These are two different types of leaves and are some times confused to be the same. These have very different characteristics and are used for numerous purposes. Basil is an herb from India and it is very popular in Italian cuisine. Some other cuisines that use basil are Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Taiwanese. The taste of basil is very strong and also pungent. Ocimum basilicum is its biological name. It is an important herb in many recipes. Tulsi has a lot of healing characteristics and is used by Ayurvedic practitioners. Many believe that the consumption of tulsi can relieve headaches, everyday cold, heart disease, malaria and inflammation. Food poisoning can also be treated with the help of tulsi.
It is used in numerous forms and some people even consume it in a juice form which is raw. Sometimes it is used as dried powder, drank as herbal tea and also combined with ghee. As this leaf also has anti-bacterial characteristics, it is used as an agent for nourishing the skin and also used as an herbal cosmetic. It carries a lot of importance in the Hindu religion, it is considered sacred. The Hindus consider it as a symbol of purity and chastity. The leaf is also given to those who are very sick and breathing their last breath, it is said that it will help them attain heaven after death. Tulsi has two major kinds: shyama and rama. The former has a dark green colour while the latter gives a green tinge and is larger in size. Shyama is also considered to be related to hanuman.
Basil has no religious significance associated to it. Those who like Italian food know that it is one of the main ingredients when preparing pesto. At times it is used with milk to make ice cream. The herb shouldn’t be cooked for long that is why it is added at the finishing stages of a dish as the flavour will disappear if added before. This fact should not be forgotten when cooking with basil especially if you want the full flavour and taste from this delicious herb. It also has a long life and can be stored in the refrigerator easily. Sometimes basil seeds are also used in making different kinds of desserts.
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