Basil (Ocimum basilicum) medicinal herb is from the mint family and it is a tender
low-growing annual plant. This is also a culinary herb, prominently
featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the
Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The primary parts used for medicine are the leaves and the essential oil
It is known to possess flavoring agent and it is one of the easiest plants to grow because it may be grown indoor as well as outdoor. As a matter of fact, it is a very attractive medicinal plant and can be grown literally anywhere, whether in a garden, windowsill, as well as in pots or pans around the patio or anywhere else around the house.
The medicinal properties are nervine, antifungal, febrifuge, antispasmodic, aromatic, stimulant, carminative, refrigerant, galactagogue, antioxidant, cephalic, digestive, diaphoretic, emetic, stomachic and emmenagogue.
The constituents are linalool, cineole, estragol, pinene, rosmarinic acid, eugenol and camphor.
The history of this medicinal herb is as far back to when wreaths were made from it and these wreaths were found in ancient Egyptian burial chambers in the pyramids. One of its popular names is St. Josephwort. It is one of the most popular herbs amongst the others and it is of the Labiatae family.
The name of this herb means "be fragrant." However, various cultures have a love and hate relationship over this medicinal plant.
Scientific studies have established that compounds in the medicinal essential oil have potent antioxidant, anti-cancer, antiviral, and anti-microbial properties.
The 15th and 16th centuries saw the Venetians, Portuguese, and Spaniards fighting over it and many Europeans were killed.
In India and Sri Lanka, Ocimum basilicum is grown around the temples and is considered a sacred plant. In Spain, pots of it are placed near doors during the summer to keep flies and mosquitoes away. It is most times referred to as a companion herb because when it is place beside vegetables such as tomatoes, it will keep the insects away. Therefore it is useful to plant it beside a vegetable garden as well as a fruit garden. It is useful for insect bites or stings.
It tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, sweet smell. There are varieties which taste like cinnamon, lemon and licorice. The leaves are pungent and sweetly aromatic, similar to cloves, making it an aromatic herb.
The essential oil that is extracted from it, is popularly utilized in aromatherapy. Furthermore, if you see a combination of blended oils for aromatherapy, then there is a good chance that its oil is an ingredient.
The origin of this plant is tropical Asia, Africa, and the Pacific
Islands. Some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including
African Blue and Holy Thai basil. Some people refer to it as the African herb.
Americans as well as Romans cherished it while at the same time Hindus grow it within their places of residence as a sign of happiness.
The name comes from the Greek word "basileum" which means King. So just as how it is known that lion is the king of the jungle, it is known as the king of the medicinal plants. This was probably inherited since it was used as one of the oils to massage kings in historical days.
However, it was subsequently the Greeks that detested it a lot, and also the people from India and Persia were not very keen on it either. One particular region which generated a particular love to this plant was Italy and at the present time very few individuals prepare a classic pasta sauce without this herb.
It is originally native to Iran, India and other tropical regions of Asia. It is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. I personally use it as seasoning when preparing my meat. It is generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor.
There are many
varieties Ocimum basilicum. That which is used in Italian food is sweet, as
opposed to Thai and holy basil, which are used in Asia. The most
common ones however are the sweet and Genovese basil.
The fresh leaves can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water.
It is used for diarrhea, urinary tract inflammations, menstruation pains. It is also used to extract poisons from insect and snake bites, stops vomiting and eases stomach cramps. It is excellent to treat irregularities of the monthly menstrual cycle as well as lessen the attacks of menstrual cramps.
It is traditionally used for supplementary treatment of stress, asthma and diabetes in India. It will also promote concentration, alleviate headaches, head congestion as well as migraine headaches.
Three drops of the oil is a good medicinal herbal remedy for pains in the muscle, arthritis, earaches, sinusitis, fatigue, stress, anxiety, upset stomach, cold and fever as well as loss of appetite.
Use two teaspoonfuls steeped in a cup of hot water and take one cup per day. Most herbs can now be purchased at stores worldwide. The tea can alleviate headaches and calms the nerves.
It is usually associated with good spirits and planted around the house for protection. It is attractive when planted in an herb garden. It can also be grown in a windowsill planter, a container, on the patio as well as on a deck. It can also be grown indoors during the winter season.
This medicinal herb is good to keep away mosquitoes and other insects, so it is indeed a worthwhile plant to be planted around the yard.
It is good remedy to grow the hair as well as thickening the body of the hair. This is effective for the hair because basil can promote hair growth just by simply stimulating the scalp. Combine a tablespoon of the herb as well as half of cup of olive oil in a container suitable for microwave. Heat in microwave for thirty seconds. Then allow to slightly cool and massage into scalp leaving it on for fifteen minutes, after which shampoo the hair.
It is much better to grow it in sunny areas. The best soil condition for it should be moist to slightly dry. It loves a moist soil. It is mainly grown from seeds and they can be sown up to ten inches apart if that is more suitable for you, as well as they can be sown in clumps. Fertilizing it once per month is generally accepted and especially in the Caribbean where it is mostly dry times, we water it once per week.
It can be replanted. In other words it can be moved from one spot to
the other. I have tried it and it worked, once it is cared for. Basil medicinal herb
is by far one of the best medicinal herbs to have around.
Updated January 30, 2016
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