Basil is as Basil does…

Latin Name: Ocimum basilicum  (roughly translated as “Aromatic Prince”)

Common Name(s): Sweet Basil, Garden Basil

Plant Family: Lamiaceae – the mint family


Sweet Garden Basil

Ocimum basilicum

Medicine Preparation used in Experiment:

  • “Pimple Cure” – made in India, consists of Basil Oil & Cream Base (no Latin name listed), recommended usage: “Wash the face with soap and warm water.   Dry with clean towel and apply cream in the morning and before going to bed.”

Growing Habits/Habitat:

  • native to the tropical areas of Asia and possibly Africa
  • easily grown from seed if kept moist and given lots of light
  • can grow up to 3ft including flowers
  • well known companion plant to tomatoes
  • mint-quality able to combat pests
  • does not like to be soggy, careful not to over-water if growing indoors

Parts of Plant Traditionally Used:

  • leaves, flowers, stems, seeds
  • essential oil from leaf and flower


  • harvest in the late morning for maximum oil content
  • prefers not to be touched when wet – will rot quickly and the plant is susceptible to downy mildew
  • clip off the top two leaves of each stem (above a node) to promote bushier growth and delay flowering
  • store whole stem in vase of water to save fresh leaves for about a week
  • blend with oil for pesto and use immediately or freeze in ice cube tray
  • dry or freeze leaves for winter yums

Referenced Uses:


  • Antiviral
  • Antibacterial
  • Bug Spray
  • Expectorant (loosens phlegm)
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Promotes hair growth
  • Use in shampoos for oily hair
  • Hot tea for delayed Moon Moment (menstruation)
  • Nervine (repair the nervous system)
  • Stimulant
  • Sedative, mild
  • Reduces swelling caused by acne
  • Helps the digestive system
  • Cure a Scorpion Sting…


  • Ruled by Mars in Scorpio (magically a good time to harvest)
  • Purify Holy Water
  • Protection against Evil or Dark Forces
  • Keeps your Spirit perky (use as preventative to low-spirits)
  • An excess of Basil will sprout scorpions in the brain! / indulge you in the traits of a Scorpio


  • Fresh taste: “licorice-and-spice” [Hayes 203]
  • Dried taste: “combination of lemon, anise, resin, and spice” [Hayes 203]

***Food as Medicine

  • Warming
  • Calms the brain and centers the heart

***Flower Essence

  • White Flowers
  • Offers a complete realization of sexuality and related experiences
  • Allows such journeys to be made by body and soul!

Interview with an Herbalist:

Janet from Lunaroma in Burlington, VT on the shop’s uses of Basil Oil – They currently carry cultivated Basil from Madagascar and wild-crafted Basil from India.

  • Memory Synergy “clearing and mind strengthening”
  • Clarity Synergy “clearing, sharpening, revitalizing”
  • Referred to Wanda Sellar’s book “Directory of Essential Oils” who has great insights and is the only source I’ve seen to mention acne control

Science Research:

Here is a link to the USDA National Agricultural Library where you can find the latest scientific research on the Ocimum basilicum species.


Chevallier, Andrew. Natural Health Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, 2nd ed. New York: DK Publishing Inc., 2000.

Duke, James A. The Green Pharmacy. Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1997.

Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal. Masschusetts: Storey Books, 2001.

Greer, John M. Natural Magic. Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications, 2000.

Hayes, Elizabeth S. Spices and Herbs. 1961 Ed. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1980.

Kaminski, Patricia and Richard Katz. Flower Essence Repertory. 1994 Ed.  California: Earth-Spirit, Inc., 1996.

Kloss, Jethro. back to eden. 1939 Ed. California: Woodbridge Press Publishing Company, 1975.

Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods, 3rd Ed. California: North Atlantic Books, 2002.


***Ask your Family Doctor if Basil would be appropriate for you and your specific conditions, especially if you are pregnant or younger than 18 years old ***


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