Ocimum tentiform (synonym Ocimum sanctum), commonly known as holy basil, or tulsi, is an aromatic plant in the family Lamiaceae which is native to the Indian subcontinent and widespread as a cultivated plant throughout the Southeast Asian tropics.
Tulsi is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil. It is widely known across the Indian subcontinent as a medicinal plant and a herbal tea, commonly used in Ayurveda, and has an important role within the Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving holy basil plants or leaves. This plant is revered as an elixir of life.
Tulsi leaves are an essential part in the worship of Vishnu and his avatars, including Krishna and Ram, and other male Vaishnava deities such as Hanuman, Balarama, Garuda and many others. Tulsi is a sacred plant for Hindus and is worshiped as the avatar of Lakshmi. It is believed that water mixed with the petals given to the dying raises their departing souls to heaven. Tulsi, which is Sanskrit for “the incomparable one”, is most often regarded as a consort of Krishna in the form of Lakshmi. According to the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Tulsi is an expression of Sita. There are two types of tulsi worshiped in Hinduism: “Rama Tulsi” has light green leaves and is larger in size; “Shyama Tulsi” has dark green leaves and is important for the worship of Hanuman. Many Hindus have tulasi plants growing in front of or near their home, often in special pots. Traditionally, tulsi is planted in the center of the central courtyard of Hindu houses. It is also frequently grown next to Hanuman temples, especially in Varanasi.
Tip & tricks to grow- Basil(Tulsi-तुलसी.)- DO’S & DONT’S
-If seedling stems appear tall and thin, they are probably not getting enough light.
-Water plants lightly, twice daily with warm water until well established.
-When seeding directly in the garden, be sure to keep the very surface of the soil moist. Normal rules against over-watering say to let the soil surface dry, but watch for the depth of dryness. Seeds and seedlings that don’t have deep roots can suffer from even a few hours of dry soil.
-Tulsi can be grown from seed directly in the garden. Since you don’t have as much of a head start this way, you might pick one of the faster-growing varieties, like Lemon Basil. On the other hand, all varieties of tulsi grow fast enough to become productive, they just won’t have the head start.
-When interplanted, basil is said to improve the taste of tomatoes and peppers, as well as repelling horn worms and aphids.
-When watering, avoid getting the leaves wet, unless you are doing foliar feeding, as the leaves can spot.
-When moving plants from indoors to the garden, make sure you gradually expose the basil to outdoor conditions to avoid transplant shock.
-Do not overlook this opportunity to choose one of the many astounding varieties which might be most fun or useful for you
Basil(Tulsi-तुलसी.)- in India
Two species of tulsi are mainly cultivated on large scale in India.
1) Indian Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Indian Basil is cultivated for oil and 250 tons oil is produced annually in North India is consumed in flavor and fragrance industries in India and abroad. The oil is also converted into anethole which is constituent of fennel/sauna oil. Indian basil is a short duration crop and can be cultivated in a wide range of soil and climatic conditions as short duration crop (75-80days) with an average yield of 40-50kg oil/acre worth Rs.15000-20000/-(These stats may not be 100% correct)
2)Sacred Basil/Pusa Basil (Ocimum sanctum).
Pusa tulsi is mainly cultivated for dry leaves which are constituent of herbal medicine and teas. One should take up Pusa basil cultivation after locating a proper market.Here the quality of leaves is an important and quick disposal of produce is required otherwise it gets deteriorated.