Common name: Common Basil
Latin name: Ocimum basilicum
Other names: Basil, garden basil, holy basil, sweet basil
Family: Laminaceae (mint family)
Habitat: The plant is native to tropical areas of Asia. Grows well in rich moist soils, with plenty of sun.
Description: Basil is a low-growing (30-100 cm), annual plant. It has a square, slightly hairy stem and ovate, entire to slightly toothed leaves. Leaves vary in color: from bright green to dark purple. Flowers also vary in color: white, pink or red. They appear along the leaf axils, during August and September.
Useful components: Camphor, cineole, estragol, eugenol, linalool, pinene
Parts used: Leaves, seed.
Medicinal use: Basil has many uses. It is considered to be antibacterial, antifungal, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic, refrigerant etc. The plant is generally used in treatments of problems concerning digestion and nervous system. Leaves are taken (fresh or dried) in cases of fevers, abdominal cramps, gastro-enteritis, constipation, nausea and poor digestion. Tea prepared from the leaves is considered to obviate mild nervous tension, headaches and nausea. Water boiled with basil leaves is taken in case of sore throat. Decoction of the leaves acts as a helpful remedy in treatment of respiratory disorders. Juice of basil leaves promotes expulsion of kidney stones. Chewing on basil leaves on a daily basis can act as a significant protection against stress, ulcer and mouth infections. Plant is also useful in reduction of blood cholesterol.
Safety: Some herbs could react with certain medication. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor before consumption of any herb.