Tulsi is native to India, where it often graces shrines and homes as an aromatic perennial shrub. It is grown as an annual herb in temperate climates. The tulsi plant is pleasing to the eye, with an upright, open and branching form.
Many Indian households have Tulsi plants growing either at the entrance or near their homes, often in special pots or small masonry structures. Traditionally, it is planted at the heart of the central courtyard of Indian homes. Tulsi is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil. It is widely known across South Asia as a medicinal plant and an herbal tea, commonly used in Ayurveda.
Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text makes mention of Tulsi for its diverse healing properties. The plant is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress. Marked by its strong aroma and astringent taste, it is regarded in Ayurveda as a kind of “elixir of life” and believed to promote longevity. It is a helpful remedy for coughs, the leaves when chewed after meals acts as a digestive, and when taken before and after cold water showers, it controls the temperature in the stomach to prevents the onset of a cold. Owing to its antibacterial properties, the leaves are often sprinkled over cooked food and in stored water.
Four main forms are generally recognized:
Krishna Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) with leaves of purple, Rama Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) with stems of purple, Kapoor Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) with leaves of green, and Vana Tulsi (Ocimum gratissimum), which is unmodified from its wild form.
Planting and care
Plant care may require a bit of effort, but the results are well worth the work. Not all plants are fragrant, but the most common and hardy do produce a sweet, carrying fragrance. Both can survive in temperate climates if they are planted in a sheltered area.
- Basil is a tropical plant but it still dislikes direct sunlight. So, do not keep your basil plant at a spot where the sun is beating down.Indirect sunlight is best for basil plants.
- Every leaf has a growth bud, so removing old flower blossoms encourages the plant to make more flowers instead of using the energy to make seeds.
- Clean away from around the base of the rosebushes any trimmed debris that can harbour disease and insects.
- It is considered that consuming five leaves of tulsi daily protects one from various diseases, while enhancing the memory performance and boosts brain power.
- Consuming the juice of tulsi leaves with water on an empty stomach in the morning increases memory power and facial glow along with an enhanced digestive flow.
- Tulsi tea is also beneficial in several ways.
- Tulsi may cure fever, cold, cough and sore throat
- Tulsi may beat stress
- Tulsi may dissolve kidney stones
- Tulsi may protect the heart as it has medicinal properties
- Tulsi may beat cancer
- Tulsi may help in quitting smoking
- Tulsi may reduce blood sugar level
- Tulsi may keep skin and hair healthy