Basil is an anual herb growing to approximately 8-24in/20-60 cm tall. The stems and leaves are particularly aromatic. There are several varieties: “Nufar” green and wide leave ; “Opal” exotically dark Purple; “Thai” is compact and highly aromatic.
Part of plant used: Fresh or dried leave, essential oil.
Active Ingredients: Aromatic essential oil, tannins, glycosides, and saponin give basil antiseptic, stomach-tonic, antispasmodic, and expectorant properties.
Safety information: The essential oil should not be used during pregnancy, but the leaves can be eaten as a food flavoring.
Culinary use: Extensively used in Italian dishes, especially pesto sauce, mozzarella, and fresh tomato salad, and pizza topping.
Medicinal use: A standard infusion of fresh leaves helps indigestion and constipation, with added honey and lemon, it eases chest congestion and bronchitis. Fresh leaves can be rubbed on insect bites and stings to ease itching. In the bath, fresh leaves invigorate tired muscles.