Tulsi
Tulsi
Tulsi
Tulsi

Tulsi

ocimum tenuiflourm

ulsi is an adaptogen herb that provides relief of anxiety, anti-cancer, diabetes and overall hormone/thryoid relief.

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names: Holy Basil, Sacred Basil
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves & Flowers
  • Side Effects: Avoid if trying to conceive
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About Tulsi

Tulsi, also termed as holy basil or sacred basil, is an aromatic perennial plant that arises from the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is highly regarded in religious and medicinal frames. In Asian countries, especially Thailand, it serves as a key ingredient in Thai cuisines.

Tulsi is an upright plant that can extend up to a height of 12 to 24 inches. It has a hairy stem that contains ovate leaves with toothed-margin. Tulsi plant is identified by its highly aromatic leaves that are either green or purple. The green Tulsi offers white flowers while the purple Tulsi presents purple flowers.

Tulsi comes with a myriad of fringe benefits. They offer a one-two punch to both upper and lower respiratory tract infections and do a stellar job in the management of diabetes, blood pressure, arthritis, stress, and gastrointestinal disorders. The regular intake of this versatile plant can bring wonders to your body as it improves the functionality of the brain that contributes to the normalization of external contributors.

The biologically active ingredients of Tulsi that confer plenty of benefits include oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid, eugenol, carvacrol, linalool, and β-caryophyllene.

Growing

Tulsi seeds are obliged to be started indoors (for earlier initiation in spring) at least 6 to 12 weeks before the last frost date in the USA. This tropical plant desires a warm temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, a sunny windowsill, and loamy and fertile soil of 6 to 7.5pH level with good drainage.

Tulsi seeds can also be tamped outdoor in late spring or early summer. The soil and seeds must be kept moist. Compost can also be added to ensure its healthy growth.

After the emergence of two or three leaves, the plant is transplanted into separate containers or outdoors, all the while making sure that the roots are not damaged.

Tulsi seeds usually germinate within 1 to 2 weeks if kept moist properly. The seedlings then perpetuate to develop into a healthy plant. Intense summer heat plays a key role in outstretching the Tulsi plant to a magnificent height of 4 to 5 feet whereas indoor Tulsi remains bushy and small.

As the flowering season dives in, native bees, butterflies, syrphid flies, and even hummingbirds zealously participate to make the process of pollination possible.

The process of pollination is chased after by the fast-approaching fertilization. This results in the formation of Tulsi seed pods that serve as a vehicle for the next yield.

In tropical regions, i.e. USDA zones 10 and 11, Tulsi plant acts as an annual plant while in a temperate region it acts as a containerized perennial.

Harvesting

Tulsi leaves and flowers are of extreme importance.

Tulsi leaves should be harvested at least 40 days after the germination. To keep the plant healthy, sparse periodic harvests are beneficial.
The flowers of Tulsi make a magical tea so they are harvested when the plant is blooming. Pinching off the Tulsi flowers periodically helps in more vigorous growth of the plant.

Tulsi plant is sheared with a sharp pair of scissors or knife from the bottom all the while making sure that two to three leaves remain intact on the stem. The leaves and flowers are then examined for insects, bugs, and diseases. If there is any found, then the sprig is discarded.

The harvested Tulsi plant sprigs are hanged upside down in a well-aired, cool, dry, and dark place for two weeks. Tulsi is not dried in the oven as it will result in loss of the color and aroma.

The dried leaves and flowers are pinched off of the sprigs and stored in separate glass jars. The glass jars are airtight and dark-colored (amber colored) to keep the flavors and aroma of herbs intact for a year.

Usage

There are numerous ways of making Tulsi a part of your busy routine.

  • Tincture- Infuse freshly chopped tulsi leaves and flowers in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea- Tulsi flowers (fresh or dried) are soaked in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Honey or lemon juice can be added too to enhance the taste.
  • Decoction- Dried leaves and roots are simmered in water for at least an hour. The herbs are pressed and the liquid is used for different purposes.
  • Salve- Dried flowers and leaves are utilized to make Tulsi salve.
  • Syrup- Dried Tulsi flowers or leaves are simmered with a sugar solution to form Tulsi syrup.
  • Infused oil- Fresh Tulsi leaves are ground into a paste and mixed with coconut oil. The mixture is heated on the low flame for few minutes. The mixture is then left to cool down and eventually stored in an airtight container.