CHENNAI: Mosquitoes are said to be one of the most dangerous creations on Earth, killing millions of human every year by spreading diseases such as Malaria, Dengue, etc.
The World Health Organisation reports that more than 50 per cent of world’s population is at high risk due to mosquito-borne diseases.
Most animals are allergic to the mosquito bite. A dozen herbs are recommended as repellents in order to protect the animals/humans from mosquitoes. One such important species is the Camphor Tulsi, botanically known as Ocimum kilimandscahricum Guerke, belonging the Lamiaceae family.
The plant has a perennial under-shrub, reaching up to 1 m in height. Stems are usually 4-angled; branches are tender with dense, spreading hair. Leaves are simple, opposite, and up to 8 cm long and 3 cm broad, with narrow ends.
The leaf base is unequal, hairy on both surfaces, with a strong odour of Camphor when bruised. The inflorescence is spiky, more than 10 cm long and densely hairy. Flowers are white, about 1 cm long and six in a whorl. Fruits are nutlets. In all vernacular languages, it is known as Karpur Tulsi.
The leaves of this species are used against Malaria and different types of stomach aches. It is planted or cultivated throughout India. However, natural occurrence of this species has been reported from the states of Odisha and Uttarakhand.