Tulsi, Temperate — Holy Basil (Ocimum africanum) seeds, organic

(12 customer reviews)

$3.95$49.10

Family:  Mint (Lamiaceae)

Annual, harvest at 40 days and ongoing to frost.  For the purpose of seed-saving, it takes 120 days from direct-seeding to winnowing.

Note to those wishing to grow their own tulsi tea.  Unless you live in a very warm zone, are a very experienced propagator, or are particularly attached to growing the tropical-type tulsis (Krishna, Amrita, Rama and Vana) then I really council you to grow this temperate tulsi instead.  The germination is far easier, the growth faster, the productivity  greater, and the overall experience more likely to bring happiness.

(Temperate Tulsi)  The plant is a bushy annual tea basil with small leaves, purple flowers, powerfully aromatic.  This plant is of East African origin, and India is right across the way.  Among all basils (including Ocimum basilicum) in my experience, this one is the shortest season, most frost-hardy cultivar. I’ve also seen these self-seed over the seasons, which is unusual among basils.  We tested this cultivar and confirmed the eugenol marker, then ran it for genetic analysis to identify it as Ocimum africanum.  This is the holy basil my wife and I grow for ourselves to make into tea.  We find it very satisfying, with aroma most appealing.   Traditional usage (Ayurveda): stress, anxiety, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and dementia.  Drinking tulsi tea in the morning is a fantastic way to get started.  Prepare a flat of potting soil or a fine seedbed in spring and scatter seeds on surface, then press in and keep evenly moist and warm until germination, which is rapid.  Transplant or thin to 1 foot apart.

Packet contains 50 seeds
1 g contains ~1,580 seeds
5 g contains ~7,900 seeds
10 g contains ~15,800 seeds

Certified Organically Grown

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5 out of 5 stars

12 reviews

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What others are saying

  1. Question

    Lynn

    Hi Richo, I couldn’t find a definitive answer to this question in Making Plant Medicine. Is it better to tincture fresh or dried tulsi, or are they equally effective? These are beautiful plants, and the seeds you sent germinated nearly 100 percent!

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi lynn, right, because it can be used fresh or dried. with herbs like this, that rely largely on essential oils, you get better extraction by drying first, because otherwise the plant water gets in the way of essential oil release. so dry it for strongest medicine. richo

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    • Lynn

      Thank you! Am really enjoying the book, cover to cover.

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  2. 2 out of 2 people found this helpful
    Jacob Kaylor

    It's everywhere!

    Jacob Kaylor

    Richo, thank you for this wonderful plant. It’s been a year since I first planted them and they’ve self-seeded like mad. Even my watermelon patch way on the other side of the yard from my herb garden has tulsi popping up in it. Many thanks from Kentucky!

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  3. Question

    Jena (verified owner)

    Will this cross pollinate with other basils? I’d like to try saving the seed if there’s time before frost, but I’m growing 2 culinary basil varieties in my garden as well.
    I’m fairly new to seed saving so I hope this isn’t a silly question. Thank you!

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    • 2 out of 2 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi jena, thanks for letting me know what other basil types you’re growing. this one won’t cross with them. slightly off subject but it came up for me anyway, is that temperate tulsi is a very stable cultivar that will come true from seed. This is a good argument against those that claim its a hybrid. Once hybrids stabilize they may be thought of as species plants. r

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  4. One person found this helpful

    Question

    laine_2009

    I think I read the comments correctly that this variety is the same as Ocimum sanctum? I bought some from a different company (hadn’t heard of yall yet) thats what they called it. Wanted to get varieties i didn’t have from this site since you seem to know your stuff better.

