Herb Spotlight: Tulsi (Holy Basil )

All across India, Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), also known as Holy Basil, is a ubiquitous aromatic herb, both growing abundantly outdoors and widely cultivated at home for herbal and devotional purposes. It is often found as a potted plant in the home courtyard or terrace and the leaves are used in herbal teas or are used as part of one’s daily devotional rituals in many Indian households. Some even consider the Tulsi plant to be a manifestation of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, beauty, harmony and good fortune!

The name tulasī (तुलसी) in Sanskrit translates to “incomparable or peerless, the one without equal”, which shows the high esteem in which the plant is held in Indian culture and herbology. Other common names for Tulsi in India are Surasa and Surabhi, which shows that a pleasant taste and a pleasant fragrance are some of its defining features.

Herbal properties

According to Ayurveda, there are three varieties of Tulsi: Rama Tulsi (green-leaved), Krishna Tulsi (purple-leaved) and Vana Tulsi (Forest Tulsi, or Ocimum gratissimum). All three types are classified as warming herbs (increasing pitta) with a pungent and bitter taste and are very useful in balancing excess kapha and vata doshas in the body. Its leaves are mostly used in the form of herbal teas or concentrated decoctions, and the leaf extract and essential oil of Tulsi is used as well in many modern Ayurvedic body-care products and medicines.

According to modern herbology, Tulsi is classified as a powerful adaptogen, an exclusive class of herbs which aid the body in combating stress of all kinds, helping to restore balance and harmony to the body and nerves and promoting general health and well-being. Among adaptogenic herbs, Tulsi stands out in its ability to relieve anxiety and depression and promote mental clarity and calm (sattva), making the mind and nerves resilient to environmental stress. It is also considered to have antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, and to reduce flatulence and induce lactation in mothers.

Tulsi tea

Being an adaptogenic herb which has a general action on the body with no side effects, Tulsi is well suited for daily use as an herbal tea. Such use helps to stimulate digestive fire (agni) and remove excess wind (vata), balance the metabolism, purify and detoxify the blood, calm the mind and relieve stress and anxiety. It can also be very helpful in relieving congestion (excess kapha) and fever when suffering from bronchitis, cold or flu.

Topical use

Used topically, Tulsi has powerful antioxidant properties which prevent premature aging of the skin. With its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, it is an excellent cleanser of skin and hair, helping with external skin conditions like acne, rashes, fungal infections and treatment of superficial wounds.


Much like many of its basil cousins from around the world, Tulsi has a very pleasant and attractive fragrance. Its aroma is warm and clove-like, with subtle hints of citrus and mint. It is naturally repellent to insects and mosquitoes. The essential oil of Tulsi has a very high percentage of eugenol (with its strong antiseptic and anesthetic properties), which accounts for its strong clove-like fragrance, and puts it in a similar class among clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, basil and bay leaf oils.

The aromatherapeutic properties of Tulsi oil include: calming the mind and nerves, increasing focus and concentration, relieving stress, anxiety and depression and promoting a balanced positive mental and emotional state of well-being (sattvic disposition).

Auromere products containing Tulsi

With Tulsi having a very honored and respected place in Ayurvedic herbology, it naturally features in many of Auromere’s Ayurvedic body care formulas, especially in our skin and hair care products like body soap, shampoo, hair conditioning oil, and wrinkle serum.

Our Auromere Ayurvedic Tulsi-Neem soap especially stands out as it combines its topical herbal properties with its aromatherapeutic properties, creating a very special body soap for everyday use, with a wonderful Tulsi fragrance!

Here are some Auromere products that feature Tulsi and all its beneficial properties:

***With all best wishes for your health and well-being from Auromere***

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