Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Tulsi - Holy Basil

What is Tulsi? 

Ocimum sanctum or holy basil, also known as ‘tulsi’ is a perennial plant, widely found in Indian subcontinent. It is considered as a sacred plant by the 'hindus' and planted in every 'hindu' household and temples. Tulsi is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb which helps to strengthen and balance the immune system. It has been used for thousand of years in ayurveda and is known for its religious and medicinal purposes. It also acts as a great air purifier by removing toxins and cleanses the air in the environment.

Types of Tulsi

There are mainly 3 types of tulsi - Rama tulsi, Krishna tulsi and Vana tulsi.

1. Rama tulsi has white stem and green leaves.

2. Krishna tulsi has purple stem and purple leaves.

3. Vana Tulsi or wild tulsi has green stem and green leaves. Vana tulsi is the most fragrant and hardest tulsi to grow. It is mostly found in the himalayas.

Holy basil or tulsi is a perennial plant widely found in Indian subcontinent. It's a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb which helps to strengthen and balance the immune system.

How to grow Tulsi

The best time to plant tulsi is in the spring or summer. It helps the plant to grow fast and become strong before winters. You can start growing the herb from the seeds or by using the cuttings. The tulsi plant can grow well in both pot or garden. It's a best culinary and medicinal herb to get your garden started. You just need to feed them with good soil and place it in a warm, sunny spot as it requires plenty of sunlight and air, and water it regularly.

How to grow tulsi from seeds

Sow the seeds, 1/4 inch apart, in a moist, well drained soil. Water it gently and keep the soil moist until the seedlings germinate. Place it in a warm, sunny pot that receives atleast 6 hours of sunlight and water the seeds twice a week. After two weeks, transfer the pot to the outdoors.

How to grow tulsi from cuttings

Cut 4-6 inches of tulsi stem with a sharp, clean scissors and place it in a glass filled with water. Keep it in a partial sunlight, till the roots are about 1 inch long. This process will going to take 7-10 days. Next, transfer the cutting in a potted soil, make sure to water them regularly for atleast 2-3 weeks then keep the plant outside.

How to harvest tulsi

Harvest the tulsi leaves after the plant reach the height of at least 15-20 cms. Prune the plant by pinching off the top set of 2-3 leaves to extend the productiveness. Regular pruning encourages the tulsi plant to have a bushy growth. 

You can also read about tips for growing herbs in our other post.

Medicinal value of Tulsi

It is used in the treatment of various diseases like skin disorders, diabetes, bronchitis, cardiac, stomach, chest and respiratory problems. It is also acts as a effective pain killer. Regular consumption of tulsi helps in relieving the joint pains.

Nutritional value of Tulsi

It’s a great source of vitamin A, C, K, manganese, copper, calcium, iron, folate and omega-3 fatty acids.

It's an excellent remedy for colds, flu, sore throat, headache, high blood pressure, diabetes and chest related problems. It also helps in building stamina and increasing metabolism.

Health benefits of Tulsi

Tulsi leaves are rich in antioxidants and are linked to multiple health benefits.

1. It's an excellent remedy for colds, flu, sore throat, headache, high blood pressure, diabetes and chest related problems.

2. It helps in reducing stress and uplifts mood.

3. Builds stamina and increases metabolism.

4. It helps to strengthen and balance the immune system.

5. It removes toxin from the blood and stimulates the digestive system.

6. It's great for skin as it's loaded with antioxidant and antiseptic properties.

7. Help prevent grey hair and hair loss.

How to enjoy Tulsi in recipes?

Tulsi is a staple herb used in Indian, Italian and Thai cuisines. You can add them in the soups, stews and stir-fry dishes to get a strong sweet flavour. Have a look at our top 5 recipes including tulsi leaves.

1. Make tulsi tea by infusing 2-3 tulsi leaves in hot boiling water for 5 minutes. It helps in detoxification.

2. Add tulsi leaves in stir fry dishes that includes eggplant, potato, tofu, asparagus or zucchini.

3. Add tulsi leaves in noodles, pasta or bruschetta for garnishing.

4. Prepare tulsi juice by blending tulsi leaves in a blender to prevent acidity.

5. Blend tulsi leaves and add them in your favourite soups to give it a nice sweet and strong flavor.

I hope you find this information useful. Let me know in the comments below.


  1. We have planted tulsi plant at our home too for religious purpose. I will try out your tulsi recipe for detoxification. 👍

  2. Is this similar to regular basil that we use to cook with? I have basil plants growing in my herb garden, but I don't know if it's the same. Either way, this one sounds like it's a great addition to many recipes.

  3. I really need to get more into herb usage. This one especially has lots of medicinal values. Only i have a horrible green thumb to grow things - I'll have to see if I can find it another way.

  4. Thank you for sharing this! I have never heard of Tulsi before!

  5. I love to cook but I have never heard of this herb. Maybe we call it something different in the USA? Anyways, thanks for sharing. I'll have to do some more research on if this is accessible in any stores near me.

  6. I've never heard of Tulsi before, but it sounds awesome! I'll have to order some seeds and start planting right away! Thank you!

  7. So much useful info on Tulsi. To be honest this is the first time I hear about Tulsi, but it looks and sounds very interesting. I will try it one day if I manage to find it in my area :)

  8. I didn't know a lot about this plant. I would actually love to add this to our houseplants - it sounds amazing!

  9. I can't believe I have never heard of Tulsi! I love to add natural herbs to my diet to keep the colds and flu away. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!

  10. I've never heard of Tulsi but I am keenly on the lookout for anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements. Thanks for the info, very helpful!

  11. I'd like to try out "tulsi juice". Are there more meals I can prepare using the herb? If i love the juice, I guarantee I'll follow up with the other delicacies.

  12. I’d love to be able to Cultivate more plants at home. This was such a inspiration to start!