Botanical name: Ocimum sanctum Linn / Ocimum tenniflorum L.
PLANT NAME IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES
Sanskrit: Tulasi, Surasa, Svetatulasi
English: Holy basil, Sacred basil
Malayalam: Tulasi, Velutta tulasi
Tulsi is an erect, much branched subshrub, 30–60 cm tall with hairy stems and simple, opposite, green leaves that are strongly scented. Leaves have petioles, and are ovate, up to 5 cm long, usually slightly toothed. The flowers are purplish in elongate racemes in close whorls. The two main morphotypes cultivated in India and Nepal are green-leaved (Sri or Lakshmi tulsi) and purple-leaved (Krishna tulsi).
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, and has an important role within the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving holy basil plants or leaves.
Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for its diverse healing properties. It is mentioned in the Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text. Tulsi 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.
Tulsi extracts are used in ayurvedic remedies for a variety of ailments. Traditionally, tulsi is taken in many forms: as herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf or mixed withghee. Essential oil extracted from Karpoora tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes and in herbal cosmetics, and is widely used in skin preparations.
Holy basil is well known for its medicinal and religious puposes as well . The marks of scratch on the body from toxic substances can be removed using the oil made from the juice of Tulsi leaves . The pulp of the leaves also helps to reduce swelling due to toxic bites.