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Basil Farming Information Guide For Beginners

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Basil Health benefits & its Cultivation

Basil plants are known to be the best herb in the kitchen garden because of its numerous benefits & uses. The term Basil comes from a Greek word meaning ‘royal’. It has over 60 varieties which includes sweet basil, lemon basil, holy basil, and curly basil of which the holy basil known as ‘tulsi’ is considered to be a sacred herb and has a long history of religious & medical use in India and is believed to be very protective and healing.

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Basil is used to add flavor to many dishes but it has many health benefits and is well known for its immunity enhancing properties. It is ideal for fighting against inflammatory diseases, cancer, bacterial and viral infections, stress, cardiovascular problems, etc and it also facilitates normal liver functioning and acts as a natural aphrodisiac.

It is grown in abundance in India and has been cultivated for more than 5000 years. It is a very tender plant which is mostly used in Italian cuisine with a very relaxing smell and has pungent, strong or even sweet type of taste varieties. It is an aromatic medicinal plant.

It is cultivated as a culinary herb, as a condiment, as a spice in both dried and frozen forms, and even as an essential aromatic oil to use in foods, flavors and fragrances. The plant is used in Ayurvedic medicines. Hence, basil farming has gained so much popularity these days.

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Here in this article we will learn about its Cultivation and Health Benefits.

General Introduction of Basil plants

Basil or Ocimum basilicum of the Lamiaceae family is a very sacred and remarkable herb. The Holy basil known as ‘Tulsi’  which is known to be the ‘queen of herbs’ is found in most Indian households where they have a dedicated space for it at the entrance of their homes and they worship it. The sweet basil is added to many cuisines such as Thai, Indian and Italian. It acts as an immunity booster and works wonders being a very beneficial herb.

Basil contains Vitamins A & K, Iron, Manganese, Calcium and essential oils with goodness of antioxidants including beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, lutein and beta-carotene. The essential oil of this plant contains Eugenol, Methyl Eugenol, Chavicol, Alamycin, Merceten and Phenyl Cinnamate.

The oil is used to create perfumes, household cleaners and many dental care products because it has the ability to act as an antibacterial and antimicrobial agent that fights germs and bacteria. The Holy Basil has at least 6 different essential oils that have been identified within its seeds, roots, leaves and stem.

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It is an erect herbaceous annual plant that grows upto 50cm tall in a bushy shape and even longer. The leaves are round, spotted and petiolate with irregular margins, short at the base and narrow at the top, long, pointed, green or reddish-purple in color. They have white flowers and the fruit shells are inverted with hairy teeths. They are grown in the warm summer months.

Varieties of Basil plants

The plant comes in a range of varieties and sizes and there are some significant botanical differences between various types.

Some of the varieties include:

  • Sweet basil
  • Lemon basil
  • Italian or curly basil
  • Holy basil (Tulsi)
  • Thai basil
  • Lettuce or leaf basil

Each variety has a different flavor and smell depending upon the unique chemical components and the amount of essential oils present in them.

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Varieties of Tulsi

The main varieties in India are:

  • Purple type or Krishna Tulsi
  • Green type or Sri Tulsi

Health Benefits of Basil plants

Basil plants have many positive effects including:

  • Anti inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Cancer fighter
  • Pain reducer (analgesic)
  • Fever reducer (antipyretic)
  • Diabetes preventer
  • Liver protector (hepatoprotective)
  • Blood vessel protector
  • Antistress solution
  • Immune booster

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Here we will see some health benefits of Basil plants.

  1. Basil contains Antioxidants that fight diseases – It contains flavonoid antioxidants such as orientin and viceninare that help in protecting white blood cells that are responsible for immune function and cellular structures where DNA is stored.
  2. Anti-inflammatory – The enzyme inhibiting oils help in lowering inflammation which is the root cause of many diseases like heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions.
  3. Fights Cancer – it helps in naturally preventing cancer including skin liver oral and lung cancer.
  4. Antibacterial properties – The essential oil helps in protection against harmful bacterial growth and helps in fighting antibiotic-resistant illnesses and infections.
  5. Antimicrobial properties – It exhibits antimicrobial activity against a wide range of bacteria, yeast, moulds and viruses and protects against viruses and various forms of skin irritation.
  6. Combats stress – It acts as a natural adaptogen that helps the body adapt to stress and normalise the harmful effects of different stressors.
  7. Heartburn – The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties assist the muscles to relax and contract and maintain healthy blood pressure in a person.
  8. Liver – It helps in detoxification and decreases the fat build inside the liver that causes non alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  9. Digestion – It benefits the digestive and nervous system ensuring optimal digestion and proper pH balance in the body.
  10. Skin benefits – The healing essential oils help in cleansing your skin from deep inside and it also removes impurities, dirt and grease that clog your skin pores.

