Holy Basil/Tulsi/Hot Basil/Indian Basil
This magic herb is worshiped across the country for some reason. It is anti inflammatory, antioxidant, immunity boosting gem that can tackle an array of problems from stress and anxiety to sugar and migraine.
Holy basil is originally from India but now grows incountries across the world. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine. The leaves, stems, and seeds are used to make medicine. The three main varieties cultivated in India are Ram tulsi (the most common type, with broad bright green leaves that are slightly sweet), the less common purplish green-leaved (Krishna tulsi) and the common wild vana tulsi.
A plant whose versatality cannot be bounded by words,Tulsi, is religiously tied to the Indian culture for its immense benefits. Tulsi has been used in Ayurveda and Siddha practices for treatment of diseases.Not just this, the dried leaves have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects as well. It is a natural insect/ pest repellent that is used in a variety of ailment like, cough, cold, asthma, bad breath, gum diseases, fever, headache, malaria, flu etc.
There is interest in using holy basil seed oil for cancer. It has been researched that the oil can slow progression and improve survival rate in animals with certain types of cancer.
How to grow?
If you are in India, we can claim for sure that there must be a Tulsi plant already at your home or at least in any of the adjacent homes. And if you are missing out it is easy to grow this hardy plant from the seed. Often little baby plant are found emerging under a fully grown plant after it sheds the seeds nearby. Or an easier way is to grab a sapling from the nursery.
Saplings need to be warm and moist, temperatures above 21 deg C are favorable for Holy basil. At lower temperatures it needs to be brought indoors. Frequent pruning of tips encourages growth in the plant and helps keeping it bushy.
Plucking Tulsi stem tips just before the secondary leaves, once the plant reaches 6 inches height to encourage branching. Tulsi can be harvested once a plant is roughly 25cms tall. Harvest the stem tips whenever required as this encourages growth and emerging leaves have better aroma.