Basil, from Latin ocinum basilicum, is a condiment plant native to India and South Asia, chilly, which is grown only in summer and in the ground or in pots.
This annual plant belongs to the Labiee (or Lamiaceae) family, measures between 30 and 90 cm high, has a branchy stem that bears small oval leaves and exudes a scent of nutmeg, anise and cloves.
- To read: growing and caring for basil
Basil: for the record
It goes way back ... the history of basil. The Hebrews already used it as antispasmodic when Pliny the Elder recommended him againstepilepsy. For Dioscorides he would calm the pain of scorpion stings.
A little later, in the 13th century, some gave it virtues against mania and the melancholy. Obviously, we weren't there to verify it ... But now?
Basil and its health benefits
Nowadays, there is much more interest in the culinary properties of basil than in its medicinal properties. However…
- Basil is an excellent antispasmodic : its scented infusion is undeniably effective against gastric spasms, colic and flatulence.
- It is used to prevent nausea and vomiting.
- We recognize him sedative virtues which are therefore recommended for insomnia and anxiety as well as for vertigo and migraine of nervous origin.
- Basil is also a good anti-inflammatory, he is sudorific and facilitates digestion.
- Finally, basil disinfects ... (the Arabs used it as a mouthwash in the treatment of canker sores).
Did you know ?
Basil can be used internally (infusion) or externally (decoction).
Infusion : 3 to 5 grams per cup after each meal. Against spasms, as digestive and calming.
Decoction : 100 grams per liter, as gargles against canker sores. Other alternatives: chew the raw leaves of the basil.
For push correctly, basil needs a rich, light, humus-rich and above all well-drained soil. It does not tolerate temperatures below 10 ° C and thrives on hot, sunny exposure. If you want to use fertilizer, you should know that the nitrogen fertilizers develop the amount of foliage, to the detriment of the fragrance.
For maintain basil, it is advisable to keep the soil moist at all times, but be careful: do not wet the leaves, they will rot!
To encourage a bushy growth, remember to pinch off the flowers and the tips of the shoots. A word of advice, however: if you pinch the basil, leave at least two pairs of leaves on the stem because most often, those close to the base dry out.
And in September, you will stimulate a new shoot by cutting the plant in half.
If you want multiply basil, it takes place in March-April, in a terrine and under a heated shelter (18 to 20 ° C). When the seedlings have two leaves, it's time to transplant the basil into pots, before installing it outside, under a frame or plastic tunnel.
- To read: Growing and caring for basil
Species and varieties of basil
In front of the many varieties of basil, there is something for everyone:
- ‘Balconstar’: With tiny green leaves, it forms round, bushy pots.
- 'Monstrous Mammoth': with giant leaves, very blistered.
- 'Lemon Basil': with a lemon scent.
- "Purple Ruffles": with purple leaves, notched, a little blistered and very fragrant.
- "Lettuce leaves": very large, wavy, fragrant leaves.
- "Marseillais": with oval leaves, very fragrant.
- "Fine green": with narrow leaves and a subtle fragrance.
- 'Rubin red': dark purple.
Basil in the kitchen
It is in summer that the harvest of basil is done, over water, as needed. Leaves and young shoots are suitable. You can freeze your basil or dry it, but be aware that it will lose its flavor.
As for how to taste it ... Almost at will and how you like it! Raw, in salads, on tomatoes, fish, pasta, sauces and omelets. Always add it at the last moment: it loses part of its taste during cooking.
- To read: all our recipes with basil
Small-leaf basil is more fragrant. If you want to use it in your winter recipes, freeze the leaves without the stems and use them to make pesto by tracking (mashing) the basil with garlic and olive oil. This is the best way to store basil - remember it should not cook!
Some synonyms of "basil" to shine in society ...
"Royal herb", "herb with sauces", "pesto", "balico", "Roman basil", "savatiers orange".