THULSI Botanical Name: Ocimum sanctum (L) Eng: Holy Basil.

Mal: Krishna thulasi, Thulasi, Trithavu, Karutha thrithavu. Sanskrit: Surasah, Thulasi, Parna’sa. It is a herb seen through out India as wild and also cultivated. An erect much branched softly pubescent , 30 to 60 cms high with red or purple sub-quadrangular branches, leaves simple, opposite, elliptic, oblong, obtuse or acute, entire, serrate or dentate, pubescent on both sides, minutely gland dotted, petioles slender, hairy: flowers purplish in elongate racemes in close whorls, stamens exserted, upper pair with a small beard appendage at the base, fruits nut lets, smooth mucilaginous when wetted. There are mainly two types of thulsi: one with green leaves known as saritulsi and the other with purple leaves called krishnathulsi. Thulsi means dear to God. (HARI PRIYA). According to folk belief any evil spirit cannot come to a place where a thulsi is planted. The plant is worshipped in the morning and evening by placing an oil lamp before it in front of the house by Hindus. It is believed that water with thulsi leaves becomes holly as the water of Ganga. The plant is never burnt by Hindus. Wood is used for making beads which in turn make in to necklace by the devotees of Lord Krishna. Parts used: - whole plant, leaves, seeds, roots. Properties and uses:-The plant is bitter, acrid, aromatic, stimulant,stomachic, demulcent, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, anticatarrhal, expectorant, febrifuge, vermifuge and alexeteric. It is useful in cardiopathy, homeopathy, gastropathy, , leucoderma, asthma, bronchitis, catarrhal fever, otalgia, hepatopathy, vomiting,lumbago, highcough, Ophthalmia, genito-urinary disorders, ring worm, gastric disorders, carminative, flavouring agent, verminosis and skin disorders. Chemical Composition: - The leaves contain a yellow green essential oil if kept for a time crystallizes and is then known as basil- camphor. The essential oil contain terpene, volatile oil, eugenol, methyl eugenol, carvacrol, sesquiterpene and hydrocarbon caryophylline.The seeds contain fatty acids like palmitic acid, stearic acid , oleic acid, linoleic acid and linolenic acids. The mucilage in seeds on hydrolysis yields xylose and an acid polysaccharide. Besides volatile oils, the plant contains glycocides, saponins, tannins and the leaves contain ascorbic acid and carotene. USES:  The dried leaves are powdered and employed as a snuff in ozoena.  Mixed with lime juice the leaves are made in to a paste and used in ring worm.  The juice of the leaves is given with the addition of black pepper in catarrhal fever.  An infusion of the leaves is used as a stomachic in the gastric disorders of children and in hepatic affection.  The root is given in decoction as a diaphoretic in malarial fevers.  The seeds are given in disorders of the genito- urinary system.

 The leaves enter in to the composition of some compound decoctions for cough and affections of the chest.  The juice of the leaves is often used as an adjunct to metallic preparations, which are rubbed with it in to a thin paste and then licked up.  The leaf juice together with ginger and black pepper is given in cold and intermittent fever.  Flowers with honey, ginger and onion juice are used as expectorant in common cold and cough.  The seeds are used in diarrhoea and dysentery.  Powdered seeds are used in poultice for sores and sinuses.  In cases of habitual constipation, internal piles, the seeds are advised to be taken internally with sherbat.  The infusion of the seeds proves effective in relieving pains during child birth.  Roots of krishnathulasi along with beetle leaves if taken by chewing in the morning prevent early senescence and manic depression.  Thulasi leaves, raw turmeric if taken with little sugarcane molasses remedies skin allergy.  Leaves pasted with Durbagrass smeared on the affected area relieve itching and other skin irritations.  A solution of seeds soaked in water and taken with sugar relieves urinary complaint especially burning sensation during urination.  Application of leaf extract is suggested to remove stains and spots due to pox and measles.  Drops of warm leaf extract relieve earache due to catarrh condition.  Leaf extract mixed with salt remedies ringworm.  According to Atharva Veda, thulsi kills all sorts of germs, bacteria and viruses  The germicidal property of thulsi is so proverbial that it is believed that a house with a thulsi grove is protected from any viral infections.  Fresh roots with stems and leaves are proved useful in snake bite and scorpion sting.  Some times the roots are used in bowel complaints.  Leaves are used as insect repellant especially at the time of collection of honey. PROF.P.T.RAJASEKHARAN NAIR, DEPT: OF BOTANY, PAYYANUR COLLEGE,PAYYANUR. &BOTANICAL ADVISER, GOVT.AYURVEDA COLLEGE, PARIYARAM, KANNUR. ( SREEPARVAM, DHARMADAM . 0490-2346767, 9446429767) The author has published two CDs –1. ‘Digital Herbarium of Angiosperms’ with named and classified digital photographs of 2000 plants as a reference for B.Sc and M.Sc Botany students. 2. ‘Dictionary of Medicinal plants’having binomials with Malayalam names and also Malayalam names with binomials and digital photographs of mamy plants for Ayurveda students.

E mail- ptrnair@yahoo.com.& r.rajannair@rediffmail.com.,profptrajasekharan@gmail.com

Picture of Thulasi