For more than 5000 years Tulsi (also known as Holy Basil) has been considered India's "Queen of Herbs" and has been revered as one of the most sacred herbs in India, infused with healing power. Hindus view Tulsi (also spelled Tulasi or Thulasi) as a goddess in the form of a plant bestowed with great spiritual and healing powers. According to legend, no amount of gold could outweigh Krishna's power, but a single Tulsi leaf placed on the pan in loving devotion tilted that scale. In India today, Tulsi is still traditionally grown in an earthenware pot in every family home or garden, and the leaves are used to make a delicious and refreshing tea that possesses wonderful health benefits.
source: Organic India
TULSI AS A MALA
Tulsi is thought to be the most sacred of woods in India and Indian worship, and the plant of Tulsi is believed to be the incarnation of the Divine itself. The Tulsi Mala is made of the wood or the seeds of Tulsi and is used for name chanting and worship.
Moreover, the Tulsi Mala is said to have incredible spiritual and physical healing powers apart from helping the mind to focus during prayers.
The Tulsi Mala is made of Tulsi wood and consists of 108 beads wound around a strong string, with a 109th bead. Depending on the type of the Tulsi plant, the Tulsi Mala is available in various colors like black, brown or sandalwood color.
The Tulsi Mala can be worn on the neck or tied around the fist. The benefits of the leaves of Tulsi is well proven, and owing to its spiritual and physical healing powers, the touch of the Tulsi wood acts as a rejuvenator for the stressed mind and brings the spiritual self of a person closer to God. On top of that, wearing the Tulsi Mala is supposed to bring good luck and fortune to the devoted wearer. It is said to balance the kapha and the vata dosha. Tulsi clears the aura, and its subtle smell fills the heart with sensation of the divine. The Tulsi Mala is used to worship Lord Ram and Krishna, different incarnations of Lord Vishnu who is believed to be the creator and the beloved of the Tulsi.
Modern research has classified Tulsi as an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens have been shown to support the body's natural immune system while relieving the body's negative reaction to stress. Adaptogenic herbs have been used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicines for thousands of years to promote and maintain wellness. Many adaptogenic herbs have been referred to by herbalists as rejuvenative herbs, qi tonic herbs, rasayanas or restorative herbs. They help the body adapt to environmental, physical and emotional stressors, support normal functions, and restore balance.
Source: Organic India
As Tulsi traveled west along the early trade routes from the Orient to Europe, it became known to the Christians as "sacred" or "holy" basil as is reflected in its Latin botanical name,Ocimum sanctum. They hailed Tulsi as "The King of Herbs' instead of as a queen, and Holy Basil became routinely included in legends, offerings and worship rituals and was looked on by many as a gift of Christ.
Source: Organic India