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Plant Informational Database

Holy Basil

Ocimum tenuiflorum

a.k.a. Ocimum sanctum, Tulsi

A famous basil and a distinct species from other common garden basil's, cultivated both for religious purposes and for its aromatic leaves.

Seed Availability

Seeds are now available at our seed store.


A small, shrubby plant growing to 1-2 feet. There are few different varieties of Holy Basil, with the two most common being the green leafed and the purple leafed types. There is also a rarer green and purple leafed type as well as Thai Holy Basil (not to be confused with the various Thai Basil's), a strain used in Thai cuisine. The leaves of holy basil are strongly aromatic and have a smell reminiscent of camphor-basil.


Not freeze hardy.

Growing Environment

Can be grown pretty much anywhere as an annual. Makes an easy container plant. Grow in full or filtered sun. Water moderately. Plant in well-drained soil.


Commonly by seeds, which need well-drained, moist, warm soil for germination.


Most commonly grown as a sacred herb in Hinduism. The plant is commonly found in homes, temples, and is used in a number of religious ceremonies. The leaves are strongly scented and contain high amounts of the potent eugenol, leading the plant to extensive use in teas and particularly in traditional medicine. Holy Basil, or more commonly Tulsi, is an important herb of Ayurvedic medicine and is used to treat an array of conditions.

Native Range

Native throughout the tropical regions of Asia, including India.

Additional Pictures


Related Species

Mentha pulegium
Ocimum basilicum
Cinnamon Basil
Ocimum tenuiflorum
Holy Basil
Prunella vulgaris
Salvia sclarea
Clary Sage