Basil Leaf (Ocimum basilicum). The name “basil” is derived from the old Greek word basilikohn, which means “royal,” reflecting that ancient culture’s attitudes towards an herb that they held to be very noble and sacred. The tradition of reverence of basil has continued in other cultures. In India, basil was cherished as an icon of hospitality, while in Italy, it was a symbol of love.
Basil is a restorative, warming herb that relaxes spasms, lowers fever, improves digestion and is effective against bacterial infections and intestinal parasites. Internally used for feverish illnesses (especially colds and influenza), poor digestion, nausea, abdominal cramps, gastroenteritis, migraine, insomnia, low spirits and exhaustion. Externally for acne, loss of smell, insect stings, snake bites and skin infections.
Basil is a highly fragrant plant whose leaves are used as a seasoning herb for many different types of foods. It has become one of the most recognizable herbs ever since pesto, the mixture of basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese, has become popular. Leaves are used with tomato-flavoured dishes, pasta sauces, vegetables, soups and stuffing for duck. Since the oils in basil are highly volatile, it is best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum essence and flavour.
Taste and Aroma
Sweet, bright, pungent, highly fragrant and aromatic.