Ocimum tenuiflorum is an erect, perennial aromatic herb in the mint family Lamiaceae. It is native to Assam. The herb is commonly known as holy basil Holy Basil, Sacred Basil or tulsi. The Assamese common name of Holy Basil are তুলসী, (Tulsi, Tulasi), ক’লা তুলসী (Kola tulasi). The holy basil plant is a small annual or short-lived perennial shrub, up to 1 metre (3.3 feet) in height. Tulsi is a branched, fragrant and erect herb having hair all over. Leaf arrangement of tulsi is opposite decussate, leaf margins is simple toothed or entire, leaf shapes is oblanceolate, colour of leaves is green or purple and flowers are white purplish and flowers are placed in close whorls on elongated racemes.
Tulsi is cultivated for religious and traditional medicine purposes. Tulsi is one of the most popular Ayurvedic medicines. It is widely used as an herbal tea. The whole plant of Tulsi is used as a medicine for the treatment of bronchitis, bronchial asthma, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, skin diseases, arthritis, painful eye diseases, chronic fever, insect bite etc. The Ocimum sanctum L. has also been suggested to possess antifertility, anticancer, antidiabetic, antifungal, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, antiemetic, antispasmodic, analgesic, adaptogenic and diaphoretic actions. Essential oil is extracted from leaves. Tulsi is worshiped as a sacred plant in Hindu religion.
Scientific classification of Ocimum tenuiflorum
Kingdom : Plantae
Phylum : Tracheophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Order : Lamiales
Family : Lamiaceae
Genus : Ocimum
Accepted name : Ocimum tenuiflorum L.
Geniosporum tenuiflorum (L.) Merr.
Lumnitzera tenuiflora (L.) Spreng.
Moschosma tenuiflorum (L.) Heynh.
Ocimum anisodorum F.Muell.
Ocimum caryophyllinum F.Muell.
Ocimum hirsutum Benth.
Ocimum inodorum Burm.f.
Ocimum monachorum L.
Ocimum sanctum L.
Ocimum scutellarioides Willd. ex Benth.
Ocimum subserratum B.Heyne ex Hook.f.
Ocimum tomentosum Lam.
Ocimum villosum Roxb. nom. illeg.
Plectranthus monachorum (L.) Spreng.