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August 2012
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Ocimum Tenuiflorum or Holy Basil is an aromatic plant in the family Lamiaceae.

Images of Ocimum Tenuiflorum or Holy Basil at

Ocimum Tenuiflorum, Holy Basil (also tulsi, tulas?), is an aromatic plant in the family Lamiaceae.

Overview of Ocimum Tenuiflorum or Holy Basil

• This plant is native throughout the Old World tropics.
• It is widespread as a cultivated plant and an escaped weed.
• It is an erect and much branched subshrub.
• This herb can grow 30–60 cm tall.
• It has hairy stems and simple, opposite, green leaves that are strongly scented.
• Leaves have petioles and are ovate.
• The leaves are 5 cm long and 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 and purple-leaved (Krishna tulsi).

Tulsi is cultivated for:
• Religious and medicinal purposes
• Essential oil
• Medicinal plant
• Herbal tea
• Thai cuisine

Tulsi extracts are used in ayurvedic remedies for
• Common colds
• Headaches
• Stomach disorders
• Inflammation
• Heart disease
• Various forms of poisoning
• Malaria

Tulsi is taken in many forms:
• Herbal tea
• Dried powder
• Fresh leaf
• Mixed with ghee
• Herbal cosmetics

The plant is scientifically classified as:
• Kingdom : Plantae
• (unranked) : Angiosperms
• (unranked) : Eudicots
• (unranked) : Asterids
• Order : Lamiales
• Family : Lamiaceae
• Genus : Ocimum
• Species : O. tenuiflorum

Growing and Caring conditions for Ocimum Tenuiflorum or Holy Basil

• Growing Basil is relatively easy if there are suitable light and temperature levels provided to the plant.
• Ensure that adequate drainage is allowed from the base of the pot, if grown in pots.
• Line with coarse gravel if necessary.
• If growing outside then ensure the soil is well dug over.
• Weed free the soil well before sowing.
• Before sowing ensure that the compost or soil is moist.
• Water generously the day before sowing.
• It is vital that Basil is not exposed to the last spring frosts.
• If sowing outside sow in late March.
• Sow at any time if the plant is always to be kept indoors.
• If sowing inside and planting outside late then sow in late February.
• Sow the seed thinly.
• Cover the seeds with 1/2 cm of compost and firm gently.
• Basil seeds should germinate in about a week.
• Once the seedlings have developed 2 pairs of true leaves then you can thin out.
• Basil should be grown in a position that receives around 6-8 hours of sunlight in a day.
• Position the Basil in a sheltered spot that avoids cold winds.
• Basil likes fertile soil.
• The soil should well dug to allow good soil air circulation.
• Well rotted organic compost or manure into the soil a month or so before sowing will help in growth.
• General purpose compost is a suitable soil solution.
• Water every week.
• Basil can help to discourage the fruit fly.
• Basil is often a target of slugs.

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