Common Names: “King of Herbs”
Latin Name: Ocimum basilicum
Plant Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Parts Used: Leaf, flower
Habitat: Most likely native to India; easily grows in common garden soil
Uses: Traditionally, basil was used to increase breast-milk production, but is now principally used to aid the digestive and nervous systems to ease stomach cramps and indigestion. Basil juice can also act as an insect repellent and relieve insect bites when applied externally.
Actions & Constituents: Its volatile oil contains linalool and methyl chavicol, which provide a fresh scent and repel insects. Basil has an established antibacterial action.
How to Prepare: Leaves are most commonly used fresh in cooking. Can also be made into an essential oil to apply externally on skin.
The herbalist John Gerard noted that someone stung by a scorpion would feel no pain if they ate basil.