Many species of Ocimum contain various economically important essential oils used in perfumery and cosmetics industries. The major constituents in Ocimum oils include linalool, geraniol, citral, camphor, eugenol, methyl chavicol, safrol, thymol, methylcinnamate etc. Ocimum species are used as herbs and find diverse uses in the indigenous systems of medicine in countries like India, Africa, Arabia, Australia, Malaya, pacific islands and Sri Lanka. The oil of certain species of Ocimum has the antifungal, bactericidal and insecticidal properties too.
Common name: TULSI
Botanical name: Ocimum Sanctum L.
- Green type (Sri Tulsi) and
- Purple type (Krishna Tulsi)
The Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu has done extensive crop improvement programme in ocimum and evolved newer promising types, which are now recommended for commercial cultivation. The varieties are:
O. canum RRL-01,
O. americanum RRL-02
O. viride RRL-08
O. gratissimum RRL-08
O. basilicum RRL-07
O. basilicum RRL-011
Synthesized Amphidiploid of Ocimum RRL-015
Soil and climate:
The plant is sufficiently hardy and it can be grown on any type of soil except the ones with highly saline, alkaline or water logged conditions. However, sandy loam soil with good organic matter is considered ideal. The crop has a wide adaptability and can be grown successfully in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Long days with high temperature have been found favorable for plant growth and oil production.
The crop can be propagated through seeds. For propagating through seeds, they are to be sown in the nursery beds. For sowing of one hectare about 300g of seeds are required. The nursery should be located preferably in partial shade with adequate irrigation facilities. Soil is worked upto a depth of about 30 cm. well rotten farm yard manure is applied to the soil and prepared to a fine tilth and seed beds of 4.5×1.0x0.2 m size are prepared. As the seeds are minute, the required quantity of seeds are mixed with sand in the ratio of 1:4 and sown in nursery bed, 2 months in advance of the onset of monsoon. They germinate in 8-12 days and seedlings are ready for transplanting in about 6 weeks time at 4-5 leaf stage.
Tulsi can also be propagated by vegetative method using termnal cuttings with about 90-100 per cent success when planted during October-December months. For this purpose, cuttings with 8-10 nodes and 10-15 cm length are used. They are so prepared that except for the first 2-3 pair of leaves the rest are trimmed off. Later, they are planted in the well prepared nursery beds or polythene bags. In about 4-6 weeks time the rooting is complete and they are ready for transplanting into the main field. The plants are transplanted at a spacing of 40 cm between the row.
Manures and fertilizers:
The plant requires about 15t/ha of FYM which is to be applied as basal dose at the time of land preparation. Regarding the inorganic fertilizers application of 120:60:60 kg/ha of NPK is recommended.
Irrigation is provided twice a week till one month so that the plants establish themselves well. Later, it is given at weekly interval depending upon the rainfall and soil moisture status.
Interspaces should be maintained weed free and the first weeding is done one month after planting and the second after another 30 days. Afterwards, no further weeding is required as the plants become bushy and cover the soil and thereby smother the weeds. However, after each harvest, weeding should be done so as to avoid weed growth in the interspaces, if any.
Tulsi is not prone to serious pest/disease except some minor pests like leaf rollers which can be controlled by spraying with 0.2% Malathion or 0.1% Methyl parathion whenever noticed.
Medicinal plants like tulsi require production involving minimal or no usage of chemical pesticides. Organic practices include control measures using neem based formulations. Fish oil resin soap can be used to manage such sucking pests. Botanicals viz., extracts of garlic, Vitex negundo, Lantana camera, Clerodendron inerme, Calotropis gigantean are often combined and sprayed periodically for controlling the pests.
Diseases like powdery mildew can be controlled by spraying with 0.3% wettable sulphur. Likewise seedling blight and root rot can be controlled by drenching the nursery beds with a 0.1 per cent solution of mercurial fungicide and adopting phytosanitory measures.
Harvesting and yield:
The first harvest is done after 90 days of planting and subsequently it may be harvested at every 75 days interval. The crop is harvested at full bloom stage by cutting the plants at 15 cm from ground level to ensure good regeneration for further harvests. The yield and oil content is more in plants harvested during bring sunny days.
On an average, tulsi gives about 10,000 kgs of fresh herbage per hectare per year. The herb contains about 0.1 to 0.23 per cent oil and it about 10-20 kg of essential oil per hectare. Irrigated tulsi gives higher herbage yield (upto 20 ton and oil yield (upto 40kg/ha).
Holy Basil is very important herbs and has many medicinal applications. Tulsi is used in the treatment of various diseases. Basil plant and its various parts are used in case of insect bite, fever, cardiac diseases, gynecological disorders, respiratory problems, skin disorders, etc. Basil has been used since the ancient times for different ailments. Holy basil is used as voice improver and acts as a germicide and bactericide. It is good to prevent malaria and an effective pain killer. In some texts, it is also known as healer of all diseases. In homeopathy, basil is very effective in the formation of breast during lactation.