Basil Leaf (Ocimum spp., including O. americanum (American Basil), O. basilicum, O. citriodorum (Lemon Basil), O. gratissimum (Tree Basil), O. minimum (Bush Basil), O. tenuiflorum (Holy Basil)) Powder Bulk
Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
The genus name Ocimum is derived from the ancient Greek word okimon, "smell." The species name basilicum and the common name basil originate from the Greek basilikon phuton, "kingly," "valiant," or "royal herb." The Sanskrit name tulasi comes from that of Tulasi, wife of Vishnu, who took on the form of this herb when she came to earth.
Range of Appearance
Native to Africa and Asia but now grown as a garden herb worldwide, basil is a bushy annual growing to about 2 feet in height. The deep green leaves are oval and opposite, borned on a square stem. The small white flowers bloom in spikes at the ends of the stem. In the garden, basil prefers full sun, welldraining soil, and moderate water.
Antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, galactagogue, nervine, sedative
Basil stimulates the lungs, warms the body, calms the stomach, and dries dampness. It is used in the treatment of acne, asthma, anxiety, bronchitis, colds, constipation, coughs, depression, diarrhea, drug overdose or withdrawal, dysentery, exhaustion, flatulence, headache, nausea, rheumatism, stomachache, and vomiting. It can be used to encourage the expulsion of the placenta after birthing. Topically, basil is used as a poultice to treat insect bites, acne, and ringworm. It can be made into a gargle or mouthwash to treat thrush or into an eyewash to treat tired eyes. The essential oil can be added to massage oils to soothe sore muscles. Basil also has an energizing aromatherapeutic effect, released by crushing the leaves, using basil as a bath herb, or using the essential oil.
Basil leaf is a supreme culinary herb used in cuisines around the world. (Although O. tenuiflorum is not widely used because of its strong medicinal flavor.) In Thailand, the seeds of some basil species are used as a culinary thickening agent. Basil is also one of the ingredients in the liqueur Chartreuse.
In ancient India basil was considered sacred to Vishnu and his incarnation as Krishna. It was held in such high esteem that it was used in court to swear upon, and basil water was used to bathe the dead. It was believed that no leaf of this herb should be taken without a reason or a prayer for forgiveness. And the ancient Indians weren't the only ones to use basil in sacred death rituals: the ancient Egyptians used it as an embalming herb. In many cultures, basil is considered an herb of protection and one to attract prosperity and luck. In some parts of Mexico, for example, basil carried in one's pocket is thought to attract money and to keep a lover faithful. And in Italy, a woman places a pot of basil on her balcony to signify that she wants to see her lover. Basil essential oil is often included as an aromatic and healing agent in soaps, shampoos, and perfumes. The dried herb can be burned as an incense, while the plant can be used as a strewing herb. In the garden, basil acts as a natural insect repellent; in the home, keeping a pot of basil on the table repels flies, mosquitoes, and cockroaches.
Essential oils (cineol, estragol, eugenol, lineol, linalool, methyl cinnamate), caffeic acid, monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, tannins, beta-carotene, vitamin C
Generally regarded as safe.
Plant details were provided by iPlant by Brigitte Mars.
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