Commercial tulsi farming is gradually becoming a profitable and popular business in many countries in the world, especially in India. It is a holy plant and it is known by many different names. It’s other names include basil, holy basil, Ocimum tenuiflorum and Sanskrit:-Surasa.
Tulsi is a very useful plant. It has been used in Ayurveda and Siddha practices for it’s supposed treatment of diseases. The dried leaves have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects for centuries.
Tulsi is actually an aromatic perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae. The plant is native to the Indian subcontinent and widespread as a cultivated plant throughout the Southeast Asian tropics.
Commercial tulsi farming is done for religious and traditional medicine purpose, and also for essential oil. It is widely used as a herbal tea, and generally used in Ayurveda. It has a place within the Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving holy basil plants or leaves.
Tulsi (holy basil) is an erect plant with many branched subshrub. It stands about 1-2 feet tall with hairy stems. The purplish flowers are placed in close whorls on elongated racemes.
Leaves are generally green or purple. The leaves are simple, petioled, with an ovate, up to 2 inches long blade, which usually has a slightly toothen margin (they are strongly scented and have a decussate phyllotaxy).
However, growing tulsi plants is very easy and simple. And these plants can be grown in almost all soil types.
Demand of tulsi products is good, and is also increasing gradually. So, starting commercial tulsi production can be good business for making profits.
Significance of Tulsi in Hinduism
Tulsi is a holy plant for the Hindus. The leaves are part of the worship of Vishnu and his Avatars, and some other deities including Krishna and Rama (and also other male Vaishnava deities such as Hanuman and some brahmans).
Tulsi is a sacred plant for Hindus and is worshipped as the avatar of Lakshmi. Traditionally, tulsi is planted in the center of the central courtyard of Hindu houses or may be grown next to Hanuman temples.
The ritual lighting of lamps each evening during Kartik includes the worship of the tulsi plant, which is held to be auspicious for the home.
Vaishnavas traditionally use prayer beads made from tulsi stems or roots, which are an important symbol of initiation.
Tulsi has such a strong association with Vaishnavas, that followers of Vishnu are known as “those who bear the tulsi round the neck”.
Tulsi Vivah is a ceremonial festival performed anytime between Prabodhini Ekadashi (the 11th or 12th lunar day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Kartik) and Kartik Poornima (the full moon of the month). The day varies regionally.
Health Benefits of Tulsi Tea
Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) has many health benefits. It is miracle plants which is valued for it’s medicinal properties. It has been harvested for use in Ayurveda treatments for 5,000 years and is known as the ‘Queen of Herbs’.
Tulsi has a strong aroma and a flavor that can range from proppery to astringent. There are many uses of tulsi. But you can enjoy tulsi tea as a common method of consuming tulsi for health benefits. Here we are trying to describe about the top health befits of consuming tulsi tea.
- Tulsi has been used for centuries to cure symptoms of various diseases and ailments.
- But it’s power as an adaptogen gets the most notice in modern times.
- Some scientific studies have shown it’s efficacy as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anxiety treatment.
- Tulsi helps to combat respiratory ailments. It may relieve symptoms of colds, congestion, asthma, bronchitis, flu, sore throat, coughs, sinusitis and similar ailments.
- To clear your sinuses, inhale the steam from a fresh cup of tea before you drink it.
- Tulis is helpful and can be used to treat indigestion, intestinal parasites, gastric disorders, ulcers, vomiting and stomach or menstrual cramps.
- It may also reduce pain from kidney stones and could help prevent them.
- Consuming tulsi on a regular basis may lower blood pressure and cholesterol by regulating cortisol levels, and reduces risk of many diseases.
- Tulsi can also help to relieve headaches and may lessen anxiety and depression for some people.
- Regular consumption of tulsi tea may lead to better sleep.
- Tulsi tea may also help to reduce inflammation and relieve the joint pain associated with arthritis.
- Tulsi may kill damaging bacteria in the mouth, resulting in cleaner teeth and fresher breath.
- Drinking tulsi tea on a regular basis can help to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
- It may improve metabolism and promote the efficient processing of carbohydrates and fats.
- Tulsi tea can also alleviate acne, slow the effects of aging, and relieve the itch or sting of bug bites.
