Sacred Basil/Tulsi


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Ocimum tenuiflorum

Sacred Basil, also known as Holy Basil, Tulsi and Tulasi, is an aromatic perennial herb or small shrub in the mint family which can be found in four main forms across Asia where it is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes. The variety we stock is known as Tulsi Krishna and is native to India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, and is grown in Hindu temples there.  Nowadays it can also be found across the Asia-Pacific and African regions.

Tulsi Krishna has purplish stems and slightly toothed olive-purple leaves with a spicy pungent aroma. Small purple flowers form in summer which should be pinched out to extend the period of leaf harvest. Fresh leaves can be used in vegetable and fruit salads, fruit dishes, jams and preserves, and added to stir fries. In Ethiopia the dried leaves are included in spice mixtures. The mucilaginous  seeds can also be made into refreshing beverages.

Sacred basil is an important herb in Ayurvedic medicine and is used both as a general wellness tonic and more specifically to treat fever, spasms, bacterial infections, inflammation, colds, influenza, sinusitis, headaches, arthritis, rheumatism, etc. It is said to have strong antioxidant activity which slows the aging process and helps prevent and treat cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and dementia.  It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, and can be used externally as an antiseptic to treat skin infections, spots etc and internally in the treatment of feverish illnesses (even for children). It is said to normalize both blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The dried leaves and essential oil from the plant are used as insect repellent.

Leaves can be harvested only one month after planting out the young plants, and thereafter at periods of every two weeks during the growing season. They can be dried for later use if required.

Sacred Basil is a plant of the moist to wet, lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 – 28°c, but can tolerate 15 – 35°c.  When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -1°c. In warmer climates it can therefore be overwintered but in temperate areas it is better grown as an annual. It requires a moist but well drained soil in full sun or part shade. Height 30 – 100cm.

9cm pot. Certified organic plant. Available Dec – Feb/March only.

Freight: Lowest freight rate is currently $13.50 for between one and nine 9cm pots to an urban address. Further charges apply for larger orders, larger plants, or rural addresses. For more info please see our full list of freight and packing charges.