Ocimum tenuiflorum (also known as Ocimum sanctum, Tulsi, Tulasī in Sanskrit and Hindi,is an aromatic plant. It is an erect, much branched subshrub 30-60cm tall, with simple opposite green or purple leaves that are strongly scented, and hairy stems. Leaves have petioles, and are ovate, up to 5cm long, usually somewhat toothed. Flowers are purplish in elongate racemes in close whorls. Tulsi is native throughout the Old World tropics and widespread as a cultivated plant and an escaped weed. It is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil. There are two main morphotypes cultivated in India, green-leaved (Sri or Lakshmi tulsi) and purple-leaved (Krishna tulsi)
It is known across South Asia as a medicinal plant, commonly used in Ayurveda, and has an important role within the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving Tulsi plants or leaves.
There is also a variety of Ocimum tenuiflorum which is used in Thai cuisine, and is referred to as Thai holy basil, or kha phrao —not be confused with ordinary "Thai Basil", which is a variety of Ocimum basilicum.
Followers of Hindu traditions often keep a Tulsi plant in front of their house. On a specific day each year known as 'Kartik Shukla Dwadashi' (usually about two weeks after Diwali) there is a tradition wherein Tulsi plants will be beautifully decorated with structures made of sugarcane, mango leaves and flowers and then a puja (form of worship) is offered.
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