Description: Some 35 species of aromatic annuals, all are rich in volatile oils and most, if not all, of which are easily used for incense. It's common name, basil, is said to be associated with basilisk, a mythical serpent-like creature whose glance and breath were fatal, because it was believed that basil could turn into scorpions. Still others note the origin of its name to be from the Greek 'basilicon', meaning royal.
One species, Ocimum tenuiflorum, is a sacred plant in India and is grown in most Hindu homes and around temples for its protective influence. It's said holding basil protects against thunder and wearing a string of beads made from basil stems wards off infections and induces religious tendency and longevity. In the tropical Americas and Caribbean, species of basil are used to repel mosquito's.
Basil can be easily grown in your garden or potted and grown indoors.
Synonyms: sweet basil, Genovese basil
Origin: tropical Asia and Africa, now cultivated worldwide
Parts Used: fresh or dried leaves
Aroma Description: sweet-spicy, slightly green, fresh, with faint woody and balsamic undertones
Cosmetic Uses: perfumery, aromatherapy
Culinary Uses: leaves are used to flavor salads, soups, meat dishes, pasta sauces, vegetables, herb oils and vinegars, stuffing's, etc. Seeds are soaked in water, mixed with coconut milk and sugar as a cooling drink.
Medicinal Attributes: antibacterial, restorative, warming herb; reduces fevers, relaxes spasms, improves digestion, fights intestinal parasites, used to treat skin infections, loss of smell, insomnia, migraine headaches, low spirits and anxiety. Its oil is used in dental products and insect repellants.
Element Association: Fire
Astrological Association: Scorpio
Planetary Association: Mars
Aromatic Note: Middle note
Essential Oil: Yes, the leaves are steam distilled. Two types are created, Sweet Basil oil (US or European grown) and Réunion Basil oil (grown in Comoro Islands, Seychelles, Madagascar).
*Note: The essential oil may cause irritation for some people.
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