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Tulasi (Holy basil)

Writtern by Dr. Akhil B.A.M.S

Botanical Name - Ocimum sanctum Linn

Names in different language

Hindi - Tulsi, English - Indian Basil/Holy basil, sacred basil, Telugu - Tulasi; Bengali, Tamil, Marathi, Malayalam - Tulsi, Kannada Sritulasi.

Scientific classification

Basil belongs to the family Lamiaceae (formerly Labiatae). Sweet basil is classified as Ocimum basilicum and bush basil as Ocimum minimum. Mountain mints are classified in the genus Pycnanthemum.


Tulasi mainly used for preparing cough syrup. It has mainly two variety.

Varieties & adulterants - (CV – controversy, AD – adulterants)

  1. suklaTulasi (O. americanum Linn.)
  2. KrishnaTulasi (O. sanctum Linn.)
  3. Rama tulasi  [O. basilicum]
  4. O. minimum
  5. O. gratissirnum Linn


Branched aromatic herb, sometimes woody hairy, very small flowers

Habitat & Distribution

Found throughout India. Now being cultivated extensively.


  • Rasa: pungent bitter
  • Guna: light dry
  • Virya: hot
  • Vipäka: pungent
  • Karma: kapha vata pacifying, appetizer, destroy worms, reduces foul smell


  • Coughs, breathing difficulty, hiccup, worms, irregular fever

External uses

  • Because of its insecticidal, deodorant, stimulant, vata reducing and oedema relieving actions, the paste of the leaves is useful in chronic ulcers, oedema, and pain.
  • Scrubbing of the juice on the skin improves the intradermal circulation. Juice is also used as eardrops for an earache.

Internal uses

  • Digestive system: Being an appetizer, digestive, laxative and anthelmintic, it is used in anorexia. abdominal pain and helminthiasis. Tulsi seeds are soaked in water and slimy kheer is prepared from it which is given in dysentery. Tulsi leaves should be chewed in pyorrhoea.
  • Circulatory system: Since it is a cardiac stimulant, blood purifier, and anti-inflammatory, it is used in cardiac debility, vata-kapha disorders of blood and inflammations.
  • Respiratory system: Tulsi has the main action on the respiratory system. When tulsi leaves are given with honey, they act as an expectorant and alleviate the symptoms like a cough induced by kapha. dyspnoea and fever. Tulsi is a very good home remedy for common symptoms like fever, cold, and cough.
  • Urinary system: Tulsi seed is diuretic. It alleviates gonorrhoea, dysuria, burning micturition, cystitis, calculi and also urethritis.
  • Skin: Diaphoretic, effective in skin diseases. Hence it is used in fever and particularly in ringworm infection, eczema, and scabies. The paste of tulsi leaves and black pepper is effective in ringworm infection.
  • Temperature: Febrifuge. Useful in fever with chills and intermittent fever. The decoction of tulsi leaves is also useful in chronic fever.


Tulsi leaves are being used for trituration in preparing many Ayurvedic formulations (It may add as a preservative).  

Part Used

Leaf, root, seed.


Fresh juice 10-20 ml, root decoction 50-100 ml, seed 3-6 g.

Important Yogas or Formations

Surasadigana Kashaaya, Surasãdi taila, Tumburvãdi yoga, Nimbãdilepa

Therapeutic Uses

  1. Tulasi juice with honey is used in a productive cough.
  2. Tulsi paste is applied externally in urticaria.
  3. Leaves juice with black pepper powder is used in irregular fever.
  4. Tulasi decoction will be effective in common cold.