Species: O. tenuiflorum
Botanical name: Ocimum tenuiflorum
The Indian herbal plant Tulsi has a lot of significance in the Hindu
religion. The term "Tulsi" is used in the context of one who is
absolutely incomparable. Tulsi has a lot of reverence for the Hindus.
Infact, people worship Tulsi everyday in the morning as well as evening
time. This Indian basil basically grows in the warm and tropical
regions. There are two main varieties of this aromatic plant, namely
Shyama tulsi and Rama tulsi. Well, out of the two, the former one is of
greater medicinal value. Rama Tulsi, on the hand, is primarily used for
In this section, we will cover the following aspects related to the holy
Tulsi plant has a lot of significance for mankind, due
to the manifold medicinal benefits it provides. Tulsi leaves are widely
used in the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines. It is known to promote
the longevity of life. The extracts obtained from the plant are
extensively brought to use for curing various diseases such as the
common cold, inflammation, malaria, heart disease, headaches, stomach
disorders, kidney stones, heart disorders, and many more. The Indian
basil Tulasi also aids in the purification of atmosphere.
Tulasi plant serves as a fabulous repellant in fighting against flies,
mosquitoes and insects. It is especially valuable in combating malarial
fever. It is said that at the time of establishment of Victoria gardens
in Bombay (now Mumbai), the workers became victims of mosquito bites and
suffered from chronic malaria. Seeing the pitiable situation of the
workers, some of the Hindu managers recommended the plantation of Tulsi
plant in the garden. On following their advice, fruitful results were
obtained. Thus, holy basil Tulsi helped to abate the growth of
mosquitoes and control malaria.
There are numerous uses of Tulsi plant. The plant is increasingly
finding its way in the Ayurvedic treatment of diseases. Tulsi leaves are
widely used due to their healing power. It is a tonic for the nervous
system and thus, helps a great deal in sharpening the memory. This
aromatic plant supports the removal of phlegm and catarrhal matter from
the bronchial tube. It also works wonders in preventing stomach
disorders. The herb Tulsi is known to cure the respiratory disorders.
The decoction prepared by mixing honey, ginger and Tulsi leaves is quite
helpful in combating bronchitis, influenza and asthma.
The leaves of Tulsi plant are extremely beneficial during the rainy
season, when diseases like malaria and dengue victimize the country.
Boil the tender leaves of Tulsi in tea and give it to the patient. The
juice extracted from Tulsi leaves serves as the best remedy to bring
down fever. Tulsi is an essential ingredient in the preparation of
Ayurvedic cough syrups. It is highly useful in getting rid of cold and
flu. Even, for sore throat, the leaves of medicinal plant Tulsi is of
great value. Just boil the leaves of Tulsi in water and ask the patient
to gargle with this decoction.
Tulsi has the ability to strengthen the kidneys. For those suffering
from the problem of renal kidney stones, the decoction prepared by
mixing the juice of Tulsi leaves with honey, if taken sincerely for six
consecutive months can oust these stones via the urinary tract. For
maintaining healthy heart, Tulsi is of utmost value. It helps in
lowering the level of cholesterol in blood. Thus, Tulsi plant serves as
the most effective remedy to combat cardiac diseases.
Tulsi is considered to be highly sacred in the Hindu
religion. Most of the Hindus offer daily prayers to Tulsi Devi. But, not
many people are aware about the origin of Tulasi plant. Well, there are
many interesting legends about Tulsi. There is a famous legend about
Krishna Tulsi, which suggests that Tulsi was the incarnation of a gopi,
who was deeply in love with Lord Krishna. She was cursed by Radha, the
consort of the Lord. To know some more myths about Tulasi plant, read
There is a story about Krishna, in which the Lord was weighed in gold.
Satyabhama, one of the wives of Lord Krishna gave away all her
ornaments; even then they could not outweigh him. Seeing this, Rukmani,
the consort of Lord Krishna, placed a single leaf of Tulsi plant on the
weighing scale. This brought about a tilt in the scale. Numerous
mentions have been made about Tulasi in the stories of Meera and Radha
in Jayadeva's Gita Govinda.
As per the Hindu mythology, Tulsi is very close to Lord Vishnu, Infact,
a ceremony is held annually in which Tulsi is married to the Lord in the
month of Kartik on the 11th bright day, as per the lunar calendar. It is
a grand celebration that continues for five consecutive days and ends up
on the full moon day. It usually falls in the mid of October. This Hindu
ritual is known as Tulsi Vivah. As a part of daily custom, a garland
made up of Tulsi leaves is firstly offered to Lord Vishnu. According to
a Christian folklore, the sacred plant Tulsi grew around the place,
where Jesus Christ was crucified.
