Common Name: Basil Herb / Great basil herb / Tulsi / Holy basil / Sweet basil / Basileus phuton
Title: Herb of poverty, King of herbs
Botanical Name: Ocimum Basilicum
* Historical and cultural background
Traditionally Basil herb has a huge interesting historical reputation due to its magical power. In a spiritual context, it is used to get rid of evil spirits, cheer the soul and peace sustenance.
It is said that Basil was used to check the innocence of a girl. This herb was handed over to the suspected women in front of a crowd awaiting any changes. If it shrank or wrinkled in her hand, she was labeled as impure.
In ancient Egypt, Basil was employed to mummify the dead bodies so as to avoid further body decay. Another ancient fame about this mysterious herb is its popularity as a “herb of poverty". Earlier it was considered as a symbol of purification, protection, love and eternal life. People used to grow it in their homes for protection. Furthermore, they sow it around the temples, shrines, and graveyards to safeguard dead people in their afterlife.
* Native countries
This annual Basil herb is a member of the mint family that is cultivated all around the world due to its rich history and vast culinary uses. However, the major producer of this amazing perinnial is North America followed by India, Pakistan, Iran, Thailand, China, Africa, Malaysia, Australia, Italy and some Mediterranean regions.
*Taste and aroma
Basil herb has huge importance due to its highly refreshing aromatic and flavourful tiny leaves.
The beautiful fresh green leaves have a distinct minty aroma with a slightly peppery kick. These healthy foliage have the potential to deliver enormous rich flavour. The typical floral and sweet smell of Tulsi is due to the presence of a volatile aromatic compound called eugenol and linealol. It gets most of its dominating taste due to their essential oils. It is a perfect balance of soft sweet to warm peppery flavour with herbaceous pungent smell.
This peculiar herb is a delicacy when it comes to enhancing the flavour and smell of savoury dishes. It conveys a mystic feel to your kitchen. It can be used in
- Making pesto
- Pasta sauce
- Tomato sauce
- Pizza topping
- Vegetable flavouring
- Basque chicken
- Basil ice cream
- Basil cake
- Deviled scrambled eggs
- Omelet filling
- Garnishing soups
- Summer cocktails
- (tea, juice, milkshakes )
Health benifits and medicinal properties
Basil seeds have an enormous amount of health and medical benefits. It is known to
- Combat stress
- Lower blood pressure (By blocking calcium channels)
- Improves heart health (By controlling cholesterol level)
- Improves digestion (by increasing metabolism)
- Improves gut mobility ( By providing high fiber content)
- Fights with diseases ( Due to antibacterial property)
- Improves eyesight ( Due to Vitamin A)
- Fight with asthma, flu and cough symptoms ( By removing phlegm from bronchial)
- Strengthen the immune system and helps to protect against cancer
Other than cooking, basil is a useful industrial ingredient for making cosmetics.
- It is reputed to nourish, repair, calm, smooth, and brighten the complexion. Therefore, it is an important ingredient for Ayurvedic whiting cream.
- It is used as an antidote for an insect bite.
- Holy basil oils are famous pickup ingredients in making royal perfumes.
StorageIt can be stored in a cool dry place to prolong its freshness and shelf life. Fresh basil can last for 5-7 days. Dried Basil can be kept in a kitchen drawer or a pantry away from direct sunlight. This will prolong its
freshness for around 2 years. It comes in special resealable bags from Leena Spices New Zealand especially made for this purpose.