple flowers of the tulsi plant can be found growing on elongated racemes. (A raceme is an unbranched, indeterminate type of inflorescence bearing flowers with short stalks.)

Types of Tulsi

Krishna Tulsi

Krishna tulsi has purple leaves and blossoms. This plant has a spicy aroma of cloves and has a peppery taste.

Rama Tulsi

Rama tulsi has green leaves and white or light purple flowers. It has the spicy aroma of cloves like the Krishna tulsi but has a mild flavor.

Vana Tulsi

Vana tulsi grows in the wild and can be found growing in Asia and parts of Africa. This plant has light green leaves and a fresh citrus aroma and flavor.

Tulsi Flowers
Tulsi Flowers | Source

Tulsi - Classification

Division - Magnoliophyta

Class - Magnoliopsida

Order - Lamiales

Family - Lamiaceae

Genus - Ocimum

Species - Sanctum

Medicinal Value of Tulsi

Many Indian scientists and researchers have proven the medicinal value of the tulsi plant through pharmacological studies.

It has been found that the medicinal value of tulsi is mostly due to Eugenol (1-hydroxy-2-methoxy-4-allybenzene) present in tulsi.

The leaves, stem, flower, root, and seeds are used for the treatment of flu, bronchial asthma, malaria, diarrhea, skin diseases, arthritis, chronic fever, and insect bites.
Tulsi increases the basic metabolism of the body and helps to lose weight.

Tulsi tea soothes a sore throat and helps to get rid of phlegm in the chest. To make tulsi tea, add a handful of fresh shredded tulsi leaves to four cups of water. Boil the water for about ten minutes. Strain the water, cool and drink. You can also add ginger, mint, and lemon to enhance the flavor.

When Victoria Gardens, in the city of Bombay in India was being established, the men who were employed were greatly troubled by mosquitoes. To get rid of the mosquitoes, Tulsi plants were planted along the entire boundary of Victoria Gardens,

Tulsi plant planted in special structures for worship
Tulsi plant planted in special structures for worship | Source

Tulsi as a Sacred Plant

The tulsi plant embodies compassion, love, and longevity. Hindu families consider tulsi a sacred plant. It is considered to be a representation of a goddess Lakshmi wife of Lord Vishnu. Tulsi means the "incomparable one" in the Sanskrit language.

The tulsi plant is worshipped every day by lighting lamp in the morning and evening and by adorning it with flowers. Keeping a tulsi plant in the house is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity.

The dark or Krishna tulsi and the light or Rama tulsi are the two varieties that are used for worship. In some households, the tulsi is planted in the specially constructed stone block that has images of deities on all four sides with an alcove for lighting the oil lamp.

The tulsi plant is worshipped along with other Hindu gods and goddesses in the “Tulsi Manas Mandir” at Varanasi. Devotees wear beaded necklaces made from the tulsi stem.

Growing the Tulsi Plant

Sow tulsi seeds outdoors in late spring or early summer when the temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the seeds in the soil and cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost or fertile soil. Place the seeds where they receive morning sunlight and spray them with water.

The soil should be moist until the seeds germinate. When the seedlings have grown and sprouted a few leaves transplant them in containers or outdoors. Tulsi can also be grown from cuttings.

Tulsi grows well-drained loamy, fertile soil with a pH of 6 – 7.5. This plant grows in full sun or partial shade with minimum exposure of four to five hours of sunlight in per day. Do not overwater the plant. Apply liquid fertilizer once in a month.

© 2019 Nithya Venkat

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    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 months ago from Dubai

      Thank you for your visit and comment Mahesh.

    • profile image

      Mahesh Chandra Gaur 

      4 months ago

      A good informative article providing interesting details about the great medicinal value of the sacred Tulsi plant.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      5 months ago from Dubai

      Thank you Umesh.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      5 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Good information about Tulsi. Nice article. Thanks.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 months ago from Dubai

      Thank you Devika for your visit and comment.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I am fascinated of the Tulsi plant and its benefits.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      7 months ago from Dubai

      Tulsi is a holy basil that is an aromatic herb, whereas the basil that you grow is an herb that used in cooking.

