Udaipur : Fed up of the blue bulls antelope (Neel Gai) that often broke into farms and ate away their crops, farmers stopped growing vegetables and traditional crops. They switched over to ‘Tulsi’ cultivation since it didn’t seek much as investment and had no threat from Neelgai. Now these peasants are earning good profits. Tulsi or Holy Basil for being not only a religiously important plant but also having immense therapeutic value, has good market value for its leaves and seeds. The trend which has emerged in last five to eight years is gaining popularity rapidly with hundreds of farmers in Udaipur, Chittorgarh and Pratapgarh districts retorting to tulsi farming.
“ Some years ago, few farmers in Dabok near Udaipur had initiated Tulsi cultivation. They sold basil seeds at the rate of 15 thousand rupees per quintal but now the prices have soared high as a quintal seed fetches 30 to 35 thousand rupees” said Sudhir Verma, a senior officer of the agriculture department. Tea manufacturers are potential buyers of tulsi leaves which is used to produce flavored tea. Tulsi is being grown in vast areas around Bhatewar, Bhinder, Kanore villages to Dhariyawad in Pratapgarh. “ The cultivation doesn’t involves much investment as the seeds that sheds off from the plants lie dormant in the soil and germinate in to new plants that grow into shrubs” Verma said. The farmers have to sell their yields in Neemach and Mandsaur mandis in Madhya Pradesh since there is lack of market here. “Instead of traditional crops farmers are now going in for those demanding less investments and larger returns. Isabgol, Tulsi are such crops for which market needs to be developed ” says Kuldeep Dhakad, an observer in agriculture department.
In Ayurveda, Tulsi is considered useful in the treatment of respiratory system disorders. A decoction of the leaves, with honey and ginger is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, influenza, cough and cold. It reduces total cholesterol levels and hence is useful for heart disease patients. Tulsi also reduces blood pressure. It can protect from radiation poisoning and also heal up damages from it. It acts as a vaccine against pox if consumed regularly. It is anti carcinogenic and it found to be effective in healing nearly all types of cancer and tumors.