Basil Ocimum basilicum
Common or Sweet Basil is in the mint family. There are several varieties of basil, differing in the size, shape, odor and color of the leaves. The Common Basil has very dark green leaves; the curled-leaved has short spikes of white flowers. Rubbing the plant with your fingers releases a pleasant spicy scent. Basil is a favorite herb to cook with in the culinary world. Italians are the most famous for using basil in many of their recipes. It can be used in stir-fries, raw in salads, and to season poultry and pork. It can be infused in oil or vinegar. Basil is a sweet, sometimes spicy, flavor that accents a meal. It enhances flavor to anyone’s palate.
Fresh Basil and Tomato Salad
Lucia Ceppaluni's recipe (my mom)
3 plum tomatoes, vine-ripened
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 very small onion
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
5 large fresh leaves of basil
Pinch of fresh oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
Slice the tomatoes into small wedges and place into a bowl. Crush the cloves of garlic and slice the onion. Take the basil leaves and place them one on top of each other. Roll them together and then slice across the roll; they come out nicely julienned. Add the basil, vinegar, oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix together well and serve straight away. If you let it sit, water will seep out of the tomatoes, diluting the taste a little. If you want to serve it cold, add a few ice cubes to the salad, mix well, and remove the ice cubes right before serving.
— stimulant, nervine, aromatic
— taken as a tea, basil is divine to the senses; it is relaxing and soothing to the nervous system
— creates movement in the body, especially in the digestive and menstrual systems — drinking the tea hot is good in suppressed menses
— helps ease nausea and vomiting
— aids in digestion, increasing digestive juices before eating to increase the appetite and after eating to reduce gas and bloating Indigenous people of many different cultures have been using basil for a very long time for many different reasons and ailments:
— In Belize, it is used for its drawing and antibacterial properties along with its spiritual
— The eclectic physicians used it topically to soothe a bee or wasp sting, drawing out the poisons.
Basil has Chicoric acid. It has been studied for its potential to inhibit HIV integrase (Healy et al. 2009; Charvat et al. 2006), to enhance insulin secretion and glucose uptake (Tousch et al. 2008), and to exert antioxidant activity (Dalby-Brown et al. 2005). This acid is also found in Echinacea purpurea but is found in higher amounts in Basil (Leea and Scagel 2010).
The herb contains high quantities of (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which may be useful in
treating arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases, according to research conducted at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Gertsch et al. 2008). Rich in antioxidants -- results of a study published in the Journal of Advanced Pharmacy
Education & Research showed that ethanol extract Ocimum basilicum had more antioxidant activity than standard antioxidants (Patil et al. 2011).