Holy Basil/Tulsi/Thai Basil
This basil, different from sweet basil, has a peppery clove taste, a sharp flavor frequently used to accent Thai stir-fries. In its native India, it’s tulsi, and Hindus deem it so sacred, they grow it around their temples. Many also grow plants in special pots in front or in the courtyard of their house. Water mixed with its petals is given to the dying to raise their departing souls to heaven. Tulsi means “the incomparable one”, and represents the great goddess Lakshmi, consort of Krishna. Every year on the lunar calendar day that starts the auspicious wedding season, a pot of Holy basil is ritually married in Hindu temples to Krishna. It’s the most prominent herb in Ayurvedic medicine, a true panacea. Tulsi is popular in the US as an herbal tea. Chemicals in it are thought to decrease pain, swelling, stress and blood sugar spikes.