Rama Tulsi vs Krishna Tulsi: A Complete Comparison

Tulsi, also known as holy basil, is an important medicinal herb in Ayurvedic medicine. There are several varieties of tulsi, with the two most common being Rama tulsi and Krishna tulsi. Both types offer immense health benefits, but there are some key differences between them.

An Overview of Rama and Krishna Tulsi

Rama tulsi is known by several names including Lakshmi tulsi, Sri tulsi, and green leaf tulsi. It has light green leaves and purple flowers. Krishna tulsi, also called Shyama tulsi, has dark green to purple leaves and stems. It is the most commonly grown tulsi variety.

While both Rama and Krishna tulsi are rich in antioxidants and medicinal compounds, they each have their own unique properties. Rama tulsi is known for its cooling and mellow flavor while Krishna tulsi is more potent and spicy.

Let’s take a deeper look at how these two tulsi varieties compare.

Origins and Botanical Classifications

Rama and Krishna tulsi likely originated in different regions of India. Rama tulsi is thought to come from the Northern plains while Krishna tulsi hails from the Southern plains.

Botanically, Rama tulsi is classified as Ocimum tenuiflorum while Krishna tulsi is classified as Ocimum sanctum. However, there is still debate over the taxonomy. Some botanists consider them the same species with different cultivars.

Appearance and Taste

As mentioned earlier, the most noticeable difference between Rama and Krishna tulsi is their appearance.

Rama tulsi has light green leaves that are larger and broader compared to the dark purple, almost black leaves of Krishna tulsi. Krishna tulsi is also more compact and bushy.

When crushed, Rama tulsi releases a more cooling and mellow aroma while Krishna tulsi has an intense, clove-like scent. The tastes also vary significantly. Rama tulsi is sweeter and less spicy while Krishna tulsi has a potent flavor and gives a hot sensation when eaten raw.

Chemical Composition

Both Rama and Krishna tulsi contain high levels of beneficial plant compounds like antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. However, some of the concentrations vary between the two.

Rama tulsi contains higher levels of eugenol, borneol, and camphor which gives it antiseptic properties. Krishna tulsi is richer in rosmarinic acid and apigenin which makes it a powerful antioxidant and anti-allergic agent.

In general, Krishna tulsi tends to have higher concentrations of medicinal compounds overall, making it the more potent variety. But Rama tulsi also contains many therapeutic constituents.

Medicinal Uses and Health Benefits

Thanks to their diverse compositions, both Rama and Krishna tulsi promote health in numerous ways:

Respiratory health – The antioxidants protect the lungs from damage while other compounds like camphor, thymol, and cineole clear congestion and ease breathing. Krishna tulsi is considered more effective for asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory disorders.

Immunity – Rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and antimicrobials, tulsi strengthens the immune system. Krishna tulsi has higher immunomodulatory activity.

Stress relief – Tulsi is an adaptogen that helps balance stress hormones like cortisol. The flavonoids and phytonutrients in Krishna tulsi make it superior for anxiety, fatigue, and cognitive function.

Heart health – The antioxidants in tulsi improve blood circulation and lower bad cholesterol. Rama tulsi may offer greater cardio-protective benefits.

Anti-inflammatory – Eugenol, ursolic acid, and other anti-inflammatory compounds in tulsi ease joint pain, gut inflammation, and skin irritation.

Antimicrobial – Essential oils like eugenol found abundantly in Rama tulsi prevent bacterial, fungal, and viral infection on skin and in the body.

Metabolic health – Tulsi extracts regulate blood glucose, improve metabolism, and prevent metabolic disorders. The polyphenols in Krishna tulsi curb diabetes progression better.

While both varieties have similar benefits, Krishna tulsi is usually considered more potent and effective, especially for respiratory conditions, allergies, immune function, and managing diabetes. Rama tulsi is more suitable for skin infections and gut health. But of course, everyone reacts differently so it’s best to try both and see which one works for you.

How to Use Rama and Krishna Tulsi

Tulsi can be used in many forms:

Fresh leaves – Add 5-6 leaves to tea, juice, food, or take it raw. Krishna tulsi has a strong taste so use less.

Dried powder – Have 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tsp daily added to water, milk, honey etc.

Essential oil – Mix a few drops into carrier oils for massage. Use sparingly.

