Basil, also called great basil or Saint-Joseph’s-wort, is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae. Basil is native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia. It is a tender plant, and is used in cuisines worldwide.

Most common ways Basil is used in culinary dishes:

The most common use of basil is for cooking, such as in tomato sauce, pesto, or vinegars. But it also can be sprinkled over salads and sliced tomatoes, either wholeor chopped. Actually, don’t chop the leaves, but tear them instead for the most flavor.

Health Benefits of Basil

Basil is said to be good for digestion.  It has anti-inflamatory properties.  Basil battles free radical activity in the body.   Basil’s powerful oil helps cleanse the skin from within.  Basil’s essential oil may help manage depression and anxiety too.  Consumption of basil could result in slow release of sugar in the blood, which is very essential for diabetics. Basil’s strong detox properties may do wonders for your liver health.  Basil also helps restore the body’s natural pH levels and feeds healthy bacteria within the gut microflora. A healthy gut flora increases immunity and promotes healthy digestion.  The essential volatile oil of basil has been seen as a traditional remedy to treat a variety of tummy problems in addition to indigestion.

Other common uses for Basil as a dietary supplement or treatment.

Basil has been used to alleviate a headache.  A facial steam with dried basil leaves may help soothe a headache. To reap the benefits, add a tablespoon of dried basil leaves to 2 cups of boiling water in a large pot. Carefully lean over the pot, cover your head with a towel and breathe in the steam for 5 to 10 minutes. The headache should start to subside. Others use Basil to soothe stings and bites. For insect stings and bites, chew on a basil leaf and apply it to the bite to help relieve the pain and draw out the venom.  Basil can also be used to soothe an ear infection. The essential oil of basil contains antibacterial properties and may be used to help alleviate an ear infection.

Substitutions for Basil in Receipes

In a pinch Basil can be switched out with Oregano and Thyme.

Storage Tips for Basil 

Fresh basil lasts about five to seven days, while ground and dried lasts about two to three years. To keep basil fresh, trim the stems and place them in a glass or jar of water, just like cut flowers. Loosely cover it with a plastic bag and leave it on the counter. Although certain herbs, such as parsley and cilantro, can be stored this way in the fridge, basil does better at room temperature.

Our standard word of caution….

As with anything.  Every person and body is different.  Interactions are not likely but depending on diet, other suppliments or medicines taken one shouldnt blindly ingest Angelica.  Though reactions or concerns are highly unlikely it is recommended and just plain good advice to consult with your doctor prior to using, trying or adding to your routine.  A little moderation is usually best and overdoing anything isnt good for you.