Tulsi (Latin name, Ocimum sanctum) is an erect, herbaceous, much-branched annual herb found throughout India. Tulsi possesses medicinal and spiritual significance in Ayurveda
. In Hinduism
, Tulsi is dedicated to Lord Vishnu
, the Hindu god of preservation, and purifies body, mind and spirit. It is also spelt as Tulasi.
It is characterized by elliptic-oblong, acute or obtuse leaves and purplish or crimson flowers. There are two varieties recognized, Sri Tulsi (green type) and Krishna Tulsi (bears purple leaves).
A volatile oil, alkaloids, glycosides, saponins and tannins are isolated from the herb. The oil shows antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The plant is traditionally used for treating minor colds and flues. It is also useful in diabetes and cancer.
Other names are Baranda, Ajaka, Brinda, Manjari, Parnasa, Patrapuspha, Suvasa Tulasi and Patrapuspha.