Tulsi as a Deity
Tulsi is a prominent Indian basil that is considered to
be very sacred. In the house of every Hindu family, you'll find a Tulsi
planted in the courtyard. In certain homes, Tulsi plant is kept in a
specially constructed structure and is surrounded by images of Hindu
Gods and Goddesses from all four sides. Some people establish a small
basil forest, by planting dozens of Tulsi plants in their garden. Such
kind of a miniature forest is called "Tulsivan" or "Tulsivrindavan".
Thus, Hindus worship Tulsi as a deity.
According to the Gandharv Tantra, the ideal place for worship is
believed to be the one where there is an abundance of Tulsi plants.
Tulsi plants sharpen the memory and enhance the concentration. There is
a temple at Varanasi that was established in the dedication of Goddess
Tulsi. Tulsi Manas Mandir is a very famous temple at Varanasi that draws
huge crowds every year. Here, people come from different parts of the
country to offer prayers to Tulsi Devi.
The devotees of Lord Vishnu, also known as Vaishnavites, worship the
leaf of Tulsi, due to the fact that Tulsi was very dear to Lord Vishnu.
Infact, as a part of devotion, there are many worshippers, who wear
beaded necklaces made by using the stems of Tulsi. As per the Gaudiya
Vaishnava tradition, Tulsi is known as Vrindadevi, which means the
Goddess of 'Vrindavan'. There are many interesting legends about Tulsi,
which have given her a very high status in the eyes of people. Since,
numerous mentions have been made about Tulsi in association with Lords
like Krishna and Vishnu, it is worshipped as a Goddess.
Tulsi is a consecrated plant that holds lot of
importance for the traditional Hindus. In most of the Hindu homes,
people worship Tulsi plant on a daily basis. Many people keep a plant of
Tulsi in front of their house, since Tulsi has a lot of reverence for
them. On the festive occasion of 'Kartik Shukla Dwadashi' that usually
falls two weeks after the celebration of Diwali, tulsi plants are
adorned with varied artistic things made from sugarcane, flowers and
mango leaves. After decorating Tulsi Vrindavana, people offer prayers to
Tulsi. Clay lamps are lit all around the tulsi plant. The event is
usually celebrated as tulsi vivah, in which tulsi is married to Lord
Tulsi symbolizes devotion, love, responsibility, virtues and miseries of
women. This Indian basil is worshipped by females of all age groups. To
perform tulsi puja, one needs to take bath and get rid of all sorts of
dirt, then be it physical or mental. People decorate the vessel or pot,
in which tulsi is planted. Water is then offered to the holy basil.
Kumkum is applied to one of the leaves. Some people tie a small piece of
red cloth on its branch. Red flower is offered to the herbal plant Tulsi.
Clay lamps are lighted all around the plant and then aarti is performed
to complete the pooja. On the completion of puja, people usually eat a
leaf of tulsi, with the belief that this act would enable them to take
the Holy Spirit inside them.
Tulsi vivah is a grand festivity that has a lot of
significance for Hindus. There is an interesting legend behind the
celebration of Tulsi vivah festival. Tulsi is considered to be an
incarnation of Maha Lakshmi, who was born as Vrinda in her previous
birth. Tulsi was married to a demon king Jalandhar. She offered prayers
to Lord Vishnu to protect her husband from being harmed by any God.
Several Gods approached Lord Vishnu and requested him to take the form
of Jalandhar and live with Tulasi, without letting her know about the
truth. To know the complete story, read on.
Lord Vishnu agreed to the request and did as told by other Gods. After
the death of Vrinda's husband, when truth was known to her, she cursed
Lord Vishnu and converted him into a stone, i.e. Shaligram and after
that, she collapsed. From her body, came out a tulsi plant. It is due to
this reason that Vishnu puja is regarded incomplete without the presence
of Tulsi leaves. Since then, every year Tulsi is married to Lord Vishnu
and the event is known as Tulasi Shaligram Vivah. It is said that the
person who performs the custom of giving away Tulsi to Lord Vishnu,
considering her to be his own daughter, is considered to earn the credit
of performing kanyadan.
Tulsi vivah is conducted on the next day after Kartiki Akadashi. As a
part of festivity celebration, tulsivrindavan is adorned like a bride.
Along with tulsi, the plants of amla, sugarcane and tamarind are
planted. Special feast is prepared consisting of delicious vegetarian
dishes. A full meal consisting of puri, rice, sweet potato kheer,
moongachi gathi, red pumpkin vegetable is offered to Tulsi Vrindavan in
the afternoon time. The ceremony of wedding takes place during evening.
Several dishes made from poha are served to Lord Vishnu. Prasad is then
distributed amongst all. This ceremonial day marks the beginning of the
auspicious marriage season for Hindus.