Basil Plants Works Wonders with Food and with Health

Basil plants are fragrant herbs which are widely used in different cuisines of the world thanks to their culinary attributes. As for basil as it is, it can be of two kinds: sweet basil (Thai basil) and sacred or holy basil. The first kind - Thai basil - is very popular in the cuisines of such countries as Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam. The second kind - holy basil - which is commonly called "hot basil" for its peppery flavor. When it is fresh it also has scents of cloves and mint. It is not used raw but as a spice for stir-fried dishes and various spicy soups.

Basil herb belongs to lamiaceae family. Its botanical name is ocimum sanctum. Common name for the plant is basil, sacred basil, holy basil, tulsi. Basil plants mostly grow throughout India and in the Mediterranean areas. It is used in many medicinal purposes. In India the plant is considered sacred to the Gods. Leaves and seeds of the plant are the parts that are applied.

Basil plants are widely used during malaria, catarrh, bronchitis and gastric disorders. Also it can lower blood sugar levels and the powder of the plant is used for mouth ulcers. Basil is widely worshiped in India. In its turn holy basil can be of two varieties. Red holy basil plants possess strong flavor. Its leaves are dark green.

As for white holy basil, its flavor is much milder and the leaves are light green. The leaves of both kinds are smaller than those of Thai basil. They are very quick to lose their aroma, so it is advisable to use them in the shortest terms after purchasing. The leaves are kept dry wrapped in paper towels. When wet they become black and rot very quickly. Holy basil needs much heat to grow, so it is planted on Hawaii. The plant can be found in Southeast Asian farms and in Thai/Cambodia markets. It is also possible to plant holy basil by yourself as the seeds are available from a lot of seed catalogues. It is not the best variant to use holy basil dry, because drying releases its aromatic oils. Anyway the dry plant can be used in combination with fresh basil.

Basil is the collective name for the genus Ocimum. The genus has always been famous for its diversity. It counts over 30 species of shrubs and herbs. Africa is considered to be the very center of this diversity. Basil plants are valuable not only for basil culinary attributes, but are also used as a remedy which possesses antimicrobial, nematicidal and insecticidal characteristics. It is also known as a remedy for diseases of heart, brain, kidneys, lungs and bladder. It is an indispensable aid for nervous and digestive systems. As usual basil tea is used for indigestion and cold. The plant is famous for its energizing, uplifting and anti-depressant properties. Dried leaves of basil are used as a snuff to cure headaches and chills. Basil is a wonderful repellent. A pot of basil in front of your door will repel flies. Basil oil is effective for a bee sting but it is necessary to be careful and to use very small quantities of the oil. More than one drop of the oil may irritate your skin.

The list of the conditions cured by basil is really long: anxiety, respiratory problems, tight coughs, nervous headaches, muscle tension, memory loss, infection, sinusitis, bronchial congestion, diarrhea, appetite loss and a lot of others. Try invigorating baths with basil. Basil will add luster to the hair of brunettes if added to rosemary rinse, and to the hair of blondes if added to chamomile rinse. Basil combined with different essential oils will produce toilet water and perfumes. The combinations may be with: geranium, neoili, melissa, bergamot, hyssop, marjoram and lavender.

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