Tulsi - The Holy Basil
Religious/Socio-cultural significance of tulsi
Most Hindus in India grow tulsi in their courtyard or keep a pot of it in their balconies. The religious significance of tulsi is immense. It is considered an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, and the holiest of the holy plants. No puja and prasad in the Hindu religion are considered complete without a tulsi leaf.
It is a common practice for traditional Hindus to put water in the tulsi plant every morning and circumambulate its pot or altar while chanting its puja mantras.
In the evening, a lit diya from the puja is kept near the Tulsi plant. Tulsi mala or jaap mala - Hindu prayer beads - are made of tulsi wood. Tulsi vivah - marriage of Tulsi with Vishnu is a popular Hindu festival.
Medicinal significance of tulsi
Cited in the Ayurveda for its multiple medicinal properties, the holy basil has scientifically proven anti-carcinogenic, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and radioprotective properties. More than 60 beneficial chemical compounds have been isolated from this plant.
Ecological significance of tulsiOcimum basilicum - the botanical name for Tulsi - is native to the Indian sub-continent. Krishna tulsi - tulsi with dark-colored leaves - is a variety of the holy basil.