Tulsi or holy basil is an auspicious plant that also comes packed with umpteen health benefits. Due to its holistic properties, this herb is widely used in a number of Ayurvedic and naturopathic medicines. There are several types of this ‘magical herb’, with Rama tulsi and Krishna tulsi being the most common ones. But, what is the difference between the two, and which one should you pick for good health?
Explaining the difference between Rama tulsi and Krishna tulsi, Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, Chief Clinical Dietitian, Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore said, “Rama tulsi is utilised for religious purposes and is renowned for its medicinal powers. The leaves of this variety have a sweeter flavour than other varieties of tulsi. Shyama tulsi, also known as ‘dark tulsi’ or ‘Krishna tulsi,’ is a variety having dark green/purple foliage and a purple stem.”
Vikas Chawla, Ayurveda expert, founder and director, Vedas Cure added that Rama tulsi is regarded as a supreme medicinal panacea in Hinduism and is famously used for religious occasions and festive rituals. “Krishna tulsi, also called purple basil leaf, is less frequently used but has several medicinal properties, too. It is less bitter in taste in comparison to other varieties,” he said.
Which is healthier?
Both kinds of tulsi leaves are known to serve several health benefits, experts say. “It is found that both help with fever, skin disease, digestion, metabolism, and immunity. It helps people with anxiety issues and in reducing stress as well. Studies say tulsi water helps in reducing inches and fat loss. Tulsi is good for people having bad breath. One can also eliminate cough and cold by having it regularly,” Ankit Gautam, fitness coach and director – Fitness Xpress, said.
Calling them “incredibly beneficial” and “nature’s gift to humans”, Chawla said that while Rama tulsi facilitates a good digestive system, Krishna tulsi is a cure for respiratory tract issues, skin maladies, and other health hazards. “Both have individualistic properties, and have sustained as natural healers for mankind.”
“Rama tulsi is a natural immunity booster and reduces the two most common problems faced by the majority of people — stress and high blood pressure. It has anti-cancer properties and promotes better health and digestion,” he said.
On the other hand, Krishna tulsi is often fed to children who suffer from cold and cough issues. “It is also useful for high fever. Its anti-oxidant characteristics are good for heart health and diabetes patients as well. It makes the skin effulgent and glowing and also increases the length and breadth of hair,” Chawla said.
How to consume?
Gautam suggested consuming two to three tulsi leaves a day on an empty stomach. “Further, it can be used in tea or kadha. It helps with detoxification and blood purification. Rather than chewing, swallow it,” he concluded.