The genus Ocimum (tulsi) belongs to the family Labiateae. Many species of Ocimum contain
various economically important essential oils used in perfumery and cosmetics industries.
The major constituents in Ocimum oils include linalool, geraniol, citral, camphor,
eugenol, methyl chavicol, safrol, thymol, methylcinnamate etc. Ocimum species are used as
herbs and find diverse uses in the indigenous systems of medicine in countries like India,
Africa, Arabia, Australia, Malaya, pacific islands and Sri Lanka. The oil of certain
species of Ocimum has the antifungal, bactericidal and insecticidal properties too.
The Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu has done extensive crop improvement programme in ocimum and evolved newer promising types,
which are now recommended for commercial cultivation. The varieties are:
O. canum RRL-01,
O. americanum RRL-02
O. viride RRL-08
O. gratissimum RRL-08
O. basilicum RRL-07
O. basilicum RRL-011
Synthesized Amphidiploid of Ocimum RRL-015
Climate and Soil:
It is a tropical to subtropical plant, it
prefers fairly to high rainfall areas with high humid conditions. Long day and high
temperature condition enhance growth and higher oil production.Ocimum can be grown in
rich loam to poor lateritic soils. It can also come up in saline or alkaline soils to
moderately acidic soils. Proper drainage is however essential as waterlogging condition
results in poor growth.
The land is well prepared with two or three
ploughings until a fine a fine tilth of soil is obtained. Farmyard manure may be applied
before the 2nd or 3rd ploughing. The crop is raised from seeds and
can be grown annually from the middle of February to the end of September by direct sowing
or transplanting.Manures Generally, no manure is required, but an application of
20-25 Kg of NOTES and 10-15 Kg of P per hectare after one month from planting give good
herbage and oil yield. Micronutrients given as foliar spraying especially 50 ppm of Cu and
100 ppm of Mo increase the total oil content in O. sanctum
From sowing to first harvesting, it takes about 90-100 days in the case of direct sown and 75-90 days in the transplanted crop. The
plants are cut 20-25 cm above the ground level in the first year, 20-30cm level in second
year and 35-45 cm level in the third year.
On an average, 25 to 30 tonnes of herbage
yield can be obtained per hectare in the first year and in the subsequent years it may go
up. The oil yield depends upon the spices grown and many other factors such as stage of
harvest, season etc.