Genus & Species: Ocimum sanctum
Common Names: Holy Basil, Vrinda, Vishnu Vallabha ("beloved of Vishnu") 
Overview: Tulsi, or holy basil, is a branching, aromatic shrub in the basil family that is so revered in Ayurvedic medicine that it has earned the titles of “The Incomparable One” and “The Queen of Herbs”.  In Hinduism, holy basil is considered to be the corporeal manifestation of the goddess Tulsi, an avatar or form of the goddess Lakshmi. The plant itself is worshipped by many Hindus as a symbol of motherhood and the divine feminine.  From an Ayurvedic perspective, tulsi is thought to stimulate the body’s internal housekeeping and reduce toxin-induced damage, which seems to be supported by scientific research.  Not only does tulsi contain high levels of antioxidants, but it also increases the production of endogenous antioxidants, such as glutathione. Tulsi also appears to enhance the activity of compounds like superoxide dismutase and catalase, which protect cells and their organelles from stress and damage.  In other words, tulsi slows down the process of cellular aging. While these qualities alone are impressive, it's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this plant’s profound health-enhancing properties.
Therapeutic Properties: Antimicrobial, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, chemopreventive, hepato-protective, neuro-protective, cardio-protective, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic, antipyretic, immunomodulatory, nervine, nootropic, anti-asmatic, anti-depressant, diaphoretic, adaptogenic, anxiolytic, expectorant. [1,2]
Typical Uses: Tulsi is traditionally taken as a tea or decoction, however, tinctures have also become a popular method to reap its many benefits. Beyond its widespread antioxidant activity, tulsi is fantastic for supporting physical and emotional equilibrium in times of stress.  Additionally, tulsi tea can be drunk daily to facilitate our body’s ability to eliminate heavy metals and other toxic chemicals found in our environment, an action heavily supported by modern research.  Tulsi’s ability to improve health is not limited to internal use alone. The role of antioxidants in the maintenance of skin health is widely known by dermatologists  and diluted essential oils, hydrosols, and oil infusions of tulsi can all be applied to the skin to provide it’s many cell-protecting benefits to our largest organ.
1. The Sacred Tulsi | Tulsi Mandir
2. Tulsi - Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons | PubMed Central®
3. Ocimum sanctum Linn. A reservoir plant… | PubMed Central®
4. Antioxidants in dermatology | PubMed Central®