Today, basil is one of the most widely-used culinary herbs and one of the most aromatic and recognizable herbs in the world. Basil (Ocimum basilcum) came from the large mint family, or Lamiaceae family along with other culinary herbs like rosemary, sage and even lavender.
It was believed that it was originated in India and considered as sacred as the word basil came from the Greek word “basileus” meaning “king”, as it believed to have grown above the spot where St. Constantine and Helen discovered the Holy Cross. Basil is a tender plant, and typically used in cuisines worldwide most commonly in Italian and French cuisine. The leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell. Usually, fresh basil is used in recipes. In general, it is added at the last moment of cooking.
Basil grows between 30-130 cm tall, with opposite, light green, silky leaves, long and broad. It is sensitive in cold and prefers full sunlight. It grows best outdoors, it can be grow indoors in a pot and, like most herbs, will do best on a sun-facing windowsill. Basil can propagate reliably from cuttings with the stems of short cuttings suspended for two weeks or so in water until roots develop. It can be recommended as a companion plant to the tomato. Common claims are that basil may defer pests or improve tomato flavor.
There are actually 35 different types of basil that come in a range of variety and sizes. The typical basil used in flavoring is the sweet basil (genovese). Some other well-known varieties are Thai basil, Lemon basil and Holy basil. Holy basil is the specie of basil most known for powerful healing qualities. To date, at least six different essential oils have been identified in holy basil within its seeds, roots, leaves and stem.
What may surprise you are the benefits of basil that make it well known for its immunity enhancing properties. Extract from basil or basil essential oil, is proven to help prevent a wide range of health conditions. Basil contains antioxidant oil which is considered as hydrophobic. Some other benefits of basil are: pain-reducer, fever-reducer, anti-inflammatory, cancer fighter, liver-protector, immune booster and diabetes preventer.