Tulsi or Holy Basil (4 Types in India) – Best for us !!!

September 23, 2020 By Poonam Kushwaha
Tulsi or Holy Basil
Tulsi or Holy Basil

It is known as Holy Basil in English and Tulasi in Sanskrit. Other names used for the Tulsi or Holy Basil are Manjari, Krishna Tulsi, Trittavu, Tulshi, and Tulsi. Tulsi is one of roughly 60 species of the genus Ocimum, the basil genus.

There are several types of Holy Basils. Rama Tulsi also known as Sri Tulasi has healing properties and the taste of this Tulsi is slightly on the sweeter side, with an aromatic aroma. This type of Tulsi is found across the country and is used for religious purposes and medicinal purposes.

Tulsi is an herb that has great importance Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. It has been used for hundreds of its years, and that proficient in Ayurveda may know more about this plant than others whose knowledge is limited to western herbal traditions. Tulsi can be safely used in moderation as a beverage by most people.

4 Types of Tulsi are generally recognized in India:

  1. Krishna Tulsi (ocimum sanctum) with leaves of purple,
  2. Rama Tulsi (ocimum sanctum) with stems of purple,
  3. Kapoor Tulsi (ocimum sanctum) with leaves of green,
  4. Vana Tulsi (ocimum gratissimum), which is unmodified from its wild form.

Krishna Tulsi (ocimum sanctum) with leaves of purple:

Also known as ‘Krishna or Shyama Tulsi’, the Purple leaf tulsi is famous for its peppery, crisp taste. It comprises purple colored leaves and dark stems. Although it is grown in many regions in India, it is relatively more difficult to find than the green varietals. Purple leaf Tulsi is known to be beneficial to treat throat infections, respiratory system, nasal lesions, earache and skin diseases.

Krishna Tulsi

Rama Tulsi (ocimum sanctum) with stems of purple:

Rama Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum): It is a Tulsi with light green colored leaves. Krishna Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum): Krishna Tulsi is also known as Shayam Tulsi it has black leaves and is largely worshiped.

Rama Tulsi

Like most Basil’s, it has a shrubby growing habit and will reach 2-4 ft. tall! Tulsi has delicate pink flowers, hairy stems, and green leaves. The plant is both edible and medicinal and utilized heavily as a cooking spice in Indian cuisine and ancient Ayurvedic medicine.

Kapoor Tulsi (ocimum sanctum) with leaves of green:

Kapoor is the short, annual, heavily flowered plant that was originally introduced to the US as “Holy Basil” and it is the most common type found in cultivation here in the US. It is the easiest to grow–give standard basil culture. The big attractor of bees.

Kapoor Tulsi

Vana Tulsi (ocimum gratissimum), which is unmodified from its wild form.:

Vana Tulsi (Holy Basil) is native to India, Sri Lanka, Java and the northern and eastern parts of Africa. It is a perennial, woody bush basil that can grow up to 2m high with highly aromatic, slightly hairy green leaves with a strong clove scent and spicy flavor.

Vana Tulsi

Vana Tulsi stem is erect around 1-2 m in height, glandular, odour aromatic. Leaves elliptical to obovate, petiole around 6 cm long, odour aromatic.

Useful for Immunity, cancer, cough etc.

Other uses of Tulsi or Holy Basil

Many people wear Tulsi beads, which is said to have certain physical and medicinal properties. Its wood is onsidered as more powerful than any other gem that helps in protecting one from the negative influences. One can also buy several handicraft jewelry items made of Tulsi or Holy Basil wood. 

A Hindu house is considered incomplete without the Tulsi or Holy Basil plant in the courtyard. Tulsi or Holy Basil is believed to promote longevity and life long happiness. Hindus perform special Tulsi puja in the Kartik month which starts after Sharad Poornima. It is the time of the Tulsi vivah (marriage). On this day Tulsi or Holy Basil is decorated and colored as a bride.

Even today people in India maintain a potted Tulsi or Holy Basil plant. The women water the plant, light up the diya near it and worship it daily. The stems, leaves, seeds and even the soil is considered as holy. According to the ancient texts Tulsi is glorified as the one who helps in bringing people closer to the divine. 

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