Capsules or tablets – Take as per package directions, usually 500mg – 1000mg per day.

Tulsi water – Soak tulsi leaves overnight and drink the water in the morning.

Skin and hair care – Make a paste with tulsi leaves and use as a face pack or hair wash.

Krishna tulsi is usually preferred for oral consumption like tea, juice or tablets. Rama tulsi is better suited for topical use given its antimicrobial action. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for guidance on the best way to use tulsi for your condition.

Growing Tips for Rama and Krishna Tulsi

Tulsi can easily be grown indoors or outdoors with some simple care:

  • Plant in a sunny spot in well-draining soil. Krishna tulsi needs partial shade.
  • Water whenever the top inches become dry but avoid overwatering.
  • Apply organic fertilizer occasionally.
  • Prune plants after flowering to encourage new growth.
  • Pick leaves regularly to prevent flowering and maintain yield.
  • Grow Rama tulsi for a steady supply since it lasts 2-3 years. Krishna tulsi may become woody and die sooner.
  • Protect from pests like aphids and caterpillars that can damage the plants.

Is One Variety Better Than the Other?

Both Rama and Krishna tulsi are highly revered for their medicinal value in Ayurvedic practice. However, Krishna tulsi is considered the more powerful and beneficial variety overall.

Some key points that make Krishna tulsi superior:

  • Higher concentration of antioxidants and medicinal compounds
  • Greater antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and adaptogenic properties
  • More effective for respiratory conditions like asthma
  • Better immunomodulatory and anti-diabetic abilities
  • Imparts greater stress and fatigue relief

However, Rama tulsi also has some advantages:

  • Pleasant cooling flavor preferred by many
  • Less strong and bitter taste
  • Possibly better for cardiovascular health
  • Anti-allergic and anti-fungal abilities

So while Krishna tulsi is the more potent medicinal variety, Rama tulsi also offers immense therapeutic benefits. Having both types lets you harness their diverse healing properties.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between Rama and Krishna tulsi?

The main differences are:

  • Rama tulsi has light green leaves while Krishna tulsi has dark purple leaves.
  • Rama tulsi is sweeter and milder in taste while Krishna tulsi is more potent and spicy.
  • Rama tulsi contains higher levels of eugenol while Krishna tulsi contains more antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
  • Krishna tulsi is considered more effective for respiratory conditions, immunity, and diabetes while Rama tulsi is better for skin and gut health.

Which Tulsi is good for home?

For general household use and consumption, Krishna tulsi is usually recommended. The higher concentration of beneficial compounds provides better therapeutic effects. Rama tulsi can also be grown for its pleasant aroma and antibacterial benefits.

How can you identify Rama Tulasi?

Rama tulsi can be identified by its light green leaves and purple stems. The leaves are broad and elliptical in shape. It gives off a cooling, mellow scent when crushed. The taste is mildly sweet.

What are the benefits of Krishna Tulsi?

Some benefits of Krishna tulsi are:

  • Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
  • Boosts immunity and lung health
  • Lowers stress, anxiety, and fatigue
  • Regulates blood sugar and metabolism
  • Protects heart health
  • Has antimicrobial properties that fight infections

What is Shyama Tulsi? How does it compare to Rama Tulsi?

Shyama tulsi is another name for Krishna tulsi. The main differences between Krishna/Shyama and Rama tulsi are:

  • Krishna tulsi has dark green to purple leaves while Rama tulsi has light green leaves.
  • Krishna tulsi has a more intense flavor and greater concentration of medicinal compounds.
  • Rama tulsi has a milder, sweeter taste.
  • Krishna tulsi is considered the more powerful variety, especially for respiratory conditions, immunity, and diabetes.

What is Rama Tulsi used for?

Some of the uses of Rama tulsi are:

  • Treats skin infections – the eugenol gives it antibacterial properties.
  • Improves gut health and digestion.
  • Protects heart health thanks to antioxidants.
  • Has anti-fungal abilities that prevent fungal infections.
  • Alleviates headaches and fever when consumed as tea.
  • Reduces joint pain and inflammation when applied topically.

Final Thoughts

Rama and Krishna tulsi both offer incredible health benefits and healing properties. While Krishna tulsi is more potent and effective, Rama tulsi also has therapeutic value. Including both types in your daily routine provides optimal wellness and protection.