Dutch: Basilicum, German: Basilikum, French: Basilic
Mint family Labiatae
Basil is a sensitive one-year plant. It can grow till approximately 45 cm high and 30 cm broad.
The stems are hairy, square, and light green to red on the basis. The leaves are large, oval, pointy and bright green, with a warm and also fresh and strong smell.
Basil is an important herb for culinary use.
The plant flowers in the late summer with small, whitish flowers, in clusters of six flowers.
Cultivate Basil yourself.
Basil grows best on a warm and sunny place, protected against wind, frost and the burning sun of the afternoon. The soil should be preferably well drained and humid.
In north European countries the flowers can be removed because the plant will not produce seed. The advantage of cutting the flowers is that the plant keeps its bushy shape and produces more leaves for you to harvest.
To multiply Basil the seeds can be sown in soil at a warm place.
When the frost period is over, the plant can be placed outside in pots or directly in the soil.
Avoid that the seedlings get too much water, because it could make them rot.
Put the seedlings at a distance of 20 cm from each other, avoid replacing them later. Always water the plant in the afternoons, not of the evenings. Spray the leaves on hot days. Basil also grows excellent indoors.
The name Basil is probably derived of the Greek word Basileus.
The meaning of Basileus is king or royal. Basil is also called kings herb.
Basil originates from India.
In India Basil is a holy herb that is planted close to temples. Basil is devoted to different Hindu gods.
The inhabitants of India also chose this herb to swear their oath on in court.
Also the Egyptians knew this plant. In several tombs garlands of Basil leaves were found. The Greeks knew Basil as a medical herb.
Because it is believed that Basil grew around the tomb of Christ after his resurrection, some Greek-orthodox churches use Basil to prepare their holy water and also put some pots of basil on the altar.
Already since the 12th century Basil is cultivated in the south of France.
If a lady in Italy wanted to find a partner, she could indicate this by putting a pot with basil in front of her window. If a boy in Romania gave a twig of basil to a girl, he had been immediately engaged with her. In Haiti Basil is an attribute of the vodun goddess of love Erzulie.
On the countryside of Mexico, Basil is sometimes carried in the pocket against losing money and to get back a disloyal lover.
There are more then 150 varieties of basil, including the basil varieties that of originates from South-America.
Drive away flies by putting pots of Basil on the windowsill.
Add an extract of the flowers and the leaves to your bath water for a reinforcing bath.
Character and Effects.
Diuretic, Fever fighting, Calming, Anti-Bacterial, Disinfecting, Fungicidal and Anti-spasm.
Basil can bring relief from cold, cough, asthma, hidden paranasal sinus, headache, arthritis, rheumatism and fever. Basil essential oil can kill stomach-intestine parasites and is because of this property recommended for intestine problems, parasites and stomach ache.
A compress can help against ring worm infections.
Basil can be drank as a tea.
Furthermore Basil can be inhaled and become used as a massage oil.
Applications with the ethereal oil.
The ethereal oil of Basil can be well combined with:
Camphor, Rosemary, Ceder oil, Tea tree, Geranium, Citronella grass, Juniper Berry, Lemon
Eucalyptus, Mirrh, Lavender, Bergamot, Limon and sage oil.
Basil oil is a stimulating oil that ease mental tiredness, clarifies the mind and improves the concentration.
It works as a mucolytic and as a disinfectant. Because of these properties it is used for conditions on the respiratory tract, hidden paranasal sinus, chronic cold, inflammation in the frontal sinus and Pertussis (whooping cough).
Because of the anti-spasm properties of Basil it is used for stomach ache, disturbances of the digestion and queasiness.
The oil can ease arthritis and gout.
Basil oil is famous as one of the best nerve strengthening ethereal oils.
Here you can find a few applications of the ethereal oil of Basil.
Against canker sores (aphthous ulcer), inflammations in the mouth and sensitive gums.
Put 5 drops of Basil oil in a glass of boiled water and gargle using this 2 or 3 times a day.
Against stomach ache.
Mix 5 drops Basil, 5 drops Anise, 5 drops Mint and 10 drops Fennel in 50 ml basis oil. Massage the belly several times with this mixture.
Against a mat or oily skin.
Mix 5 drops of Basil oil in a glass of boiled water and dab this on the face 2 times a day.
Put 1 drop of Basil oil on a cotton bud and dab this on the warts 2x a day.
Against insect bites.
Put 2 drops of Basil oil on a humid cotton and dab this on the bite.
Against fear for examination.
Before the examination, take a bath with 2 drops of Basil oil and 2 drops of Lavender oil.
Put some drops of Basil oil on a handkerchief and inhale regularly during the examination.
An example of a available ethereal oil, is the Basil oil Zonnegoud.
Active components in the Ethereal oil
beta-caryophyllene, beta-elemene, isocaryophyllene
Not terpenic and terpenic alcohols:
cis-3-hexanol, linalool 40-45%, phenchol 6-12%
eugenol (5.5-5.6% and sometimes up to 12%)
methyl-chavicol 2.5-7%, eugenol-methyl ethether 0.75%
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Be carefully with the use of Basil during pregnancy, because it can arouse menstruation and contractions.
The most ethereal oils cannot be taken internally without risk.
Use ethereal oil only internal if you have sufficient knowledge or if you consulted a (homeopathic) physician. In general however the effects of external use are stronger than internal use. The ethereal oil can cause skin irritation.
For culinary purposes the leaf of Basil is used.
You can crush the leaf with oil or tear the leaf with the fingers and chop it to add it to a dish.
You can also add the leaves to boiled dishes at the last minutes.
The herb is also delicious when sprinkled over salads and cut tomatoes.
The spicy smell of Basil combines well with garlic.
Basil is also used to in many Mediterranean dishes and to spice different kinds of vinegar.
Basil fits well in the following dishes:
Lamb, Veal, Chicken, Salads, Tomato-, Vegetable- and Chicken soup.
Recipe for Pesto.
Pesto is used to prepare all sorts of dishes.
For instance it is suitable to prepare soup, spaghetti or other pasta dishes and to prepare pizza's.
The recipe for pesto differs sometimes but the ingredients are mostly the same.
You can adapt the recipe to your own taste.
45 grams Basil
4 cloves of Garlic
30 grams pine nuts
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Pepper and salt
Peel the garlic and cut them in small pieces.
Mash the garlic, pine nuts and Basil in a blender or mortar.
Add the cheese and oil.
Add pepper and add salt according your taste.
With this recipe you can make your own pesto. It is also for sale in some shops.
You can store the pesto by freezing it or to put it under oil.
For instance you can freeze it as ice cubes and thaw them when necessary.
. Bremness, Lesley;- The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs - Fifth edition; Studio (1994). ISBN 0140238026
. Dr. C. Norman Shealy; - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies - First edition; Element Books Ltd. (2000). ISBN 186204516X