- Tulsi tea can modulate the immune system and protect the liver from environmental toxins.
- Tulsi tea is caffeine free and can be safely consumed up to six times a day.
However, tulsi or holy basil has been shown to boost body’s health in a variety of ways. It can help to protect against infection, lower your cholesterol, lower your blood sugar, ease joint pain and protect your stomach. It’s a miracle plant and very helpful for keeping your body in good condition.
Advantages of Tulsi Farming Business
Like many other agribusiness, tulsi farming also has some advantages. Here we are trying to describe the top advantages of tulsi farming business.
- Commercial tulsi cultivation is a pretty different type of agribusiness. Although, many people have already started this business.
- Tulsi products have very good demand in the market, due to it’s medicinal properties. And the demand is increasing gradually.
- Tulsi plants are very strong and hardy. And these plants are generally less susceptible to diseases.
- Planting and other costs are relatively less, but the ROI is very good. And you will get your invested money back within a short period of time.
- Commercial tulsi farming is very profitable. Tulsi crop yields two major products: first, the seeds and other the leaves.
- You can start tulsi farming in almost everywhere with all soil types.
- Commercial tulsi farming business is profitable. So, it can be a good source of employment, especially for the unemployed educated people.
- Whole tulsi plant is medicinal and it has many different uses.
- Tulsi plant purifies air, provide oxygen continuously and it is very good for nature. And you can help nature by growing this holy plant.
How to Start Tulsi Farming Business
Starting tulsi farming is just like starting other crop farming business. It’s very easy and simple, and beginners can also start this business.
Tulsi plants are very hardy and they are less prone to diseases. So, they generally grow very well. Here we are trying to describe more information about starting and operating this business from planting to caring and marketing.
Select a Good Location
Selecting a good location is very important for starting tulsi farming business. Although, tulsi plants can be grown in almost all types of soil.
But fertile soil with high organic content is considered good for growing tulsi plants. Good drainage system is also a must.
The pH range of the soil should be between 4.3 and 8.2. Rich loam, poor laterite, saline, alkaline all these types of soil is good for growing tulsi plants.
You can also use your land which you already have and using for producing other crops.
Tulsi plants grow well in well drained soil. Plough and harrow the land several times to bring the soil to fine tilth, and then mix well rotted manure into the soil.
Climate Requirements For Tulsi Farming
Tulsi plants generally grow well in warm climate, especially in the climatic condition of sub-tropical regions.
Successful germination of the seeds require a temperature of around 20˚C. And the plants require average temperature of 7˚C to 27˚C during the growing period of the plants.
The tulsi plants are susceptible to frost and cold climate. And the plants generally grow well under full sun conditions. They can grow at an altitude of 900 m.
Although, you can grow tulsi plants in shady conditions. But the leaves of the plants grown in such condition are low in oil content.
The plants can’t also tolerate drought conditions, as the tissue of the plant is tender. The minimum annual rainfall required by the plants is around 700 mm.
There are many varieties of tulsi available. But three main morphotypes cultivated in India and Nepal are Ram tulsi, Krishna Tulsi and the common wild Vana tulsi.
Ram tulsi is the most common type of tulsi with broad bright green leaves that are slightly sweet. And the Krishna tulsi is purplish green-leaved.
Some popular varieties which are good for commercial production are Krishna Tulsi, Ram Tulsi, Drudriha Tulsi, Babi Tulsi, Amrita Tulsi, Tukashmiya Tulsi, Kapoor Tulsi and Vana Tulsi. You can select any variety depending on it’s market demand and value in your area.
You can either purchase plants from nurseries or produce the seedlins of your own. If you want to grow the seedlings of your own, then prepare seed beds and sow seeds.
4.5 x 1.0 x 0.2m is a good size for the seed beds. Add organic fertilizers and also some sand with the soil of seed beds. Water the beds immediately after sowing and cover with straw, dry grass clippings or something like this.
You can start planting when the transplants become ready (when they reach between 15 and 20 days of age). Prepare the soil by adding as much organic content as you can before planting.
In Indian weather condition, transplanting is done in the middle of April when seedlings are 6 weeks old and having 4-5 leaves on seedlings.
