Tulsi (a.k.a Holy Basil) is an Ayurvedic herb widely used therapeutically as a medicinal part of herbal formulas. It is considered a foundational herb that, combined with other adaptogenic herbs, can help the body withstand many forms of stress.
The Tulsi plant (Ocimum sanctum or Ocimum tenuiflorum) is a member of the mint family and is closely related to the culinary herb Basil (Ocimum basilicum). These two should not be confused where over 40 varieties of basil are grown around the world; they lack some of the medicinal properties of Holy Basil (Tulsi).
Holy Basil (Tulsi) has been harvested for use in Ayurvedic treatments for 5,000 years and is the most revered of houseplants. In India, it is associated with Ayurveda and the Hindu religion as the goddess of wealth, health, and prosperity. Several varieties are based on the regional religious beliefs known by several vernacular and common names in Sanskrit; Rama, Krishna, Amrita, and Vana.
Tulsi has been used for centuries in India, holistically treating various diseases and ailments. Still, it’s true power is an adaptogen (an herb that reduces stress and increases energy). It is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Zinc, Iron, and Chlorophyll. Its bio-medical actions include being an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-arthritic, anti-anxiety, analgesic (pain reducer), antipyretic (fever reducer), hepatoprotective (liver protector), cancer-fighter, diabetes-preventer, blood vessel-protector, and immune-boosting tonic.
It is believed to relieve asthma symptoms, bronchitis, colds, congestion, coughs, flu, sinusitis, sore throat, and similar ailments. Regular consumption of tulsi may also lower blood pressure and cholesterol by regulating cortisol levels, reducing the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other related diseases. It is known to stabilize blood sugar levels, improves metabolism and efficiency of processing carbohydrates.
It is easily found and available as a tea or capsules but is also found in many medicinal oils, creams, and salves.
Contraindication of use:
· Tulsi may decrease fertility, so refrain from use during times of conception planning.
· It's also recommended that women avoid tulsi while breastfeeding.
· Tulsi may also slow blood clotting, so avoid it for at least two weeks before and after any surgery.
· Tulsi may interfere with pharmaceutical drugs, so confer with a professional if there is a concern.
Below is more detailed information about Tulsi and varieties of Basil around the world:
Rama Tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum)
The Queen of herbs is one of the most worshiped aromatic herbs that is found at almost every house in India. It has the best tolerance to extreme weather but requires more water than the other varieties.
Krishna Tulsi (Ocimum Tenuiflorum)
The plant has purple fringed leaves and purple stems with pungent and strong test of leaves, it has more medicinal properties than the other species.
Amrita Tulsi (Ocimum Tenuiflorum)
The plant is less commonly grown perennial, aromatic and sacred species of Holy basil in India.
Vana Tulsi (Ocimum Gratissum)
It is woody type with aromatic and sacred species of Holy basil in India.
Types of Basil
Sweet Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)
The most commonly grown and is the most aromatic of the culinary basils. It has larger green color leaves and stems.
Thai Basil (Ocimum Thyrsiflora)
Very aromatic, sweet and spicy, and a culinary type of basil. The plant has green color pointed leaves, reddish-purple stem, and dark purple flowers.
Purple Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)
It is commonly grown, very aromatic but not as sweet. It is beautiful with bigger purple color leaves and stems.
Lemon Basil (Ocimum Citriodorum)
This basil has green leaves and white flowers with a lemon scent. All parts of the plant are edible and are known as hoary, Thai lemon, or Lao basil.
Vietnamese Basil (Ocimum Cinnamon)
It is very aromatic with a lighter taste with green color leaves, reddish-purple color stem, and pink flowers.
American Basil (Ocimum Americanum)
American basil is known for its rich color, sweet flavor, and uniformity of size with green leaves, purple stems, and flowers.
African Blue Basil (Ocimum Kilimandscharicum)
This basil is not easily found but has green color leaves and purple flowers. It has a camphor scent, and all parts of the plant are edible.
Italian Genovese Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)
It is classic Italian species with large dark green leaves. It is the most common of the culinary species of basil with big green leaves and stems.