Where: Agra, India

February 3, 2009 : ‘Ocimum tenuiflorum’ or ‘Ocimum sanctum’ is better known as Tulsi in Indian homes. It’s been used for centuries to prepare home remedies to cure coughs, colds and stomach disorders. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine, too. A tulsi plant, grown traditionally in many Indian gardens, is believed to purify the air around it. This has now been confirmed by environmentalists.

The Tulsi plant releases high amounts of oxygen into the atmosphere, and this reduces the harmful effects of industrial pollution.The Uttar Pradesh Forest Department, in collaboration with a Lucknow-based firm Organic India Private Ltd, has launched a program to plant one million Tulsi saplings around the Taj Mahal. The Taj, one of the seven wonders of the modern world, and one of India’s best loved monuments, is showing the ill-effects of chemical emissions. The surface of the white marble monument has been corroded by harmful chemicals released into the air from industries, especially refineries.

Organic India’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Krishan Gupta said Tulsi was one of the best plants to purify the environment. “Till now, nearly 20,000 Tulsi saplings were planted. These saplings will be planted in nature parks near Taj Mahal and throughout Agra.”