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Difference Between Tulsi and Basil

Tulsi vs Basil

Tulsi and Basil are two kinds of leaves that are often confused as one and the same. Strictly speaking, they are two different leaves meant for different purposes. Tulsi is otherwise called Ocimum tenuiflorum. It is an aromatic plant and its leaves are highly scented. Basil on the other hand is called as Sweet Basil. It is also called as Saint Joseph’s Wort.

Basil is mainly used in the Italian cuisine. It is originally from India. Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia also use Basil in their cuisines. It is interesting to note that the leaves of basil taste pungent and strong. Basil has its botanical name as Ocimum basilicum. It is generally used in cooked recipes.

Tulsi on the other hand, is used by the Ayrvedic practitioners since it exhibits its healing properties. In fact this plant was mentioned in the Charaka Samhita a renowned text on Ayurveda. It is believed strongly that tulsi consumption can help relieve problems arising out of headaches, inflammation, common colds, malaria and heart disease. It is said to provide relief from the effects of food poisoning.

Tulsi is consumed in different forms. It is taken even in the raw form as juice. It is consumed as herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf or sometimes mixed with ghee. Tulsi is very much used as a form of herbal cosmetic. Since tulsi carries some anti-bacterial properties with it, it is used as skin nourishing agent too.

One of the finest aspects of Tulsi is its religious importance and significance. In Hinduism Tulsi is considered a very sacred plant. It is looked upon as a symbol of chastity and purity. It is normally given to dying people so that they can reach heaven after death.  The Brahma Vaivarta Purana describes tulsi as an expression of Sita.

There are two major types of tulsi called the Rama tulsi and the Shyama tulsi. Rama tulsi appear very large in size and they look green in color. On the other hand Shyama tulsi appear dark green in color and it is highly venerated as liked by Hanuman. In other words it can be said that Shyama tulsi is used in the worship of Hanuman.

Basil on the other hand does not have religious significance. On the other hand, it is used in the preparation of various kinds of food. In fact it is one of the main ingredients in the preparation of ‘pesto’ a tasty Italian sauce. Sometimes basil is steamed with milk in the preparation of ice creams.

It is interesting to note that basil is added in the food only in the last minute since its flavor gets totally lost if it is allowed to get cooked for a long time. This is an important observation to make in the use of basil. As a matter of fact it can be preserved for a long time in the refrigerators. Basil seeds are used in the preparation of desserts of various types. These are the differences between basil and tulsi.


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