      Thank you for your visit and comments.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I grow several types of basil in our yard but it may not be the same type that you are writing about in this post. I plant it each year outside in the early spring and have use of its flavorful leaves until late fall or when the first frost kills it. I do make pesto from it and freeze it for year-round use. That first photo looks like the type that I grow but the last one looks more shrub-like.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      7 months ago from Dubai

      Thank you Shaloo Walia.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      7 months ago from India

      Quite informative. I wasn't aware of the different varieties of Tulasi. Thanks for sharing!

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 months ago from Dubai

      Thank you Lorna, growing tulsi plants will keep mosquitoes away. Tulsi tea tastes delicious you should try it.

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      8 months ago

      Wonderful article, Nithya, on this versatile plant that has so many benefits even medicinal. I found your article very enlightening about this plant that can be used to treat the flu, bronchial asthma, skin diseases, and insect bites. I will have to start drinking tulsi tea. And can be grown to keep mosquitoes away. So much better than using a pesticide! It is a lovely plant too with its lavender flowers. Thanks for sharing.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 months ago from Dubai

      Chitrangada thank you, tulsi occupies a special place in worship and medicine.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      8 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Excellent informative article about the sacred Tulsi plant, a must have, in most of the Indian homes. In addition to it’s religious significance, it has immense medicinal benefits.

      Vrindavan (in North India), named after the Vrinda Tulsi, is perhaps the vana Tulsi, you mentioned above. The other two types (Rama and Shyama/ Krishna) are found in our homes and temples.

      Thank you for sharing.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 months ago from Dubai

      Prantika Samanta, am happy to know that tulsi tea is helping you. Thank you for your visit and comments.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 months ago from Dubai

      Thank you Liz Westwood.

    • Prantika Samanta profile image

      Prantika Samanta 

      8 months ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you for this insightful article. Earlier, I used to suffer from cold and cough a lot, but I started drinking tulsi tea and currently in much better shape. I like the types of tulsi and we do worship Tulsi.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      8 months ago from UK

      This is an interesting and detailed article about the tulsi plant. I had not come across it before.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 months ago from Dubai

      Tulsi has attracted the attention of scientists due to its medicinal properties. Many studies have suggested that plants respond to music but communicating with one another, needs more research.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      8 months ago from USA

      I hadn’t heard of the plant but was interested in its applications in Hinduism and everyday practice. I heard recently on talk radio that plant scientists are discovering that plants “communicate” or “signal” each other. What are your thoughts on that?

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 months ago from Dubai

      Thank you Linda, I am happy to know that you enjoyed learning about the Tulsi plant.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      8 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This sounds like an interesting plant. I enjoyed learning about the plant and its importance in Hinduism. Thank you for increasing my knowledge, Nithya.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 months ago from Dubai

      Thank you, Lorna. I am glad you enjoyed reading about the tulsi plant.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 months ago from Dubai

      Thank you, Bill. I am happy that you got to know about tulsi through this article.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 months ago from Dubai

      Thank you Eric, Tulsi is found across the tropical and sub-tropical regions across Asia.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 months ago from Dubai

      Thank you Halemane Muralikrishna for your visit and comments.

    • hmkrishna profile image

      Halemane Muralikrishna 

      8 months ago from South India

      Sacred Basil has to grow under direct sunlight with optimum water, then its quality is with good essence. This is the reason why it is cultivated in the clear fron yard of households. Very nice article.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      8 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Cool. I really like how you write this article. Straight forward to intelligent facts. I don't think we have any of that species here. But it got me wondering. Maybe too arid.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I not only knew nothing about this plant; I had never heard of this plant. Thank you for filling in a gap in my education.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      8 months ago

      This is an interesting article about such a useful plant. I enjoyed reading about the history of the Tulsi plant and the fact it is considered a sacred plant in Hinduism. Thank you for sharing.

    • Shreenidhi KS profile image

      SHREENIDHI 

      8 months ago from Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

      Such an informative article ..am a south Indian and i have thulsi plants in my house, but i knew very little about uts varieties.. your article is a good read..keep writing all the best..

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