What is Holy Basil?
Ocimum tenuiflorum, also known as Holy Basil Tulsi or Queen of Herbs, is a highly aromatic perennial ayurvedic medicinal herb native to India. Like most Basils, it has a shrubby growing habit and will reach 2-4 ft tall! Tulsi has delicate pink flowers, hairy stems, and green leaves. The plant is both edible and medicinal and utilized heavily as a cooking spice in Indian cuisine and ancient Ayurvedic medicine.
Holy Basil works wonders for you in your garden as an excellent companion plant! It's strong aromatic oils including Eugenol, Oleanoic Acid, Ursolic Acid, Rosmarinic Acid, and Linalool help make it a natural pest repellent (Yay for IPM!). These constituents within the plant also contribute to the plant's traditional known medicinal effects. Grow this healthy plant in your home or garden! It's a great opportunity to pick your own fresh leaves and flowers, so you too can make your own "elixir of life" tea, as it is known for its flavor profile of being cooling and mellow, and bearing scents of peppermint, cloves, licorice and lemon.
DID YOU KNOW: Known as an herb for the body, mind, and spirit, Tulsi has many therapeutic properties. The plant is known for being an adaptogen, a natural substance that helps your body adapt to stress and anxiety, promoting mental balance. The whole plant may be used to create tonics, rubs, teas, and essential oils. Tulsi has high nutritional value, containing vitamins A & C, calcium, zinc, iron, chlorophyll, and antioxidants that help detox your body.
Holy Basil Plant Care: The Do’s and Don'ts
Do: Keep the soil well-drained. Great drainage is essential for a healthy Holy Basil plant!
Don’t: Plant Tulsi outdoors until the last frost has passed. Contact with frost will kill the plant.
Do: Keep soil rich with organic matter (compost!). Holy basil plants are fast growers and heavy feeders. Shop our favorite soil conditioners.
Do: Grow in soil with a pH level of 6 - 7.5.
Do: Water regularly! We suggest in the morning times, at a rate of 2x per week to keep the soil moist. *Tip: During the Winter months frequent water is unnecessary due to slow growth.
Do: Before planting, dig through the soil and build a hole that’s slightly larger than the pot it’s currently in. This encourages air circulation through the soil.
Do: Put the plant into the ground with the root tops just below the soil surface.
Do: Harvest frequently! The plant starts to flower in the summer season and keeps at it for the rest of the season
Don’t: Grow in a shady area. This plant loves full exposure to the sun!
Do: Keep a space of 18 inches between plants if you’re planting more than one.
Do: Grow in USDA plant hardiness Zones 9-11. May be grown as an annual north of Zone 9. Patio Planting Zones: 4+
DID YOU KNOW: In Hinduism, Tulsi is regarded as an earthly manifestation of the goddess Tulsi; she is regarded as a great worshipper of the god Krishna. So it is not surprising that on the Indian subcontinent, Tusli is regarded as such a holy plant and a symbol of purity. Rama Tulsi has been cultivated and used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. The Holy Basil was traditionally used as an herbal tea (in fresh leaf, dried, or powder form) to prevent colds and flu. It is claimed to be an adaptogenic herb with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is often used to cleanse the respiratory system and liver, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote a general sense of well-being.