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Ocimum gratissimum

category > Adaptogen Ocimum gratissimum
Ocimum gratissimum photo

Latin Name: Ocimum gratissimum

Synonyms: Ocimum viride

Common Name: Holy Basil, African Basil

Sanskrit Name: Tulsi, Tulasi, Vishnu priya, Surasa


Ocimum gratissimum photo

Cool Facts: Unlike most adaptogens where the root is used, Holy Basil works as an adaptogen without pulling up the plant. It helps relieve stress and balance the endocrine system. It helps diabetic metabolism return to balance. A relaxant that also helps clear the mind and protect and heal the nervous system, and also has antioxidant properties. A good plant to grow for Preppers, just to calm the mind in stressful times.

Family: Lamiaceae

Energy: Warm, Neutral

Taste: Pungent, Sweet

Parts Used: Herb

Varieties: Individual plants are variable in their aromatic properties. There are 4 types of holy basil: purple-leaved krishna tulsi (O. tenuiflorum), purple-stemmed rama tulsi (O. tenuiflorum), green-leaved kapoor tulsi (O. tenuiflorum), and perennial vana tulsi (which is actually considered a different species Ocimum gratissimum, and maybe to my nose not quite as pleasant as the others). All can be used medicinally interchangably.

Type: Perennial.

Size: 2-3'

Spacing for Production: 12-18"

Site and Zone: Full-sun or afternoon-shade, Z10. Will die down quickly below about 40 degrees.

Soil: Rich-soil, well-drained-soil.

Will it Grow in Texas?: Yes, very easily, as long as there is enough water. All basils love heat, which Texas has plenty of. Does not tolerate any frost and doesn't really like cold weather.

Propagation: Seed or stem cuttings. Seeds need light to germinate, and may take 2 to 3 weeks to sprout. Pinch off flowering heads to keep the plant bushy and growing longer.

Bugs & Problems: Has some issues with white flies. Bees and hummingbirds love the flowers.

Bloom time: All summer.

Landscaping: In India it is grown in a large pot and kept on the front porch so you can pinch off a leaf or two and savor the aroma on the way to work. It is considered a sacred plant that will bring good luck. It can be moved indoors when it nears freezing. It is very nice mixed into a perennial bed. Mine grow nicely next to the roses. Three plants in a large pot grow to a stunning, billowy accent by the front door.

Collection: Harvest just before flowering for medicinal use.

Storage: Can be frozen for later use as well as dried.

Seed Sources: Horizon Herbs sells all 4 varieties of Holy Basil in seed packets.

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