Herb Basics: An Introduction to Basil

Basil has many uses in cooking and healing. Learn some basic basil information including how to make basil tea.


| July/August 2004



Thai Basil

More than 150 basil varieties are grown worldwide, such as this Thai basil variety. The plant is thought to be native to India and is very popular in Mediterranean cooking.


Photo by jayjayoo7_com/iStockphoto

Common names: Basil, sweet basil, garden basil

Latin name: Ocimum basilicum 

Family: Lamiaceae 

Part used: Leaves and flowering tops

Medicinal uses: Basil can ease headaches, nervous tension, upset stomachs, nausea, sore throats and coughs. It is an excellent source of vitamins A and K; a good source of vitamin C and manganese; and rich in antioxidants and antibacterial properties.

Forms commonly used: Fresh herb, dried herb, extract, tincture and tea.





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