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    • 2 out of 2 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi laine, thanks for contacting. yes, a lot of sellers did offer this plant as Ocimum sanctum. Its a really great name but it isn’t right. The plant turns out to be Ocimum africanum. Many call it “holy basil.” Beyond the name confusion it is a good one, easy to grow in the temperate north, great for bees and teas. We seeded a 100 foot bed of it yesterday–it is a good choice for direct-seeding spring and early summer. richo

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  5. Question

    Jyot

    Is this plant tolerant to zone 9 winter?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Jyot, The Ocimum africanum is an annual even in the tropics, so it won’t overwinter regardless of zone. However I suppose if you started it, say, in August, it might overwinter in a zone 9–that’s pretty warm. Richo

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  6. Question

    Julie James

    This may be a stupid question but I’m wondering , ive got an herbal book tht says use holy basil which ive been kinda looking out for since a couple months bsck when I got the book. Is this r these all the version to make tinctures , etc for medicinal purposes ? I’m in Ms in zone 7 . Too late to start one this year probably . Also looking for ashwagandha… any help is appreciated.
    Ty , Julie

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Julie, The temperate tulsi is a good choice for direct-seeding now. It is a very fast grower and you won’t be disappointed. It makes great tea. It is late to start ashwagandha. We have all these seeds and plants and we encourage you to go to “richo’s blog” to find out more about them, also “making plant medicine” and our youtube channel. richo

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    • One person found this helpful

      Annie Ryan (verified owner)

      Richo, Instead of composting the thick woody stems this year, can I dry and use the outer and inner bark to burn for homemade incense?

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    • 2 out of 2 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi annie, this is a good idea. this will purify the surroundings. the stem and or root can also be cut into short sections, may need to be drilled out, and made into necklaces. in ayurvedic tradition the tulsi beads are commonly worn to connect to all that is good. r

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  7. Question

    Caroline Yates

    Hi Richo, wondering if you will have some Temperate Tulsi seeds soon, these are on my wish list…thanks so much

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Caroline,
      We have Temperate Tulsi listed and invite you to order. Use the dropdown to choose quantity desired, from packet up to 10 g. Here’s the link https://strictlymedicinalseeds.com/product/tulsi-temperate-holy-basil-africanum-packet-of-50-seeds-organic/
      Richo

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    • Michael Monaghan

      Hi Richo
      Great plant everyone loves this tea. Wondering why no Bitterroot in your arsenal? Discovered this plant when camping in Eastern Washington. Super bitter, beyond
      bitter but if people can get beyond that, this plant is amazing. Especially I noticed in peoples mood and pain.
      Mike

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Mike,
      Good point. We do like to offer bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva) seeds when we can find them from a cultivated source yet true to the wild type which is very challenging. You will see it listed on this site from time to time. You are right about the potency of this wild american herb. richo

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  8. 2 out of 2 people found this helpful
    mary

    Grow extra plants...

    mary

    …your friends will want some! The seeds germinated like a “chia pet” (this dates me, I know) in flats, indoors at 65F under grow lights in April. Seedlings transplanted well outside in June – most in a production plot for tea with some along the path for their sweet fragrance as one brushes against it when passing. By far the most fragrant of the three tulsis I’ve grown (Amrita and Vana being the other two) so far. It was also the only tulsi that bloomed during our short Zone 3 season. I harvested it twice when it went to flower and a third time just before the first killing frost – a great producer! This tulsi has a milder flavor than the other two tulsis when brewed as a tea, according to friends I subjected to tulsi tea tasting trials. I’ve found that a blend of the temperate tulsi and either the Amrita or Vana tulsi produces a fragrant and flavorful tea, most worthy of sharing with friends. After reading others’ comments about this tulsi reseeding, I will let a few plants go to seed next year and see if the seeds survive our cold winters and germinate in the spring. Regardless, tulsi has earned a large space in my garden.

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  9. Question

    Nancy Taylor (verified owner)

    Just recieved my Ocimum africanum in the mail, very excited. Can I use it for cooking or only for making tea?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Nancy, You can use it for tea and cooking as well.
      If using for cooking, don’t expect a deep basil aroma/taste–the tea basils are closer to using a clove than using standard basil. Richo

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  10. Question

    Ashley

    Are you currently shopping internationally? NZ for example.
    Thanks, Ash.

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Ashley, Yes, to all countries except the EU. Richo

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    • Patricia

      Can I grow this in a pot indoors?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      yes, this plant is very easy to grow.

