Holy Basil Information


Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), also called tulsi and tulasi, is an herbaceous shrub belonging to the Lamiaceae family. This tropical plant is native to India and has been successfully cultivated in Asia, Europe and North America.


There are two holy basil varieties. The green variety of holy basil is the most common, while the red variety has a stronger aroma.


Holy basil plants have grayish-green, hairy stems and small, oblong leaves. This herb bears pale purple or crimson flowers.


Holy basil thrives in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 11. This herb should be planted in frost-free, well-drained locations that receive full sun or only partial shade.


Holy basil plants contain eugenol oil, which is considered to have anti-inflammatory properties. The leaves also contain ursolic acid, which offers anti-allergic properties.


Holy basil grows into a low bush that ranges from 18 inches to three feet in height.

Fun Facts

The Hindus consider holy basil to be a sacred plant. Holy basil is used in many religious ceremonies and Ayurveda healing rituals.


  • Holy Basil
  • Herbal Monograph: Holy Basil
  • Tulsi: Queen of Herbs

Who Can Help

  • Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
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About this Author

Cat Carson has been a writer, editor and researcher for the past decade. She has professional experience in a variety of media, including the Internet, newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Her work has appeared on websites like eHow.com and GardenGuides.com, among others. Carson holds a master’s degrees in writing and cultural anthropology, and is currently working on her doctoral degree in psychology.