Saturday, September 12, 2015

My basil ( Tulsi ) collection

Krisna tulsi

Botanic name: Ocimum tenuiflorum.

Family : Lamiaceae

Also known as Ocimum sanctum, Holy basil.

Variety with green leaves are called Rama Tulsi or Sri tulsi and variety with purple stems and leaves are called Krishna Tulsi.

Tulsi flowers are small having purple to reddish color, present in small compact clusters on cylindrical spikes.

Rama tulsi


Vana tulsi

Botanic name:   Ocimum gratissimum.

Family : Lamiaceae

Also known as Vana tulsi,clove basil, African basil, Tree basil and wild basil.

Erect perennial herb or soft shrub, up to 2 m. Leaves opposite, ovate-lanceolate and terminal inflorescences.

Lime basil

Botanic name:   Ocimum americanum ‘lime’.

Family : Lamiaceae.

Also known as Lime basil.

The leaves and stems smell and taste like lime.

Lime basil has bright lighter green leaves that are ovoid with gently scalloped margins and deep veins. They are arranged opposite on square stems. The flowers arise at the tops of the branches in large spikes of small white flowers. Plants can grow up to 50 cm in height.

Cinnamon basil

Botanic name:   Ocimum basilicum ‘cinnamon’.

Family : Lamiaceae.

Also known as Mexican spice basil.

Cinnamon basil has dark green ovoid leaves with gently scalloped margins and deep veins. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs on square stems that have a distinctive purple colour. Flower spikes arise from the tops of the branches with purple racemes and lighter pink to lilac flowers. The plant can grow about 50cms high. The leaves have a strong cinnamon scent.

Ganga tulsi

Botanic name: Hyptis suaveolens.

Family : Lamiaceae.

Also called as Vilayati tulsi, seema tulsi, Nattapoochedi, American mint and pignut.

In true sense it is not a tulsi.

It is native to tropical region of Mexico, wide spread as a weed.

It is a rigid annual herb of aggressive nature. It can attain height of approximately 2 m within a growing season. Its stem is quadrate and bears hair. Leaves are either ovate or obovate. Leaves are generally 3-5 cm long and 2-4 cm wide with serrulate margins and a long stalk. Lower surface of the leaves bears hairs. It produces blue flowers in small cymes along branch that ends with reduced leaves.

Mint basil

Botanic name :   Mentha piperita

Family :               Lamiaceae

Malayalam: Mint tulasi

Peppermint is also known as M. balsamea Willd, is a hybrid of Mentha X Piperita,  has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It has a pleasant taste, a popular flavoring for food and drink and also used as a fragrance

It is a herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 30–50 cm tall from rhizomes. The rhizomes are wide-spreading and fleshy. Leaves are very much like the mint leaves. The leaves and stems are usually slightly hairy. The flowers are purple, tiny, borne in whorls around the stem.

Medicinal Uses : 
Stimulant , stomachic and carminative . 
Externally applied for rheumatism ,congestive head ache and tooth ache .

Camphor basil
Botanic name: Artimisia vulgaris.

Also called as mug wort, common wormwood and makkipoovu.

In true sense it is not a tulsi.

It is an aromatic shrub smell like camphor, grows 1-2 m high. This medicinal herb is erect, hairy, often half-woody. The stems are leafy and branched. The leaves are pinnately lobed, blossoms with yellow flowers.

Tulsi in hindu mythology:

Once Kartikeya asked Lord Shiva about the holiest tree, which was capable of giving salvation. Lord shiva replied---The Tulsi plant is supreme among all the vegetations. She is very dear to lord Vishnu and fulfill's all the desires of a man. Lord Krishna dwells near the place where there is a Tulsi plant. Spirits and ghosts never dare to venture near the Tulsi plant. If a man attaches a Tulsi leaf to his Shikha at the time of his death, he is liberated from all his sins. One who worships Lord Vishnu by offering Tulsi-leaves attains salvation .(Padma purana)

In Shrimad Bhagavatham , it is said that “although flowering plants are full of  transcental fragrance, they are still conscious of austerities performed by tulsi, for tulsi is given special preference by the lord, who garlands himself with tulsi leaves.”
As per Vishnu purana , the tulsi was among the articles emerged along with Amruth, from the ocean while the churning of the ocean.

The Skanda Purana praises the tulsi, offering respectful obeisance to the plant which can destroy all sin. Seeing or touching the plant relieves a person from sorrow and diseases. By worshipping and watering the tulsi, one is free of the fear of punishment by Yama.

Medicinal uses:

Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda.

It is reported that the leaf  juice cures fever,dysentery, skin infections, intestinal  worms and reduces vomiting.

The juice mixed with honey cures cough, cold, bronchitis and mouth infection.
The oil extracted from tulsi leaves is an antiseptic.

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