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Tulsi or Holy Basil: Uses & How to Grow

Tulsi is a widespread plant throughout India, for both religious and medicinal purposes. It is an undemanding plant and can grow well in mild climate without too much fuss – just keep it away from severe chills.

How to grow

Dry tulsi seeds from an existing plant can sown just below the soil in a sunny patch or a pot, and just lightly drizzled with water, where they should get about 6 hours of sunlight daily. Do not overwater or the seeds will wash away. The seeds should germinate in about 2 weeks. Otherwise, saplings are easily available at nurseries, or with a friendly neighbour ☺
Tulsi is quite resistant to pests, although the mosaic or tobacco worms can get to it sometimes (causing a speckled brown pattern on the leaves). Nothing that a neem spray or soap spray can’t handle! Check out our organic pesticides page for details! If you find webs between the leaves, or the leaves are curling in, the simplest thing to do is simply snip & remove the affected area well in time. Tulsi is very hardy: it will bounce back! Since tulsi leaves are often used in home remedies, completely AVOID any pesticides or chemicals; instead use organic pesticides or natural pest control methods.

Harvesting

Tulsi can be harvested about 4 months from planting. Pluck & use the leaves as per requirement. Removing the flower spikes will ensure a better growth and spread of the plant.

Uses

There are so many uses of Tulsi leaves, juice, and oil; that it’s not possible to list them all! Here are some of them:
1. Drinking water boiled with tulsi leaves is a good expectorant, and can also be used for gargling as it is anti-infective. This can be also be given every 3-4 hours to children to lower fever.
2. A few drops of Tulsi juice with honey/ ginger/ cinnamon can sooth sore throats, and also relieves bronchitis and asthma symptoms. A few drops of tulsi leaves can also help calm the stomach in case of vomiting or constipation.
3. Tulsi leaves boiled in milk work as a mild antiseptic, aid digestion & act as a relaxant.
4. Chewing Tulsi leaves is also beneficial – chewing 10-12 leaves daily helps purify blood. Chewing 2-4 leaves a few times daily also help relieve mouth ulcers and infections like pyorrhea (bleeding gums).
5. A paste of tulsi leaves mixed with a little sandalwood powder is very cooling and can help relieve headaches.
6. Tulsi is also said to have positive effects on patients suffering from kidney stones (mix tulsi juice & honey for this) and cardiac problems.
7. A massage with coconut oil & tulsi juice can help get rid of dandruff.
8. Essential oils from Tulsi are used for medicinal purposes and in herbal cosmetics.
9. Dried tulsi leaves are also used to repel insects when stored with grains/ pulses.
We’d love to hear from you how YOU use tulsi in your daily diet, or as a home remedy for some ailment… do write to us as info@esvasa.com.

References
http://www.livestrong.com/article/113827-uses-tulsi-plants-leaves/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocimum_tenuiflorum

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