Water the seedling beds 24 hours before transplanting so that seedlings can be easily uprooted and remain turgid at transplanting time. And also water immediately after planting into the main field.
Tulsi plants are very strong and hardy, and they generally require less caring. Although, taking good care of the plants will be very effective for getting good production and maximum yield. Here we are trying to describe the top caring process in commercial tulsi farming business.
Providing adequate fertilizers to the plants is very important for commercial tulsi farming business. Add as much well rotted farmyard manure as you can and mix well with soil.
Apply fertilizer dose in the form of Nitrogen at the rate of 48kg and Potash at the rate of 24kg and Phosphorus at the rate of 24kg per acre (in form of Urea 104kg, MOP 40kg and SSP 150kg per acre).
Apply half dose of nitrogen and full dose of phosphate pentoxide applied as a basal dose, apply it at the time of transplanting.
Providing adequate irrigation is very important for commercial tulsi farming business. Apply 3 irrigation per month during the summer. But no irrigation is required during the rainy season.
First irrigation should be given after transplanting and then second irrigation is given during seedling establishment. And 12-15 irrigation is required in one year.
Mulching is a good way to keep moisture into the soil. It also help to prevent weeds. You can use organic materials for mulching.
Weeding is very important, because weeds consume nutrients from the soil and your plants will suffer. So, try to control weeds and remove them from your field.
You can do weeding and hoeing for keeping your field free from weeds. Begin weeding one month after planting. Just one hoeing after two months of planting is ideal.
Pests & Diseases
Tulsi plants are very strong and hardy. They are less susceptible to pests and diseases. Common pests and diseases of tulsi plants and their controlling methods are mentioned below.
Pests & Their Control
Common pests of the tulsi plants are leaf rollers and tulsi lace wing.
Tese pests feed themselves on leaves, buds and crops. They seal the surface of the leaves and make them roll or fold.
For controlling this pest, you can spray the whole plants with 300ml Quinalphos in 150 liter water per acre.
Tulsi Lace Wing
These pests feed on leaves and leave excreta which are not good for leaves. Leaves get curls and then whole plant gets dried in initial stages.
For controlling lace wings, spray with Azadirachtin 10,000 ppm conc. at the rate of 5ml per liter of water.
Diseases & Their Control
Tulsi plants are less susceptible to diseases. But common diseases of the plants are powdery mildew, seedling blight and root rot.
This disease is caused by a fungus. These fungus produces powder on leaves and affect wide range of plant.
Spray the whole plant with mancozeb at the rate of 4 grams per liter of water. This will help to get rid of this disease.
It is also a fungal infection that causes seed or seedling to die. Do managed phyto-sanitary method to control this disease.
This disease occur due to poor drainage system. It is also get prevent by managed Phytosanitary method.
You can easily prevent seedling blight and root rot by drenching the nursery beds with Bavistin @1%.
Tulsi is a very fast growing plant. And you can expect to harvest 3 months after transplantation. Harvesting is generally done when there is full blooming period.
When the plant is at least 15cm above the ground, cutting should be done for further regeneration of branches. The leaves are generally used fresh or it is sun dried for future use.
In most cases, the commercial tulsi producers dry the leaves after harvesting. Then steam distillation is done for obtaining tulsi oil.
Then it is packed in airtight bags for transportation. Leaves should be stored in dry places.
Several products are made after processing the herb. Common tulsi products are Tulsi Oil, Tulsi Powder, Tulsi Ginger, Tulsi Capsules and Tulsi Tea.
It’s actually very difficult to tell the exact amount (not only for tulsi but also for all other crops). Yield per acre or hectare actually depends on the crop management practices and soil and cultivar.
But generally, an average yield of 9 to 14 tons leaves per hectare can be achieved. And average yield of tulsi oil per hectare is between 10 and 25 kg.
You have to determine your marketing strategies before starting commercial tulsi farming business. You can look for contract farming with popular herbal companies. Buyback agreement or contract carming of tulsi should be arranged well-before you start growing tulsi for better marketing prospects.
These are the common steps and ways of commercial tulsi farming business. It’s really very easy to start this business, even the beginners can also start. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck & may God bless you!