Difference Between Tulsi and Basil


Main Difference

The main difference between Tulsi and basil is that Tulsi is a holy aromatic plant and its leaves are highly scented, and basil is a culinary herb.

Tulsi vs. Basil

The scientific name of Tulsi plant is “Ocimum tenuiflorum” whereas the scientific name of basil is Ocimum basilicum, both affiliated to the family Lamiaceae, i.e., a family of flowering plants. Tulsi is used for Worships and other holy occasions. Basil is used as a medicinal ingredient and is also used for kitchen purposes. Tulsi has a significant role because of its religious importance. It is used for fragrance in various religious ceremonies. Basil does not have any religious significance. Tulsi is advantageous for adapting to stress and intended o promote long life. Basil acts as an antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial. Tulsi is also helpful as a pharmaceutical for many illnesses in traditional medicine. Basil is likely to use as a drug in the treatment of cancer, platelet aggregation, stress, asthma, and diabetes mellitus. The herb tulsi has a variety of different chemical components such as ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid, oleanolic acid, eugenol, carvacrol, Linalool, and β-caryophyllene that contribute to flavor and aroma. The herb basil has a variety of different chemical constituents such as eugenol, methyl chavicol, camphene, licorice, Citronellol, etc. that contribute to spices and fragrances. The fresh leaves of Tulsi plant are useful for the preparation of juice. The leaves of basil plant are usually used in the food industry for its smell and flavor.


Comparison Chart

a holy aromatic plant with highly scented leavesA culinary herb
Alternative Names
Holy basil and tulsaiSweet Basil, Saint Joseph’s Wort and Thai basil.
30–60 cm tall30–130 cm tall

What is Tulsi?

The scientific name of Tulsi is “Ocimum tenuiflorum.” It is a holy aromatic plant with scented leaves. Tulsi is said to be a very spiritual plant for the Hindu community and is praise and observed as a blessed goddess. Including all parts which have a been found to Anchorage, the surrounding soil is useful for endophytic fungi. However, the Hindu people are regarded as incomplete without a tulsi plant; consistently, there is a baroque earthen pot that is placed in a courtyard where tulsi serves both empirical and religious purposes. Tulsi is also known as “Indian Basil” or “the Holy Basil.” Hindu temples offer Tulsi wreath, or Tulsi soaked tea to its patrons contribute to the temples by enthusiasts. It is mainly cultivated for Ayurvedic medicinal purposes, and its important oil extraction. Tulsi is used in the following cases:

  • On religious occasions. In Hinduism, It is given to a person who is in a serious condition of his sickness or about to die so that they can go to heaven after death
  • Described as a manifestation of Sita because it is as a sign of virginity and righteousness
  • The vegetation part of the tulsi plant is useful in many food preparations
  • In the preparation of dried powder, herbal tea, fresh leaf and also sometimes mixed with banaspati ghee
  • For the treatment of sore throat and cold or cough
  • To lower sexual urge especially for men and therefore, held sacred by Hindu saints and is related to the Hindu God Hanuman

What is Basil?

Basil was first cultivated in India. Now it is cultivated in all over the world, including Asia, Africa, and Central and Southern America. There name Basil is derived from the Greek word “basileus,” which means “king.” This term is given to Tulsi because of its royal fragrance. Basil is one of the popular culinary herbs, used the whole world due to its aroma and flavor. This herb is native to Asia and has a strong, pungent, and sweet smell. Basil grows perfectly in hot and dry conditions. Basil is a resourceful herb used in food, beverage, and aromatherapy. In Europe and Africa, the major producers and exporters are France, Italy, Morocco, and Egypt. However, in Asia India is considerable producer and exporter of basil. Different breeds of basil are present; some are Genovese Basil, Lemon Basil, Purple Basil, Greek Basil, Globe Basil, etc. Different breeds of basil can usually crossbreed with each other to produce hybrids, which have some amazing flavors. It is added in the dishes for fragrance but at only when a dish is ready because its flavor components are volatile and highly heat sensitive. It is also used to extract essential oil production. It is the major constituent in the preparation of ‘pesto,’ i.e., tasty Italian sauce. Basil is mixed with milk to prepare ice creams like desserts. Basil is used as:

  • A cure to many diseases and disorders
  • As a vital oil in aromatherapy
  • In cooking many dishes
  • In the production of flavored tea

Key Differences

  1. The Ayurvedic practitioners use Tulsi because it is involved in the healing process, whereas basil is used in cooked recipes.
  2. Flowers of tulsi plant are purplish on the other hand basil have white flowers.
  3. Tulsi is aromatic scented leaves conversely basil has pungent taste leaves.
  4. Leaves of tulsi are difficult to chew on the flip side basil leaves are easily chewable.
  5. Tulsi has its religious value, while basil does not have any religious significance.


It is concluded that basil is an important, delicious ingredient and tulsi is a holy, sacred, and beneficial medicinal ingredient.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson