Basil
shopping: all 4 varieties
Ocimum basilicum

basil

plant overview
basil, king of herbs

Basil is one of the most widely recognized herbs in the world, by scent or appearance. This member of the mint family is excellent fresh or dried in a variety of foods, especially tomato-based dishes. Egyptian basil is particularly good to use for making infused culinary oils.

Clicking "learn more" next to each variety will take you to individual product pages for details.
Basil
01.
A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on basil

description
Basil is part of the Lamiaceae, or mint family, and has a large number of varieties. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates.

The thin, branching root produces bushy stems growing from 1-2 feet high and bearing opposite, ovate, entire or toothed leaves which are often purplish-hued. The two-lipped flowers, varying in color from white to red, sometimes with a tinge of purple, grow in racemes from June to September.

The plant is very aromatic.

common names
& nomenclature

The word basil comes from the Greek basileus, meaning "king"—as it has come to be associated with the Feast of the Cross commemorating the finding of the True Cross by St. Helena, the mother of the emperor St. Constantine.

Alternatively, Nicholas Culpeper notes of basil that it is "an herb of Mars and under the Scorpion, and therefore called Basilicon", relating it to the basilisk, a legendary reptilian creature said to be the king of serpents.

Also known as:
common basil, garden basil, luole, thai basil, st. joseph’s wort sweet basil, tulsi, and arjaka


02.
Where in the World
habitat and range for basil

Basil is originally native to India and other tropical regions of Asia, having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years.

03.
Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting basil

climate
Basil is very sensitive to cold, with best growth in hot, dry conditions.Does well in containers.

soil
Basil prefers a well-drained rich soil.

growing
Basil grows easily from seeds or transplants. The plant can also be propagated very reliably from cuttings with the stems of short cuttings suspended for two weeks or so in water until roots develop.

Be sure to avoid frost and make sure the soil is warm. Basil behaves as an annual if there is any chance of a frost. In sunnier climates it will thrive and may self-sow the next year if you let it go to seed.

harvesting
Leaves can be picked fresh, be sure to pinch off flower buds to encourage more leaf production, otherwise when the plant starts flowering and producing seeds the leaves will be smaller.

preserving
The fresh leaves can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer. Some prefer to blanch the leaves quickly in boiling water before freezing.

Leaves may also be dried and kept whole or chopped. Store in a cool dry place.

04.
The Rest of the Story
basil history, folklore, literature & more

Basil has never become a major healing herb in North America, but around the world, it has been used as frequently in healing as in cooking. The medicinal plant data base at the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows basil has been recommended for just about every conceivable ailment: alcoholism, boredom, cholera, colds, constipation, depression, and on and on.

In the Philippines, basil poultices are applied to ringworm infections, and pregnant women drink basil tea to induce labor. In El Salvador, the herb is placed in the ear to treat deafness. And in Malaya, basil is used to expel intestinal worms and promote menstruation.

Basil oil really does kill intestinal parasites, thus confirming its traditional use in Malaya and lending credence to its age old use as a stomach soother and treatment for a broad range of intestinal ailments.

One animal study shows basil stimulates the immune system by increasing production of disease-fighting antibodies by up to 20 percent. This may help explain its supposed effectiveness against bacteria and its traditional uses in treating many infectious illnesses.

Scientifically prepared basil is more concentrated than even the strongest home infusion or tincture. But if you have become frustrated by the ineffectiveness of other acne remedies try a strong, fragrant infusion or tincture of basil. Apply with a cotton ball to freshly washed skin.

For an infusion, use 2 to 3 teaspoons of organic dried basil leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 to 20 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups a day and enjoy basil's rich, warm aroma and minty, mildly peppery taste.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised: 
you should always consult with your doctor
before making any changes to your diet!!
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