Let Us Know About Basil Plant Basil plant belongs to the mint family known as Lamiaceae family. Some types of basil are annual and perennial grown in the Mediterranean region. Basil plant is assumed as royal and holy in cultures like Greece and India. A verity of basil also known as holy basil produces oxygen during nights too. Basil plant is worshiped all over India and assumed as the spouse of Lord Krishna.
The Nomenclature & Botany Of Basil Plant, Scientific Name – Ocimum basilicum
The name ‘Basil’ came from Latin word Basilius which has the roots in Greece where Basil is assumed as a royal plant and called the basilikón photon.
Basil is a shrub that grows up to a height of 12 to 24 inches. Basil is a delicate shrub with small leaves like the mint plant. There are many sweet species of basil like Anise Basil, Cinnamon Basil, Dark Opal Basil, Purple Basil, Rubin Basil, Thai Basil.
Basil hybrids are also grown in some regions known as African Blue Basil, Spice Basil, and Lemon Basil. Other species are Ocimum tenuilorum formerly known as Ocimum sanctum known as Tulsi in Hindi.
Let Us See The Taste & Aroma Of The Basil Plant
Basil tastes peppery at the start then turns mild sweet. Basil has a strong pungent aroma. Some basil species tastes like anise and cinnamon. The sweet basil gives a subtly sweet flavor when chewed raw.
Let Us See How And Where Basil Leaves Can Be Used In Culinary
# An Important Ingredient In Sauces: Basil is added to some sauces for added flavors. The subtle minty flavor brings magic to the tomato and other sauces like pesto and chili. Sometimes basil leaves are kept deepen in vinegar to give a touch of basil taste and aroma to vinegar.
# Salad Topping: Basil is added to salads to give a subtly sweet and minty flavor to each bite of salad. Tomato slices topped with shredded cider cheese, and chopped basil leaves taste awesome. It is advisable not to chop basil leaves but tear them for more flavors.
# Garnishing Element: Basil leaves are used to garnish many delicacies in American, British, Mexican cuisines to add freshness.
# Basil Oil: Basil oil is added to the cooking oil to infuse characteristic basil flavor and aroma. Basil oil is an ingredient in Italian pesto sauce.
# Eastern Cuisines: Basil leaves are used fresh green or also dried and crushed to bring flavor to many Chinese recipes. Taiwan people love basil leaves in their favorite vegetable thick soups. There is a famous chicken Thai recipe which is made with fried chicken with added fried basil leaves.
# Flavoring To Confectionary: Basil leaves are added to sweet delicacies like ice-creams and chocolates to give a different flavor.
# Topping On God Offerings: In India, sweet basil is assumed as the holy plant; it's leaves are topped with the sweets or Thali which are offered to god.
# Essence Of Beverages: Leaves of sweet basil is added to hot beverages like masala tea, herbal tea to bring the sweet, minty flavor.
# Basil Seeds: Seeds of basil also known as ‘Sabja’ in India are used to in many chilled sweet dishes like Faluda, Kheer, Milk Shakes because of its cool quality.
The Nutrients Provided By Basil
Basil contains vitamin K and manganese in abundance. Basil has a good content of vitamin A, vitamin C, and copper. Basil also provides iron, calcium, folate, and magnesium. Basil gives a boost of omega-3 fatty acids.
How We Are Benefited To Use Basil In Our Diet And Medicines
Basil has many health benefits that were assumed to be magical in the ancient and medieval era globally.
# Increases Immunity: Basil contains natural anti-oxidants that fights with the disease generic free radicals in the body increasing immune towards diseases.
# Lowers Cancer Risk: Basil decreases the chances of cancer by killing the carcinogenic cells in the body. The anti-oxidant property reduces the cancerous tumor growth in the body.
# Enemy To Bacteria: Basil is a good bacteria repellent; it kills bacteria which can cause infection and bacterial diseases.
# Anti-virus: Basil does not allow growing viral health problems preventing Candida.
# Mood Booster: Basil helps to stimulate the adrenal cortex which produces hormones that help in proper metabolism making the body adhere to stresses. Basil stimulates neurotransmitters that regulate the hormones which are suitable to elevate mood.
# Protects Circulatory System: Basil has the anti-inflammatory property which helps to relax the blood vessels controlling blood pressure. Basil also helps to prevent clogging of blood cells formed due to platelet aggregation.
The History, Religious & Cultural Facet Of Basil Plant
Basil's company with the human is around 4000 years old. Basil is assumed to be royal & divine, protective, holy, and magical because of its qualities.
In India, sweet basil is still used in worshiping god giving it a divine status. Basil plants are grown around the temples and prayed daily. Basil leaves are kept on the deceased to protect their souls in the afterlife.
In ancient Egypt, people were aware of the anti-bacterial and anti-microbial qualities of basil so used as a preservative for the mummification.
In Greece and many European countries, basil is used in religious work. Basil leaves are used to sprinkle holy water on the devotees. Basil dipped holy water is placed below the church alters. Basil is also placed in windows to ward away devils.
In medieval period basil was assumed to be a soul and mind cleanser.
Commercial Production & Environmental Conditions For Cultivation
Basil tree grows in diverse conditions as it grows in tropical as well as sub-tropical regions. Basil tree adopts both cold and hot weather, but warm weather is good for its excellent growth. Basil plants also grow profoundly in partial shade with moderate rainfall.
As the varied environmental condition, basil can grow in any soil. But for commercial cultivation sandy loam soil with good drainage is preferred.
Basil is cultivated commercially for its oil in the United Kingdom, Brazil, America, the Asian sub-continent (sweet basil), and Central Africa.