Basil is sometimes used with fresh fruit and in fruit jams and sauces—in particular with strawberries, but also raspberries or dark-colored plums.
Basil is extremely versatile as a culinary herb.
Licorice basil contains anethole, the same chemical that makes anise smell like licorice, and in fact is sometimes called anise basil.
The most commonly used Mediterranean basil cultivars are "Genovese," "Purple Ruffles," "Mammoth," "Cinnamon," "Lemon," "Globe," and "African Blue."
The word basil comes from the Greek ???????? (basileus), meaning "king."
Fusarium wilt is a soil-borne fungal disease that will quickly kill younger basil plants.
Basil is the common name of an aromatic, herbaceous plant, Ocimum basilicum, of the mint family Lamiaceae.
Sweet basil thrives in hot weather, but behaves as an annual if there is any chance of a frost.
Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto—a green Italian oil-and-herb sauce from the city of Genoa, its other two main ingredients being olive oil and pine nuts.
An alternative folk etymology, current in Great Britain, is that it originated as a contraction of term butter-coloured fly referring to the Brimstone Butterfly Gonepteryx rhamni, often the first butterfly of spring.
Lamiaceae plants are frequently aromatic in all parts and include many widely used culinary herbs in addition to basil, such as mint, rosemary, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, thyme, lavender, and perilla.
Basil can also be propagated very reliably from cuttings in exactly the same manner as Busy Lizzie (Impatiens), with the stems of short cuttings suspended for two weeks or so in water until roots develop.
The French call basil "herbe royale," and it also was known as "royal herb" to the ancient Greeks (Herbst 2001).
Arguably, the flat-leaf basil used in Vietnamese cooking, which has a slightly different flavor, is more suitable for use with fruit.
To prevent this, a basil-grower may pinch off any flower stems before they are fully mature.
The Oxford English Dictionary quotes speculations that basil may have been used in "some royal unguent, bath, or medicine."
Recently, there has been much research into the health benefits conferred by the essential oils found in basil.
The Serbian Orthodox Church, Macedonian Orthodox Church and Romanian Orthodox Church use basil (Macedonian: ???????; Romanian: busuioc, Serbian: ???????) to prepare holy water and pots of basil are often placed below church altars.
Other basils are grown in many regions of Asia.
Sweet basil is prominently featured in varied cuisines throughout the world including Italian, Thai, Vietnamese and Laotian.
Basil, like other aromatic plants such as fennel and tarragon, contains estragole, a known carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) and teratogen (birth defects causing agent) in rats and mice.
Holy basil also has religious significance in the Greek Orthodox Church, where it is used to prepare holy water.
Boccaccio's tale is the source of John Keats' poem Isabella or The Pot of Basil.
The strong clove scent of sweet basil comes from eugenol, the same chemical as actual cloves.
Sweet basil or tulsi (Hindi: ?????,Tamil: ?????, Urdu: ????)) is a low-growing herb that is grown in warm, tropical climates.
Sweet basil tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, sweet smell.
Lemon basil is widely used in Indonesia, where it is called kemangi and served raw, together with raw cabbage, green beans, and cucumber, as an accompaniment to fried fish or duck.
Chinese also use fresh or dried basils in soups and other foods.
Basil has a long history of use, being known as the "royal herb' in ancient Greece, and employed in various cultures not only for culinary but also medicinal and religious use.
Basil grows to between 30-60 centimeters (cm) tall, with opposite, light green, silky, flat, shiny leaves 3–7 cm long and 1–3 cm broad.
Most plants, such as Ocimum basilicum, have green leaves, but the variety opal basil has purple leaves.
African blue basil has a strong camphor smell because it has camphor and camphene in higher proportions.
When soaked in water the seeds of several basil varieties become gelatinous, and are used in Asian drinks and desserts such as falooda or sherbet.
Some scientific studies have suggested that compounds in basil oil have potent antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-microbial properties (Bozin et al.
Basil is still considered the "king of herbs" by many cookery authors.
Basil is very sensitive to cold, with best growth in hot, dry conditions.
Holy Basil, also called "tulsi," is highly revered in Hinduism, being connected to the god Vishnu, among others.
A common foliar disease of basil is gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea, which also can cause infections post-harvest and is capable of killing the entire plant.
Lamiaceae, the flowering plant family to which basil belongs, has about 210 genera and some 3,500 species.
Sweet basil suffers from several plant pathogens that can ruin the crop and reduce yield.
Sweet basil leaves may be consumed fresh or dehydrated, and the essential oil may be used for flavoring or medicinally.
Most of the Asian basils have a clove-like flavor that is generally stronger than the Mediterranean basils.
Black spot can also be seen on basil foliage and is caused by the fungi genus Colletotrichum.
The various basils have such different scents because the herb has a number of different essential oils that come together in different proportions for various varieties.
The most notable is the holy basil or tulsi, a revered home-grown plant in India.
Sweet basil traditionally has been used medicinally for a variety of conditions, including bronchitis, the common cold, influenza, muscle pain, and insect bites.