Holy Basil! it’s Tulsi

Latin & Common Names:

Ocimum sanctum – Krishna Tulsi, Rama Tulsi

Ocimum tenuiflorum – Holy Basil, Bubblegum Bush

Ocimum gratissimum – Vana Tulsi, Tree Basil, Wild Tulsi

Plant Family: Lamiaceae, the mint family


Ocimum sanctum

Seeds I bought at Gardener’s Supply from High Mowing Seeds in Wolcott, VT.  I am not sure if it’s Rama Tulsi or Krishna Tulsi, but the High Mowing website had this to say: “The Hindu people of India worship this plant as “Tulasi”, the incarnation of the goddess.”  I have added their website to the sidebar under Products From Experiments.  Darling beads of life.

Sacred Basil ready for harvest

And there she is, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Amongst many sisters in a tiny windowbox (seems to be my trend).

Medicine Preparation used in Experiment:

  • Tulsi Tea – from Organic India.  Ocimum sanctum (2 varieties) and Ocimum gratissimum. Recommended use: boil water, pour over tea, let sit at least 3min, drink!  1.9g of herb per 8oz water
  • Switched to Tulsi Dietary Supplement from Organic India.  Ocimum sanctum (2 varieties) and Ocimum gratissimum. Recommended Use: 2-3 capsules morning and early afternoon.  100mg of each herb per capsule.  1.2 – 1.8g per day.

Growing Habits/Habitat:

  • Native to India
  • Lots of sun
  • Rich soil which will drain easily
  • Regular watering
  • I have personally sown and grown O. tenuiflorum and gave it the name Bubblegum Bush, because its fragrance reminds me of such.  In observation, this variety holds on tight and will grow even if neglected (of course she does not prefer this and will do much better with lots of love and attention).
  • This summer I grew the O. sanctum pictured above and observed her growing preferences as similar to the tenuiflorum.

Parts of Plant Traditionally Used:

  • Seed, Flower, Leaf, Stem, Root ~ all parts!
  • Some recipes call for fresh, though others may require dried parts


  • Gather for leaf and flower when the first ring blooms
  • Roots should be gathered in the Fall and dried
  • Seeds also harvested in the Late Summer & Fall

Referenced Uses:


  • Antiviral
  • Antiseptic
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anticancer
  • Antimutagenic
  • Will reduce or prevent radiation damage
  • Antispasmodic (relieves spasms)
  • Antioxidant (removes free radicals from the body)
  • Adaptogen (nourishing to the nervous system)
  • Liver protection
  • Reduce or prevent ulcers
  • Blood cleansing inside and out
  • Bites and stings
  • Good for the Reproductive System
  • Colds, coughs, sinus congestion
  • Reduce or prevent headaches
  • Clarity of the mind
  • Increase energy after illness
  • Increase sexual stamina
  • Prevent epidemic disease with regular use


  • Tulsi’s Sacred-Status in India puts her at the top, next to the Lotus
  • Clears the Aura through Divine Force
  • Opens the heart and mind for love and devotion
  • “promotes sensory acuity” (Frawley 103)
  • “Tulsi stems worn as rosaries and promote the energy of attachment” (Frawley 103)
  • Tulsi contains a natural form of mercury, which is believed to be the seed power of Shiva and helps you to become enlightened
  • absorbs positive ions, energizes negative ions, and liberates ozone from the sun’s rays” (Frawley 103)

***Culinary & Food as Medicine

  • If you want to get creative, there are dozens of recipes from India and S.E. Asia which include this Sacred Medicine.

Notes from the Herbalists:

Taryn Forrelli, N.D. (Naturopathic Doctor) shares her thoughts.

Doctor for New Chapter, vitamin & supplement company, in Brattleboro, VT:

  • Holy Basil can be very helpful in relieving stress.  If not taken care of, stress can increase illness.  Your body becomes weakened by the illness, and yet, continuing stress in your life can take away the energy your body needs to heal.  Thus creating a dramatic downfall into stress-induced disease.  But Holy Basil can help to stop this from happening by leveling with your mind and body.  The Holy Herb can help you create a “positive stress response” and prevent further damage from daily stress (Forrelli 1).

Horizon Herb’s website offers more insight on growing Tulsi.

Richo Cech is an Herbalist and ‘Plant Spirit Farmer’ based out of Williams, Oregon:

Science Research:

Here’s a link to the USDA National Agricultural Library, also known as AGRICOLA.

You can search any of the Holy Basil species and read about their recent scientific findings.


Cech, Richo. Making Plant Medicine. Oregon: Horizon Herbs, 2000.

Forrelli, Taryn ND. Natural Stress Relief: Supercritical Holy Basil. Vermont: New Chapter, Inc., 2010.

Frawley, Dr David and Dr Vasant Lad. The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, 2cnd ed. Wisconsin: Lotus Press, 2001.

Smith, Ed. Therapeutic Herb Manual: A Guide to the Safe and Effective Use of Liquid Herbal Extracts. Oregon: Ed Smith, 2006.


***Ask your Family Doctor and/or Village Herbalist if Holy Basil would be appropriate for you and your specific conditions, especially if you are pregnant or younger than 18 years old ***


3 thoughts on “Holy Basil! it’s Tulsi

  1. One thing that really caught my attention in this post was the fact that it contains ‘natural mercury.’ The first thoughts that come to mind when I think of mercury is water pollution, high fructose corn syrup and losing your mind. The way you describe it here is much more appealing. I wonder how similar/different it is from toxic mercury in how it affects humans. I assume that the plant contains a relatively small concentration of the substance but I have not looked into it yet. Very interesting…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s