Basil Ocimum basilicum
Ocimum basilicum - Sweet basil leaves
- Common Names
- Basil , Sweet Basil
- Botanical Name
- Ocimum basilicum
Medicinal Uses & Benefits of Basil
- Medicinal Uses: * Aromatherapy
* Facial Care
* Insect Repellent
* Insect/flea Bites
* Longevity Tonics
- Properties: * Antidepressant * Antifungal * Antioxidant * Antispasmodic * Aromatic * Carminative * Diaphoretic/sudorific * emetic * Emmenagogue * Febrifuge * Galactagogue * Nervine * Refrigerant * Stimulant * Stomachic
- Parts Used: leaves, essential oil
- Constituents: camphor, cineole, estragol, (or methyl chavicol),eugenol, linalool, pinene, rosmarinic acid
How to Use: Basil
Basil is one of the best loved culinary herbs for good reason. Like other herbs in the mint family basil settles the stomach, improves appetite, and is a natural disinfectant. Basil is known for its many varieties, many with distinct aromas that come from different qualities in their essential oils contained in the leaves. The strong clove scent of sweet basil comes from eugenol, the citrus scent of lemon basil and lime basil comes from a higher portion of the aldehyde citral and limonene, which gives actual lemon peel its scent. African blue basil has a strong camphor smell because it has camphor and camphene in higher proportions. Anise basil contains anethole, the same chemical that makes anise smell like licorice, and in fact is sometimes called anise basil. All basils are antibacterial and act as good insect repellents, and as Culpepper noted, “Being applied to the place bitten by venomous beasts, or stung by a wasp or hornet, it speedily draws the poison to it”
Basil, Ocimum sanctum, was originally a native plant of India and its use only spread outwards to Europe and the West in the sixteenth century. Ocimum sanctum, or Tulsi as it is known in Hindu, is used in traditional in religious ceremonies and in ayurvedic medicine for common colds, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, and malaria. 1
Whatever culinary delight you are planning, be it pesto or a simple tomato and basil sandwich, the burst of aroma that emanates from fresh basil has an almost magical ability to make you feel happy for no apparent reason. A pot of basil growing in the kitchen window will not only provide zest to winter dishes, it will inspire dreams of spring during the cold, dreary days of winter.
Preparation Methods & Dosage :The uses of basil are limited only by your imagination. The fresh picked leaves make a stimulating and refreshing tea, and in the summer use them on sandwiches just as you would a leaf of lettuce. Crush the leaves and rub a bit on your skin to make a handy remedy for insect bites when you are out tending to the summer garden. To remove a wart, rub basil leaves on the nub daily and cover with a bandage.
Basil : Essential Oil Profile
Basil oil is a light greenish-yellow color and has a sweet, peppery scent. Basil oil has the stimulating properties of mint, and is in the same plant family. Basil is a great oil to burn in aroma lamps while working or reading,it helps you to concentrate and uplifts your mood. In his classic book "The Art of Aromatherapy", (1977), Robert Tisserand praises effects of basil on emotions saying :
“ Oil of Basil is an excellent, indeed perhaps the best, aromatic nerve tonic. It clears the head, relieves intellectual fatigue, and gives the mind strength and clarity. It is uplifting, clarifying, and strengthening.”
In the Kitchen: Mediterranean and Indochinese cuisines frequently use basil, the former frequently combining it with tomato. One of the most well known uses of basil is as one of the main ingredients in pesto.
Purple basil plant
The sweet or bush basil is Ocimum basilicum is the one most used as a condiment. There are about a hundred and fifty varieties of basil, now found through out the world.
How to Grow Basil
There is an old saying that basil brings prosperity and happiness when planted in the garden. Basil is a very satisfying plant for gardeners because a small amount of seeds can reliably produce an abundance of beautiful plants. There is a wide variety of basils, with leaves that range from deep purples, and verdant greens, to tiny, light green bushy plants. In late summer, basil sends up pretty white, purple, or pink flower stalks that bear the tiny seeds. Basil is a carefree plant for the most part not having much trouble with insects and leaf diseases, just give your plants a good amount of sun, and plenty of water and you will be well rewarded. Harvest the topmost leaves, to encourage growth. Harvest the topmost third of the plant before the first frost.
History and Traditions & FolkloreBasil is originally native to India and other tropical regions of Asia, having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years, reached Europe in the sixteenth century.
Basil brings prosperity and happiness when planted in the garden. In Europe, they place basil in the hands of the dead to ensure a safe journey. In India, they place it in the mouth of the dying to ensure they reach God. The ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks believed that it would open the gates of heaven for a person passing on.
an herb of Mars, and under the Scorpion, and perhaps therefore called Basilicon, and it is no marvel if it carry a kind of virulent quality with it. Being applied to the place bitten by venomous beasts, or stung by a wasp or hornet, it speedily draws the poison to it;
Nicholas Culpeper, 1653
- Hoffmann, David . "Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine",(2010-12-15) ,p. 577, 589,337
- Weiss, Gaea and Shandor. "Healing Herbs, The",(1985) Basil in considered a safe and gentle tonic for nursing mothers. Taken as a tea, it helps to expel gas in infants and increases lactation in the mother.