If there was a restriction to have just one herb in the garden, the selection would be for thulasi.
There are a few varieties of this herb, I have seen three, one is the regular light shaded leaf and the other is the darker leaf and the third is the sweet leafed thulasi called stevia.
I have got to read on stevia, and chanced to see it at yercaud at a herbatorial nursery, called as seeni thulasi in the vernacular, it is getting world wide attention now, and even by the cola industries who want to substitute it for the poisonous aspartame that is being used in their drinks.
The leaves are soo sweet it can be used as an alternative for sugar, with no calorie or bad effects on the body
The garden in our street has a few of these dark and light coloured thulasi plants, and we get to see the dasans(sanyasins) offer it to the devotees during this puratasi month, when families fast and avoid meat during this whole month. ( well any thing to start on the way to turning vegetarianism)
There was even an article how this helps in leeching out mercury from our body, which has been absorbed from a variety of chemical foods and medicines. (let your imaginations wander as where all it is there, in the products we use)
Very soon such herbal preparations which find their way to western and European markets are going to get stopped, with the recent trade acts stopping herbs and herbal preparations as medicines, I hope such acts don’t get passed in
Till then we will continue to keep ourselves healthy with this herb, and many more like this in our natural garden streets.