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

Photo/Drawing/Sample:

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

Harvesting:

  • 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:

***Medicinal

  • 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…

***Magical

  • 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

***Culinary

  • 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.

http://agricola.nal.usda.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&CNT=25&Search_Arg=Ocimum%20basilicum&Search_Code=GKEY&STARTDB=AGRIDB

References:

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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