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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Heart Herbs ~ Sweet Basil

*Please note - The information provided is collected from my various herbal books, classes, and personal research. I am not a doctor. Always, always, always consult your physician or qualified healthcare provider before beginning any new treatment. Do your own research and think for yourself. Don't believe everything you read. Questions are good!

Sweet Basil

Latin Name: Ocimum basilicum

Plant Family: Lamiaceae (mint family)

Character: sweet, pungent, slightly bitter, very warm, dry

Constituents: volatile oil, tannins

Actions: antidepressant, antiseptic, carminative, expectorant, febrifuge, soothes itching, stimulates the adrenal cortex, prevents vomiting, tonic

Parts Used: Fresh and dried aerial parts

Harvest before flowering.


Culinary

Fresh basil is a good source of iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Basil delivers fresh flavor to tomato-based dishes, pesto, salads, and is tasty in Italian, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes.

Expand your culinary horizons and experiment with basil in the kitchen. I love adding the fresh leaves on my pizza. 

Medicinally

Basil has anti-inflammatory effects and promotes cardiovascular health.

The leaves can be taken as a warming and uplifting tonic for nervous exhaustion and any cold condition.

The leaves are also good for rubbing on insect bites.

Brew a tea with the leaves to alleviate symptoms of cold and flu.


Essential Oil

The essential oil of basil is used in aromatherapy in combination with geranium, bergamot, or hyssop for a stimulating massage for depression.

Inhale basil essential oil for head colds, it helps clear congestion in the head and chest.

Basil essential oil's uplifting and refreshing scent soothes nervous conditions, relieving anxiety and tension.

Applying the diluted essential oil to your skin eases muscle and joint pains.

You can also use the diluted essential oil on your skin to soothe insect bites.

Add a few drops to your bath to wash your worries away.

Contraindications: 
Do not use the essential oil in pregnancy.


Folklore

Basil is strewn on floors in Mediterranean countries to purify the home.

A gift of a potted basil plant guarantees good fortune, and brings luck to people moving into a new residence.


The Romans prized basil, considering it an aphrodisiac.

Placing dried basil under a bed can reawaken passion in a relationship.

In the book “Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs”, Scott Cunningham shares basil love divination. He says if you place two basil leaves on a live coal, this will determine the state of your relationship. If the leaves burn to ash quickly, the relationship will be harmonious. If the leaves hiss and crackle, it will be disruptive.

Peace, Inspiration, & Love,
~Amy
The Magick Muse


Amy Riddle is an empowerment coach, crafter of sorts, writer,
herbalist, reverend, and all out muse.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Alternative Medicine with an emphasis on herbs. 
She is a certified professional life coach with the Life Coach Institute of Orange County. 
Amy craves to inspire others to be healthy and whole in body, mind, and spirit. 
She has an affinity for striped socks, stinging nettle, and all things faery.