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Ocimum tenuifolium (known as Holy basil in English, and Tulasi in Sanskrit), is a well known aromatic plant in the family Lamiaceae. Apart from its culinary uses, for which it is known across the world, it is also used as a medicinal plant, and has an important role within many traditions of Hinduism, wherein devotees perform worship involving Tulasi plants or leaves. Native to India, it is a short lived perennial herb or small shrub, often grown as an annual. The foliage is green or purple, strongly scented. Leaves have petioles, and are ovate, up to 5cm long, usually somewhat toothed. Flowers are white, tinged purple, borne in racemes. Its aroma is distinctively different from its close cousin, the Thai Basil which is sometimes wrongly called Holy Basil, in shops and on the internet, but they can be distinguished by their aroma and flavour. Holy Basil is slightly hairy, whereas Thai Basil is smooth and hairless; Holy Basil does not have the strong aniseed or licorice smell of Thai Basil; and Holy Basil has a spicy flavor sometimes compared to cloves.

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