Tulsi Leaf or Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is native throughout the Tropics and now widely grown as a cultivated plant and as an escaped weed. It is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil.
It is widely known across South Asia as a medicinal plant and an herbal tea, commonly used in Ayurveda, and has an important role within the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving Tulsi plants or leaves.
Its botanical name is Ocimum tenuiflorum but it is also called Tulasi or Thulasi
Tulsi Leaf has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for its diverse healing properties. It is mentioned by Charaka in the Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text. Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress. Marked by its strong aroma and astringent taste, it is regarded in Ayurveda as a kind of “elixir of life” and believed to promote longevity.
Traditional Uses of Tulsi Leaf:-
Tulsi extracts are used in ayurvedic remedies for common colds, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, and malaria. Traditionally, tulsi is taken in many forms: as herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf, or mixed with ghee.
Essential oil extracted from Karpoora Tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes and in herbal cosmetics, and is widely used in skin preparations due to its anti-bacterial activity. For centuries, the dried leaves of Tulsi have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects. In Sri Lanka the growing herb is used as a mosquito repellent although this editor doubts its effectiveness used in such a way.
Tulsi has a long and complex ritualistic Hindu affinity with many deities and is considered a sacred plant in Hinduism. It is often planted in the central court yard of many Indian houses as a result.