Can you imagine your tomato sauce without the distinctive basil scent? Hardly, we would say! The aromatic kitchen spice also belongs to pesto, pasta and pizza and gives these dishes an unmistakable taste. Yes, basil is a popular spice herb that is widely used in German cuisine. But it can be found in almost all countries around the globe. Today, basil is so popular that it is called a culinary highlight. But apart from its widespread use in the kitchen, it is also a valuable medicinal plant. Surely you’ve had a cold basil tea when you have a cold or a stomach ache and immediately felt relief, right? Thanks to its healing nutrients, basil has proven to be a very useful medicinal plant and its spectrum of activity is quite wide. What you should know about the basil and its use in the kitchen and the healing arts, you will learn in this article.
These fresh leaves are the popular culinary herb of many Germans.
- Where does the basil come from?
Basil is one of the best known and most popular herbs worldwide. Originally it comes from the tropical areas of Africa and Asia. The plant was first cultivated in India, where its leaves are still considered sacred today. In the Mediterranean, the herbaceous plant has been known for 3500 years.
In antiquity, the healing power of basil was appreciated, but in the Middle Ages, the plant was praised and rejected at the same time. There were people who discovered their use in scorpion stings and praised the quick healing. Others said that the strong basil scent attracts scorpions and spreads hatred among friends. Over time, however, the medicinal herb has gained acceptance through its beneficial effects on body and soul, and today it is valued and used as an aromatic culinary herb (even more than centuries ago!).
Over many centuries, the herb was denied, sometimes praised.
- What are the typical characteristics of basil?
In addition to sage and rosemary, basil is one of the most typical herbs in the Mediterranean. The scientists are more than 60 species known, including the most common Ocimum basil, also known as king saber. However, in this regard, freezing the basil leaves is more recommended than that Greek basil (Ocimum minimum) and Indian basil (Ocimum sanctum) are also popular. These are typical herbaceous plants that grow between 20 and 60 cm in height. Its leaves are green, ovate, slightly arched upwards. These are usually 4 to 6 inches wide. Very distinctive and unmistakable is the basil fragrance, which comes from the essential oils contained in the plant leaves. The herb is one year old and flowers between June and September. If you want to freeze or dry leaves of basil, you must harvest them before the flowering phase. This is the best way to keep flavor and taste. Dry.
The basil leaves are green, ovate, slightly arched upwards.
Our extra tip : Pay attention to damaged leaves when buying basil. Yellow spots can be caused by plant viruses or fungi!
Basil can be cultivated in the pot at home or grown outside in the garden bed.
- A few care tips for the popular kitchen herb
If you cultivate the well-known kitchen herb in the pot or in the herb bed outside in the garden, you still need to know something about his care. It is a light germ and likes sunny, warm and sheltered locations. It also prefers nutrient-rich and well-drained soils. In the summer months, the basil must be poured abundantly. But beware! Waterlogging can lead to root rot! That is to say, pour carefully and never let the soil dry out!
A culinary highlight that you have to have at hand in the kitchen.
- Application of basil in the kitchen
Today, the aromatic herb is often and widely used in the kitchen. It not only appreciates its distinctive fragrance, but also its slightly sweetish and slightly peppery taste. It goes well with various specialties of the Italian cuisine, but also with fish dishes, pasta and salads. Basil goes well with dishes containing garlic, paprika, tomatoes and olive oil. Today we can hardly imagine a salad of mozzarella and tomatoes without basil. It is also indispensable for Pesto alla Genovese. Thai basil is always an inseparable part of Asian dishes. In the kitchen fresh basil leaves are mainly used, which keep their aroma and taste well.
Pesto with a lot of basil is a real delicacy!
- Basil in medicine
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, this green herb is a valuable medicinal plant. It is medically recognized and its regular consumption can help everyone with good health. The healthy spectrum of action of Basil is multifaceted. This is based on the vital substances contained in its green leaves. Just to name a few – super elements, minerals and vitamins, for example, manganese, copper and vitamin C. On the list of healthy ingredients are still beta carotene, calcium, iron and vitamin K. Basil tea is recommended for stress, depression and mood swings. Also with flatulence, stomach upset and loss of appetite. Massage with basil oil can cure migraines, dizziness and sleep disorders. It is also good for menstrual pain and menopausal symptoms and can relieve joint pain. The essential oil obtained from the leaves of basil has an anti-inflammatory effect, is also antibacterial, analgesic and anti-cancer. It can in principle be taken internally or applied to the skin.
The essential basil oil is an alternative remedy.
Extra tip: Toddlers, pregnant women and mothers breast-feeding are not recommended to use highly concentrated basil preparations, or rather, doctors advise against it.
Medicine directly from nature!
Basil oil is also an alternative to multidrug-resistant bacteria and inflammation. It can be used where the antibiotics are no longer effective. When applied internally, the essential oil helps to reduce stress and reduce inflammation. Its relaxing and soothing effect is unsurpassed.
Do you know another remedy of nature that finds such a wide use in medicine?