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  • Diabetes management – It slows down the process of sugar release in the blood and helps you in managing diabetes including hyperinsulinemia, excessive body weight etc.
  • It helps in dissolving kidney stones.
  • It helps in quitting smoking.
  • It helps in respiratory disorders.

Commercial Cultivation of Basil plants

The cultivation is based on the following factors.

  • Land preparation

The field should be ploughed 2 or 3 times with local plough or tractor and add 15 tonnes of farmyard manure in the soil. Avoid waterlogging in the soil.

  • Climate Requirement

Basil plants can be grown in a wide variety of climates including tropical & subtropical conditions. For best growing, it requires long days with high temperature but can also thrive in partially shaded conditions but the content of oil decreases. The annual rainfall should be moderate with humid conditions for better yielding.

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  • Soil Requirement

The plant can grow in a wide range of soils but rich sandy loam soil is good for its cultivation as it has good internal drainage. The alkaline, saline and waterlogged soils should be avoided because it requires well drained soil with good organic matter and soil pH must be 5.5 to 7.0 for ideal growth.

  • Propagation

Basil plants propagate in two types: seed propagation and vegetative propagation.

  • Seed propagation – The seedlings can be raised from nursery beds and you can also use a seed tray for propagation from seeds. The soil should be prepared to a fine tilth with 25 to 30 cm depth. The seeds are mixed in the sand in the ratio 1:4 and it is shown in beds eight weeks in advance of the monsoon. The germination period is one to two weeks and the seedlings can be transplanted to the main field in about 6 to 7 weeks.
  • Vegetative propagation – The terminal cuttings with 8 to 10 nodes and 10 to 15 cm length is planted in well prepared nursery beds or in Polythene bags and it can be transplanted in about 4 to 6 weeks in the field maintaining 40 cm row to row space.
  • Seed Rate

120 gm per acre or 300 gm per hectare on average

  • Manure & Fertilizers

During land preparation, 15 tonnes per hectare or 6 tonnes per acre of farmyard manure is added in the soil. Along with this, 48kg Nitrogen, 24kg P2O5, and 24kg K2O is applied per acre of land. During the basal dose entire amount of Potassium and Phosphorus is added along with half Nitrogen and farmyard manure and rest amount of Nitrogen is added in split doses after the first and second cuttings.

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  • Irrigation

After transplanting, irrigation should be followed instantly and it should be carried 2 times a week for 1 month and thereafter at weekly intervals based on rainfall & soil moisture. Irrigation is not required during the rainy season but the water should drain well during this period.

  • Weed Control

These plants become very bushy so it requires only 2 weedings to control the weeds. The first weeding is carried out after one month of planting and the second weeding is done after 2 months of planting and after each harvest the weeding is carried out to avoid any weeding growth. After every two months of planting one hoeing is recommended.

  • Pests & Diseases

The major pest found is Leaf rollers, and common diseases are – Powdery mildew, root-rot, and seedling blight.

To prevent them, following measures should be taken:

  • Spray Methyl (1%) or Malathion (0.2%) for leaf rollers as soon as it is noticed.
  • For powdery mildew disease, spray wettable sulphur (0.3%).
  • Apply mercurial fungicide (0.1%) in nursery beds.
  • Use phytosanitary measures for controlling root rot and seedling blight disease.

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  • Harvesting

The crop is harvested when it is at its full bloom stage and it is ready to harvest after three months of planting. The plants are cut at least 15 cm above the ground level to ensure regeneration of the crops for future harvest. The second harvest is carried out after a 70 – 75 days interval. For obtaining good yield and oil content, the cuttings are preferred on sunny days.

  • Yield

The yield depends on the management practices, soil and the variety of plant used. On an average 9000 to 14000 kg of leaves per hectare can be achieved. It contains oil of about 0.2 % and the expected essential oil yield is about 10 to 25 litres per hectare on average.


Basil cultivation gives you an inspiring margin even to small farmers so you can start commercial Basil growing for profits if the climatic condition of your locality fits with the growing conditions.

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The fresh leaves are traded throughout the world and it contains essential oil which is useful against insects and bacteria and it is also a major ingredient in processing various fragrant and aromatic products including many medicinal properties as well.

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