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  11. 3 out of 3 people found this helpful
    Annie

    Seeds are amazing

    Annie (verified owner)

    Planted for the first time on Memorial Day. Almost every seed took which I was not expecting so I have quite a crop. So happy with the health, ease of growing and flavor of temperate tulsi.

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Me, too, gotta love this plant, works best the way you did it, seeds directly to soil. r

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    • jayalakshmi

      where to get the seeds

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hello, this is an active and correct link. click on the photo and use the dropdown to choose packet or gram. then hit “add to cart” and you’re in. r

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  12. MV Paul Worland

    Sacred tulsi

    MV Paul Worland

    About 16 years ago I bought this tulsi basil (then marketed as Rama tulsi). It has self seeded year after year. A great delight and bees love it. It makes a true medicinal honey along with ashwaganda flowers which the bees also love. Wondering if it will hybridize if I plant other basils in the garden such as Thai or genovese basil.

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Paul, Yes, my apologies, this plant was misidentified in the marketplace as “Ocimum sanctum” and since it was green-stemmed, we jumped to the incorrect conclusion that it was rama tulsi. Since then we’ve learned a ton about basil nomenclature, and know now that the plant (temperate tulsi) is Ocimum africanum. It doesn’t hybridize with standard basil (Ocimum basilicum), it is a different species, and anyway we’ve never seen it cross. Richo

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    • omshivani (verified owner)

      When is the right time to begin harvesting temperate Tulsi?
      Thank you Rico, my plant is thriving and I can’t wait to try the tea as you recommended!
      🙂

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi shivani, one way to do it is to cut back as soon as the plant goes into early flower, never more than 1/3 of the plant, and let it flower again, and cut again in early flower, and so-on, maybe 3 or 4 cuttings a year. its really the dried leaf you’re after, although the flower is very pretty. r

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  13. Question

    Tammie Winkler (verified owner)

    I love this plant! I had fantastic germination and I believe I’m ready to use the leaves for tea. What’s the best way to harvest? And am I to wait for flowers? Thanks (I’m still learning!)

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    • MV Paul Worland

      Harvest the leaves on a waxing moon and good constellation. Very medicinal healing qualities all the way into winter in SoCal.

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  14. Question

    Pyewacket

    What is the predominant flavor of this variety when used in a tisane? Krishna tastes predominantly of pepper, Rama of clove, and Vana of anise. Where does this variety fall on the flavor profiles?

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hello Pye,
      I would say that the Temperate Tulsi tastes like tutti-frutti. Many people really like it best!
      Richo

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    • MV Paul Worland

      Not sure what tutti fruiti tastes like, but the variety we bought from Richo about 16 years ago has self seeded every year and is very Spicey – clove cinnamon like strong mixture of fragrant leaves……

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    • Lee Anne

      To me, it’s a cross between juicy fruit gum and basil. I love it. I am not a hot tea person, but I was thoroughly impressed with this. It is a good stress reliever.

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  15. One person found this helpful
    mariecantu88

    Easy growing plant with a gorgeous scent

    mariecantu88 (verified owner)

    I can’t say enough good things about this tulsi. It grew beautifully in my PNW 8b herb garden (in a cool rainy summer), the bees were obsessed with its flowers (to the point where I would stagger my flower head removal so there were always at least four plants in bloom for them!), and the scent was my favorite in the garden – strong, sweet, and almost marshmallow-y. The flowers and leaves both made delicious tea and powerful tincture, and only now at the beginning of October am I thinking about taking the plants out before frost. They still look amazing and are blooming continuously though! This lovely plant has a permanent place in my herb garden now.

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    • Christine (verified owner)

      I have not had good fortune with my tulsi seeds in my hot, dry Mediterranean climate. Is it normal for them to drop small black poppy like seeds now?

