In ancient Egypt, it was added to embalming fluid. The ancient Romans hated him with all their hearts, and destroyed them in every way. Hindus to this day believe in the divine properties of this plant. Among the Greeks it was considered a symbol of love, and in Romania accepting a twig of a plant from a girl — a young guy was considered her fiancé. Meet basil, and read on to understand why everyone should have it in their kitchen.
Botanical characteristics of basil
(ocimum basilicum l.), family — lamiaceae
Basil is a spicy annual plant that is widely used in culinary activities.
The stem of basil is straight, and the root is branched. The grass grows up to 70 cm high. The leaves are short, petiolate, with occasional jagged edges. The entire stem and leaves are covered with small hairs. The flowers are small, white, pink, or purple, and located on the axils of the upper leaves. Flowering begins in August. The fruit is considered a smooth, dark brown nut. The seeds are light and retain their properties for 5 years. The plant grows wild in Central and Eastern Asia, but is grown everywhere.
The genus includes 69 species.
Other name of basil are fragrant cornflower.
Chemical composition of basil
The high content of vitamins allows basil to positively affect the body, and thanks to other substances – an indispensable spicy seasoning for dishes.
- Essential oil – 1-2% in one plant;
- Tannins – 6% in one plant;
- Vitamins K, PP, A, B2, C;
- Camphor, Cineole, Otsimen, Saponins, Rutin, Fiber;
- Copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium.
Benefits of basil
There is a wide range of opportunities and benefits from this spicy grass. Basil is effective in bacterial lesions of the gastrointestinal tract, has an antiviral effect for inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, and is an excellent asset to prevent of foot fungus.
Tea from basil helps to eliminate bad breath, , slows down the development of cavities and strengthens the gums; as well as normalizes blood pressure. These are not the only beneficial properties of the basil herb: it helps with flatulence, calms the nervous system, and improves sleep quality. The plant contains fiber, so meat dishes are digested better.
Indications for use: insomnia, neurosis, headache, sudden changes in blood pressure, flatulence, sore throat, stomatitis, colds, and runny nose.
Contraindications: diabetes mellitus, thrombophlebitis, coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, hypertension, and epilepsy.
The use of basil in cosmetology: In addition to popularity in the culinary business, basil is actively used in the cosmetic industry: it is added to face cream to fight aging skin, in shampoos and balms to strengthen your hair roots.
How to store basil
If you are keen on growing basil at home, it is useful to know how to properly prepare the plant for storage. The ideal option when cooking is to add fresh leaflets to your dishes, but dried seasoning is also a great option.
Stalks and leaflets are suitable for storage. Prune to store before the onset of flowering – then the taste of seasoning will remain spicy and refreshing, after flowering, the taste of basil becomes bitter. Basil is cuted, or gathered into twigs. Place these twigs in the oven, set the temperature to 40 ° C, leave for one hour, open the oven door. You can also leave for a couple of weeks in a dark, but well-ventilated place, if you cannot use an oven.
Store only in a glass jar, tightly closed. Shelf life is two years.
Health recipes with basil
Tea: To calm the nervous system. To normalize sleep.
- In boiling water add basil leaves and lemon slices. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the stove, pour into cups, add sugar to taste. Drink tea a couple of hours before bedtime.
Face mask: Normalize the work of the sebaceous glands (oily skin of the face).
- Crush fresh basil leaves into a mush, mixed with green cosmetic clay. Apply on face for 10-15 minutes. Wash off. Apply moisturizer to face. The mask cannot be reused, nor can leftovers be stored in the refrigerator. Application frequency: once every two weeks (between applications use only moisturizer).
Foot bath: Relieves fatigue, improves microcirculation of blood vessels.
- 2 liters of water / 0.5 kg of basil. Boil. Allow time for mixture to stand. You can add a little lavender oil. The bath is ready for use.
Attention! Self-medication can be dangerous to your health. Before use, you should consult your doctor.
Interesting facts about basil
- In Indian culture, basil is considered the second most sacred plant after lotus. Basil has pure energy, helps to cleanse the mind of negativity. It is also believed that the use of basil in food contributes to the purification of the aura and gives divine protection. According to religious belief, to have a basil flower in your house means to clear the living space of the negative.
- Slavs grew basil because of its spicy aroma and astringent taste.
- In ancient times, basil was used in ritual ceremonies. At the burial of the deceased, a basil leaf was placed as payment for the entrance to paradise.