The basil , whose scientific name is Ocimum basilicum , is an aromatic plant that blooms annually, and belongs to the family of Lamiaceae . It was considered by biologists as native to India, although there are records from millennia ago in Iran and other areas of tropical Asia.Basil is recognized for its particular aroma, pleasant to the smell . It sprouts small white flowers, which indicate when this plant has reached maturity. It can grow up to a meter in height in its wild form , and up to half a meter as an ornamental plant. It tends to spread wide and give small buds around itself.

In many places, basil is considered a poisonous plant or with mystical powers, therefore it is used to carry out spells, incantations and offerings to deities of different religions.

What is basil good for?

Basil is an edible plant that is used mainly as a flavoring food, in stews and as an ornamental plant. A variety of uses and benefits are attributed to it , from its earliest applications by the natives of India.

It serves to:

  • Add to food
  • Make perfumes
  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce skin discomfort
  • Provide chlorophyll
  • Nourish the body
  • Treat common ailments
  • Soothe pains
  • As an expectorant
  • Carry out rituals

Add to food

The main function of basil is nutritional, as it is a fragrant herb. It is added as a condiment , and it is especially appreciated in Italian cuisine , where it is the quintessential seasoning of various dishes.

It is an ingredient in tomato sauces and olive oil pestos. In other regions of the world, it is also added to sauces and dressings for roasts and pasta.

In the kitchen, basil serves as a substitute for oregano ( Origanum vulgare ) in recipes for which it was not possible to obtain it.

Make perfumes

Basil is an edible herb that is also often used as a flavoring and decoration.

Basil, if subjected to an extraction process with organic solvents , delivers an essential oil as a product , in large quantities. This oil contains linalool and estragole , highly aromatic chemicals used in perfumery.

The estragole , meanwhile, is also used in the food industry for flavoring foods, especially savory sauces, condiments, bouillon powder and meat tenderizers.

However, it is noted that estragole is considered by the scientific community as a potent carcinogen . Therefore, the consumption of a high dose of basil oil is not recommended.

Reduce stress

Basil is scientifically proven to contain adaptogenic substances , which help lower stress levels in patients who inhale the herb. For this reason, it is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a “plant for happiness”.

Chewing basil leaves is believed to help reduce anxiety and stress, as it helps flush out toxins, improving the mood of consumers.

Reduce skin discomfort

Because of its tannins and glycosides, basil is used to reduce skin discomfort, such as insect bites and ringworm . Generally, in traditional medicine, it is used in the form of a poultice or poultice , using the juice of the plant or a concentrated infusion of it (not including its root), to soak the compresses.

Provide chlorophyll

Basil contains chlorophyll , a characteristic chemical of plant species, which helps reduce body odors and halitosis. For this reason, it is used in the manufacture of homemade or herbal mouthwashes . In addition, there is evidence that chlorophyll helps reduce the risk of some types of cancer.

Nourish the body

Basil is a plant species rich in vitamins and minerals. In its composition, vitamin C stands out , which helps to strengthen the immune system , preventing respiratory diseases.

It has a ratio of 1.6g of fiber for every 100g of the plant, so it promotes optimal digestion. The process of absorption of nutrients and water is accelerated, and the arrival to the later organs of the digestive system.

Treat common ailments

Basil has been associated with alternative medicine treatments since time immemorial. Its glycosides help alleviate the effects of common diseases.

Its traditional uses include its application to alleviate mild ailments such as:

  • Fever
  • Common cold
  • Tos
  • Nasal congestion
  • Throat pain
  • Mild liver problems

Soothe pains

This plant has soothing properties in addition to its pleasant aroma and flavor.

Due to its tannin content, basil is used in herbal medicine as a light astringent in problems such as:

  • Painful menstruation
  • Mild stomach pain

As an expectorant

Thanks to the saponins it contains, basil helps to thin the consistency of the mucous membranes to facilitate their expectoration.

Carry out rituals

There are mystical beliefs that attribute to basil the ability to protect wealth in a home, and to attract good fortune.

Basil cultivation

Growing basil is relatively simple, as it does not need special conditions in the soil. It occurs naturally around other trees that can provide moisture and shade . It also survives high temperatures.

Grown domestically , it can be sown in any type of soil and kept in a place where it does not get direct sunlight. Make sure you get plenty of fresh air.

Basil consumes a lot of water, so it is recommended that people plant it at home to water it in the morning, before the sun reaches its optimum point, and in the afternoon, when the sun goes down. This prevents the solar heat from evaporating the water so quickly.

Basil is a plant sensitive to cold seasons, so it is recommended to keep it at home or protect it from outside conditions.

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