Greek name: Basileus
Common name: Sweet Basil or Ocimum basilicum
Coming from Greek origin, basil literally means “royal”, “brave” and “kingly” and belongs to the mint family. There has been debate over how useful basil was way back during the ancient times. While the Americans, Romans and Hindus thought of this herb as a sign of happiness, the Greeks, people from India and Persia did not think much of it. This herb was considered as a royal herb with a strong association to love. Way back, the man would bring a branch of this herb and the woman would accept it as a gift and she would then decide if she would be faithful and love him for life. The most common description of this herb is a clove-like leaf with a strong and pungent smell.
The herb’s leaves are usually dried and used for culinary, medicinal and cosmetic purposes. The seeds and roots of this plant is rarely used though.
What it is used for:
- Aids in the digestive system and preventing gas (stomach cramps, vomiting, and constipation)
- Said to be effective for headaches and anxiety
- Known to be useful in common colds and influenza
- Menstrual problems – could imitate the female hormone (estrogen)
- Reported to help in controlling acne
- Uplifting down spirits
- Could help in getting a good night’s sleep
How it is used:
Basil is a popular herb known to be used in cuisines as pasta sauces and intensifies other flavors in food. This herb is best added last in most types of foods because cooking can destroy the flavor.
It also comes in liquid and capsule form and as well as aromatherpy. If you decide to grow basil in your garden at home, it could be useful in keeping house flies away.
Side effects and cautions:
- Do not use during pregnancy and breast feeding
- Unsafe to use if children under 16 years old
- Do not use in the bath because it could cause skin irritation when used as an essential oil (for individuals with sensitive skin)
- If you start experiencing dizziness, hunger, headache, confusion, trembling, excessive sweating, palpitations and cold clammy skin (symptoms of low blood sugar), immediately call your healthcare professional
- Avoid long-term use of this herb
Since it is part of the mint family, the common thought is that it could possibly help in aiding a person’s digestion and prevent gas. This plant has been thought to be warming, aromatic and a mild sedative. A popular way to intake basil is in the form of a hot tea because it maybe useful in soothing the digestive tract.