Basil or Tulsi is one of the most important medicinal and culinary herbs widely used all over the world often referred to as the “King of the Herbs”. More than 150 species are cultivated in the world.
In Bangladesh, Krishna Tulsi and Ram Tulsi are used for worship by the Hindus from early ages. Many other Tulsi viz. Babui, Purple, Lemon are grown in different parts of Bangladesh and mostly used for medicinal and culinary purpose.
Basil is a rich source of natural compounds, essential oil, medical products such as monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, phenylpropanoids, anthocyanins, and phenolic acids, as well as their effect on sensory qualities.
It is a valuable medicinal plant that not only has many applications in food, pharmacy, dentistry, perfumery and cosmetic industry, but also used extensively in traditional and modern medicine and traditionally consumed as a medicinal herb to treat headaches, coughs, diarrhea, constipation, kidney disorders and parasitic diseases.
In addition, it is used externally as an ointment to treat insect bites, and its oil used directly on the skin to treat acne. Basil essential oil contains biologically active compounds that display insecticidal, anti-nematodes, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial effects.
Professor Dr Mohammed Ataur Rahman of International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT) has been working on seven varieties of Basil in IUBAT campus since 2017.
During the research, he found Sweet and Lemon Basils are very suitable for commercial and homestead cropping. Basil can easily be grown in the kitchen window, containers or in the home garden.
He presented the findings in a seminar held on 6th April 2019 at IUBAT conference hall. The growth performances of both the varieties are recommendable; growing nicely throughout the year without any pest and diseases. Third generation seeds are under trial now. For growth induction pinching and pruning are practiced; plucking intervals are studied for getting maximum yield. From the study it is found that both Sweet and Lemon Basils cannot tolerate water-logging.
Both fresh & dried Lemon Basil twigs are tasted with tea and without tea and found pleasant attractive flavor. Lemon basil has small and fragrant leaves on compact plants delightfully combine the flavors of lemon and basil; excellent for using fresh or dried.
The demand of tea has increased sharply and Bangladesh is spending huge foreign currency every year for importing tea. It has imported 6.3 million and 6.5 million kg of tea in 2017 and 2018 respectively which are very alarming. In this situation, Lemon Basil can be used as a very safe and healthy drink. It can also be used as additive blending with green/black tea and that will reduce the demand of tea.
Sweet Basil twigs are tasted with salad and curry and found very tasty. Sweet Basil has wide scope for using in Continental & Thai Curry preparation like pizza, meat curry, fish and egg dishes, soups, salads, herb butters and herb vinegars etc. Leaves are larger than lemon basil and the yield is more than double. Perhaps Sweet basil is the most popular and widely used culinary herb for its spicy odor and flavor.