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hi Christine,
      The tulsi normally keeps its seed inside the pericarp, it doesn’t uaually drop, and the seed is somewhat smaller than a poppy seed, and black. If you strip the seedhead you can rub it between your palms and you will see the real seeds.
      Richo

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  16. Question

    Karen (verified owner)

    I started my Ocimum africanum a bit late, so I didn’t get much harvest from it before it began to flower. I thought I’d try letting it go to seed, but now I’ve had to clear the bed. I kept all the plants. My question is — can I use the flower and seed stalks for tea?

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Yes!

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  17. Question

    Brock (verified owner)

    Ok so when you say Ocimum africanum, do you mean Ocimum x africanum?

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      People don’t like to see the x and in this case O. africanum is an accepted name so we’re going with that.

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  18. Question

    Andrew Legge

    So the Tulsi variety that I’ve grown is O. sanctum or O. americanum, and those seem to be the varieties offered by the seed companies I buy veggie seeds from. Do you know if there is a lot of variation in the medicinal qualities of the various varieties? Thanks!

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    • 2 out of 2 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hi Andrew,
      Well, what you’ve been offered is probably the so-called “Holy Basil” which has been misnomered so many times as to approach absurdity. But the plant itself is very nice. We have now identified this as “Temperate Tulsi” to try to give it a functional name, and the Latin is Ocimum africanum, not Ocimum sanctum or Ocimum americanum.
      Richo

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  19. blazej

    Great Tea Herb!

    blazej

    thank you for the seeds!

    Nice seed germination and growth. Very aromatic with a sweet note. Makes great tea when used fresh. I boil water, allow the water to cool for a few minutes then i pour the water over the herb, which has been placed in a mason jar, i cover the jar and allow to steep for at least 30 minutes. I even sometimes wait until it cools and then i have a real strong tea. I sometimes combine with fresh lemon balm as well!

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  20. One person found this helpful
    Mistie Clark

    Mistie Clark

    I am in love with this. I purchased the Lifeline Medicine packet and I am very happy that I did. The Holy Basil is by far one of my favorites. The smell is the mix of a sweet grass and fruit. Beautiful!!!

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    • Ingrid Mueller

      Hello. I would like to cultivate Tulsi. Since I am in Michigan is it best to wait for spring or can I begin now indoors and grow it thru the winter. Thank you.

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Ingrid, Best to start tulsi after the winter solstice. I make my main plantings starting in February. If you want an easy indoor grower, choose “Vana.” The temperate tulsi would just bolt–the temperate tulsi is best to direct seed in the spring garden. richo

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    • Nikki

      Does O. Americanum share the medicinal properties of the other varieties? It tastes exactly as you describe the Temperate variety?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Nikki,
      Thanks for getting in touch and we can all be sorry that basil nomenclature is in such a state of disarray. O. americanum is certainly a misnomer as there are no basils at all native to the americas. But it was a name given to Ocimum africanum at one point. therefore you are right, the temperate tulsi and something you might have bought as “O. americanum” are the same plant. This is a great tea herb and easy to grow. it is not as potent as Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum), the tropical type. We just tested our Krishna tulsi to 99% germ–I recommend it to anyone who wants a truly potent holy basil and is capable of creating the conditions required for healthy propagation of the tropical tulasi. Richo

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    • Kishori Singh

      Hi I want to grow Rama tulsi or Krishna tulsi indoors as we stay in Minnesota
      When is the best time to sow the seeds

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Kishora, OK, and please note that this message was left on temperate tulsi, you’ll have to click around to find rama and krsna. The tropical tulsis require much light and warmth to thrive. Start them under lights in March in Minnesota. Richo

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    • donna devadoss

      I am in zone 5 and bring in several plants for winter- you can start new plants from stem cuttings if your season is too short, but they always seem to flower for me.Bee’s love them.

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    • Michael Monaghan

      In Central North Carolina planted 40 seeds in raised beds and this is a good looking product. many at 3 inches and climbing fast, took a taste nice basil flavor. May 15, 2022 and well on its way to be awesome. Most all came up, did’nt really count, but many branches at 3 inches is good. Been drinking Holy basil for years and have noticed many benefits. This is going to be good. Thank you for the seeds Richo

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