Basil is particularly rich in eugenol, which gives it the aroma, essential oil with disinfectant and stimulating action. The plant, used mainly in the kitchen, has digestive, diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used to cure colds, while in Chinese medicine it is considered as a remedy for digestive disorders.Ocimum basilicum or Basil: cultivation, use in the kitchen and benefits for digestion, diuresis and as an anti-inflammatory
Basil, Ocimum basilicum, is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the Lamiaceae family and is known as an aromatic plant due to its frequent use in the kitchen, in Italy, but also in many other mainly Asian countries. Its name has Greek origins, it means “regal” but the plant is of Indian origin, where it was used in funeral rites to wash the bodies of the dead in tanks, where basil leaves floated which favored access to paradise.
About 60 varieties have been classified, which differ in appearance and aroma: the Genoese type is the most fragrant, the Neapolitan type is more delicate, but it is difficult to identify exactly the botanical identity, due to cross-pollination.I never miss two or three big pots in the summer because, even if it doesn’t bind easily with other aromatic herbs, I love its scent and the touch it brings to dishes. Whatever the variety, remember to add it at the last moment because cooking as well as drying reduces the taste and some properties, the flavor is maintained if it is frozen. But if you are lovers, use it as raw and fresh as possible. It keeps well in oil.
How to grow basil in pots.
We all grow basil: in the vegetable garden, for those with green spaces available, or in pots, on the balcony. It’s not difficult, isn’t it? A well-drained soil is sufficient, a distance of 15-20 cm between one plant and another, sunny position and frequent watering until taking root and from time to time, but abundant, then. But did you know that when the stem has 4 pairs of leaves the top must be cut, while the lateral branches must be trimmed when 3 pairs of leaves appear? Thanks to these pruning operations, the basil becomes thicker. Seeing is believing!
What it contains and how it is used
The most frequent use is undoubtedly as a food. It is the main ingredient of pesto (there are variations replacing basil with sage, zucchini …), it is added to salad, excellent on tomatoes with a clove of garlic, roughly broken with hands (cut with a knife they lose a lot essential oil) but also to spaghetti with fresh datterini (freshly cooked in oil and garlic) … a real treat! But it is also added to soups and lots of cooked vegetables: courgettes, aubergines, peppers …
- Herbal tea: pour 3 g of fresh leaves (about 10 leaves but depends on the size) in 150 ml of boiling water. Let it rest for 10 minutes in a covered cup, strain and drink. To facilitate digestion and alleviate stomach or bowel cramps. You can also do rinses or gargles in the case of an inflamed throat or to purify the breath.
- Bath : for a toning and deodorising bath, place a bunch of basil leaves in a cloth bag that you will dip in the tub.
- Essential oil : obtained by steam distillation, it has numerous indications: acne, muscle cramps but … we will talk about it in an entirely dedicated article.
- Basil vinegar : basil can be used to flavor vinegar. The leaves are cleaned with a damp cloth and placed in a vase. For every handful of leaves one liter of excellent quality red wine vinegar is boiled; then pour it over the basil, close the jar and leave to rest for 3 days, then filter. Excellent as a condiment.
- Oil flavored with basilic or: put in a glass jar 25 clean and dry basil leaves, pour over half a liter of oil, extra virgin olive oil, making sure that the leaves remain well submerged in the oil. Close well and place in the dark, in a cool and dry place for 20 days. Strain and bottle in dark glass. It is used in soups, salads and tomatoes.