top of page

Holy Basil, Tulsi

Updated: Apr 9, 2021

An aromatic perennial plant native to the Indian subcontinent and widespread as a cultivated plant throughout the Southeast Asian tropics

Common Names: Tulsi, tulasi, sacred basil

Family: Lamiaceae

Latin name: Ocimum tenuiflorum

Description of Plant

  • It is a small, fragrant, herbaceous annual with green-purple leaves that grows wild and is widely cultivated in India and southeast Asia.

  • The herb is easily cultivated in more temperate climates, similar to garden basil.

  • There are three varieties of this plant: Rama tulsi (green leaves), Krishna tulsi (red-purple leaves), and Vana tulsi (O. gratissimum).

  • Adaptogen, antibacterial, antidepressant, antiviral, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue, immunomodulatory, nootropic, hypotensive Tulsi is a rasayana or rejuvenative

Holy Basil, or Tulsi, is an adaptogen which re-regulates sympatho-adrenal function. It has anti stress activity, preventing excess adrenaline and cortisol production, while enhancing dopamine and serotonin levels.

It is an immune amphoteric, down regulating excess immune responses (think allergic asthma) while promoting immune competence.

It is used to enhance cerebral circulation and memory, concentration, and mental acuity. It is used with ginkgo, bacopa, or rosemary for menopausal “brain fog,” age-related depression, ADD, and to help speed recovery from head trauma injuries.

In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, it is used for indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, poor memory, lack of concentration, ulcers, bronchitis, asthma, diabetes, and for colds and influenza as well as in Indian and a Thai cooking as a spice.

(Winston and Kuhn, 2008)

When the British came to India, they placed Holy Basil plants around their bungalows to ward off mosquitoes, hence giving it the nickname Mosquito Plant.

Adaptogenic Tulsi Tea


1 cup water 1-2 tablespoons dried tulsi (or a handful of fresh tulsi leaves and flowers)


  • Bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the tulsi in a heat-safe container.

  • Allow the tea to steep, covered, for 15-20 minutes.

  • Strain and enjoy daily.

79 views0 comments


bottom of page