As well as the popular Sweet Basil, there
are numerous other different and intereting species, for example:
Tulsi (ocimum gratissimum), which has antibacterial properties.
The essential oil extracted from the leaves has been experimentally shown
to have effects which combat diarrhoea.
sanctum, known as Krishna Tulsi or Holy Basil also has medicinal
properties. Being sacred to Hindu peoples it is often grown around temples,
and has the effect of repelling mosquitoes. In similarity to Common
Tulsi (ocimum villosum), it is held to be sacred to Vishnu and used in
his worship. The Puranas say that Krishna (the eighth incarnartion, or
avatar, of Lord Vishnu) assumed the form of Jalandhar (also known as Saukasura)
and seduced Jalandhar's wife, Vrinda (also known by Hindus as Brinda).
When Krishna was discovered to have done this, he turned Vrinda into the
Tulsi plant and put the leaves on his head as a mark of the regard that
he held for her.
A similar story
tells of how Toolsee was a the name of a disciple of Vishnu. Desiring to
be his wife she excited the jealousy of Vishnu's wife, the Goddess Lakshmi,
by whom Toolsee was transformed into the herb named after her.
seeds of Babooye Tulsi (ocimum pilosum), when steeped in water,
swell into a pleasant jelly, which is used has been used in India in cases
of dysentry, chronic diarrhoea and catarrh. Prepared by such steeping,
the seeds are considered very nourishing and demulcent.
his History of Chili, the Abbe Molina mentioned a species of basil which
he called ocimum salinum. This species is similar to common
basil in appearance, except that the stalk is round and jointed.
According the Abbe Molina, although he noted that this species of the herb
grows 60 miles from the sea, each morning it was covered with saline globules,
which were hard and splendid, appearing at a distance as if they were morning
dew. He noted that each plant gave about an ounce of fine salt every
day, which was collected by local people and used just like common salt,
but had a more exquisite flavour.
Basil (Ocimum minimum) is a dwarf variety, used for the same purposes
as Sweet Basil. The seeds of bush basil should be sown in April.
tenuiflorum, Sacred Basil, is a cultivated type of basil grown near
buddhist temples, particularly in Thailand.