Grow Basil Herb For Its Healing Properties and Ayurvedic Uses

Basil belongs to the “basilicum speciesand the mint family and provides most of the varying culinary varieties that are different in height, leaf and color. There exist numerous cultivars of basil due to a long history of cultivation. It has two-lipped flowers and abundant fragrance bearing oil ingredients. The interesting fact about Basil is that the name “Ocimum basilicum” derives from Greek which means “Royal Smell”.  Basils are main ingredients of Italian, Thai and Vietnamese food preparation. It can be used fresh or dry in butter, oils, pesto and vinegar, salads, vegetable recipes, pasta and rice.

Basil: An Herb Lover’s Guide
Basil: An Herb Lover's Guide
Basil: An Herb Lover’s Guide

Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide
Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs
Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs

Types of Basil That Can be Grown Indoors Easily

Basil loves warm climate and grows profoundly in sun with a moist soil. Avoid over-fertilizing the herb which can affect the flavor.
Lemon Basil– Lemon Basil is a white flowered with small leaves and noted lemon fragrance. It produces less foliage.
Sacred Basil – The sacred basil also known as “Holy Tulsi” is used in religious traditions in India. It is used in tea and very effective in curing cold and cough.
Thai Basil – Thai holy basil and Tulsi both have smaller, softer, slightly hairy leaves and the fragrance of cloves.
Cinnamon Basil – It is a cultivar of sweet basil and contains cinnamate, the compound that gives cinnamon its flavor. The leaves are medium sized and have strong fragrance of cinnamon.

Basil’s Medicinal Uses

Basil leaves contain oils that are a rich source of phyto-chemicals or active compounds that contributes to the aroma and the refreshing flavor. It was found that the medicinal properties of the Basil herb family has secondary metabolites such as phenolic compounds including flavonoids, phenylpropasnoids and anthocyamins that are predominant for antioxidant, antibacterial , antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties . Basil is especially effective in supporting the heart, blood vessels, lungs and liver. It is also found to regulate sugar and blood pressure. Basil enhances body’s natural defense against germs, viruses and diseases.  Sweet basil is traditionally used for the treatment of ailments such as headaches, coughs and diarrhea.

Mix a paste of sandalwood and basil leaves, apply to your forehead to reduce headache. Use basil with neem to make a paste and apply it for skin infection. Basil also shows some promise for protection from radiation poisoning and cataracts, though research has to establish the facts.

Spice Up Your Herb Garden by Growing Basil

Grow basil indoors if you are short of space and have room for only one herb in your herb garden. Use this versatile herb to spice up your culinary skills and dishes. You can grow two varieties of Basil easily – one is large-leaved green basil like “Sweet Basil”, “Italian and lettuce-leaf Basil“, another is the dwarf variety such as “Dwarf Basil”, “Bush Basil” and “Spicy Globe. The larger type grows to about 2 to 3 feet height whereas the smaller one grows to 8 to 12 inches in width and height.

Basil’s Uses in Ayurveda

The “Holy Basil” or the ‘Sacred Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda and is known for its highly beneficial healing properties. You can find its merits in Charaka in the “Charaka Samhita”, an ancient Ayurvedic text. Eminent by its strong aroma and astringent taste, it has high regards in Ayurveda and is known as “Elixir of Life”. Basil is found to cure headaches, different type of allergies, skin infections and believed to promote longevity. Store and dry basil leaves to use it all year round.

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How to Grow Basil – The Easy Way

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