Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Holy basil

1.  I am from the Tamil and Telegu culture of south India.  My family resides in South Africa for the last 161 years.  With regards to the holy basil plant, we call it tulsi (pronounced thool-si).  There are two variants known culturally.  The purple-flower variant is referred to as Krishna tulsi and the white flower variant as Ram tulsi.  The white-flower variant  is boiled with milk and fresh tumeric [Curcuma longa] and given to those with flu-like symptoms [e-mail, April 2021].

2. A species of basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is used in Hindu culture as a protective charm planted by house entrances; I’ve never heard of it being eaten (at least not in southwest India where my family is from).  It relates to Hindu theology and there are several regional tales about it with conflicting information, but they all identify it as a goddess’s earthly form and holy plant [Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London, May 2016].

Image:  Christina Kundu, Wiki Commons.