Tulsi plant / Holi Basil: Common Indian herb full of medicinal properties

Tulsi plant / Holi Basil: Common Indian herb full of medicinal properties
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Also called the holy basil is a sacred plant in India and is grown in almost all the households. The plant is used as an herb in traditional medicine and is said to have many medicinal properties. There are around 5 varieties of Tulsi plants. The commonly grown ones are the Krishna Tulsi and Rama Tulsi.

Quick Details of Tulsi plant

Other Common NamesHoly Basil, Tulsi
TypeOutdoor plant
MaintenanceLow
FloweringRound the year
LightBright direct light
WaterRegular watering
TemperatureCan survive the harsh climate
SoilAny well-draining potting soil
FertilizerAny house plant fertilizer
HabitatIndia
ToxicityOverdose can be allergic
Common DiseasesLeaf spot, downy mildew, wilt
Scientific nameOcimum tenuiflorum / Ocimum sanctum

Tulsi plant Buying Instructions

  • Buy a small and bushy plant
  • Variety should be of your choice
  • Normally people buy Krishna Tulsi and Rama Tulsi together
  • There should not be flowers on Tulsi when you are buying the it. Flowering indicate that its an old plant.

Overview of Tulsi plant

They belong to the family of lamiaceae. They are perennial plants and can be grown all through the year. The leaves are aromatic and can be either green or purple coloured. It is  native of india. The plants are used in ayurveda for its medicinal properties. It is also added in food to enhance flavour and smell. The plants are worshipped in india. It is considered sacred and is planted in the centre of the hindu households and worshipped daily.

Special feature of Tulsi Plant:

The leaves are aromatic and contain many phytochemicals. The plants are said to have both antifungal and antibacterial properties. They are used as herbs on traditional medicine and also added in cuisine. The essential oil made from tulsi is rich in Vitamin A, C and several phytonutrients

Usage and Advantage of Tulsi plant

  • Tulsi helps in skin brightening, curing acne and tightening pores.
  • It is used in curing skin infections and skin allergies.
  • Tulsi can prevent hair fall, greying of hair, stop dandruff and dry scalp.
  • Tulsi tea helps boost metabolism thus helps in absorbing essential nutrients.
  • It also boosts the digestive system and increases stamina.
  • Tulsi water can soothe the eyes and reduce the strain.
  • The vitamins and phytochemicals prevent premature aging.
  • Used as a cure for fever, sore throat, kidney stones

General Care for Tulsi plant

Soil: It requires a rich fertile well drained soil. Any potting mix can also be used. Use organic fertilizers while preparing potting mix.

Watering:  The plant should be watered only when the upper soil is dry. Excess watering can be harmful.

Light: Tulsi prefers direct sunlight. The plant thrives when it is exposed to sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. They prefer warm climates. In places where there is extreme winter, the plants can be grown indoors with proper light conditions.

Pruning: The Tulsi plants can be pruned every week. Pruning of Tulsi plants helps in development of new growth. The top set of the leaves can be pinched off ones in a week.

Fertilizer: The Tulsi plants prefer a fertile soil. Addition of any house plant fertilizer of compost ones in 4 or 8 weeks can aid in their growth.

Pests and other problems for Tulsi plant

Most of the diseases in holy basil are caused due to excess watering or due to the presence of moisture. Some of the common diseases include:

Downy mildew: This is caused due to peronospora spp. Small yellow spots are seen on the leaves which further spreads and changes the colour to brown. The leaves wilt and fall off prematurely.

Fungal leaf spot: Caused due to alternaria spp., cercospora spp. And colletotrichum spp. The leaves develop brown spots that further spread all around. This is caused when there is excess moisture present in the soil or the leaves.

Bacterial leaf spot: Caused by pseudomonas cichorii. The symptoms include dark water-soaked spots in the leaves and stem and root rot. This is seen when the conditions are humid and moist.

Control: Can be controlled by preventing moisture on the leaves. The plants should not be over watered. Overhead watering should be avoided.

Fusarium wilt: This is caused by soil borne pathogens and the plants do not show any signs of the diseases until it grows to a height of 8-12 inches. It is fatal and can affect the proper transport of water. The plants have stunted growth, the leaves yellow and fall off.

Control: The diseases plants do not respond to any fungal treatment. It is better to remove the plant to prevent the spread of the disease in other Tulsi and other plants.

Propagation of Tulsi plant

Propagation can be done through stem cuttings or by seeds. The best time to grow tulsi is from april to june.

Seeds: The seeds of tulsi are tiny. They can be either buried ΒΌ inches below the ground or sprinkled directly on to the soil. The soil should be moist throughout germination. It might take around 15-20 days for the seeds to germinate and for the seedlings to rise above the ground. Care should be taken that it obtains a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight and the soil is moist.

Stem cutting: A stem of 5-12 cm long can be cut out from a mature and healthy plant, preferably the one that has not started flowering. The leaves are removed from the bottom end. The cutting is made right below the node. The cutting can be dipped in rooting hormone and planted into the soil. Ensure that the soil is moist and the cutting get enough light. The cuttings can also be grown in water. The cuttings can be dipped in a vessel containing tap water and left in a place with ample amount of direct sunlight. The water should be changed once in every 3 to 5 days to prevent contamination.

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